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Building industry asked to adopt a responsible approach

United Arab Emirates: Saturday, November 18 - 2006 @ 10:54

Participating in the discussion was Professor David Bellamy OBE, an academic botanist, ecologist and active environmental campaigner, Habiba Al Marashi, Chairperson of Dubai-based NGO Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), Wael Abu Adas – Vice President – Development, Damac Properties Co LLC and Mark Percival, Door Product Manager, Falcon Panel Products Ltd. A UK based supplier of chipboard doors and flooring materials, represented in the UAE by Ramkor International, and hosts of the event.

Mrs. Al Marashi, speaking at the event, said that while the construction sector was expanding and there would always be a great demand for wood. She, however, advocates responsibility in the use of natural resources. “The market is big and we can take advantage of it; yet it calls for responsible approaches and solutions as the environment is at stake.”

“Environmental protection is not a hindrance to sustainable development. It is in fact serving as a guide. We can only provide for future generations with the very resources that we have on hand. Waste it and we will not have anything left even for this generation. This forum is therefore both timely and appropriate,” she said.

Mr. Percival, speaking about the environmental benefits of using their wood based products, expressed Falcon Panel Products’ commitment to sustainable growth. “To date, the chipboard door cores alone that we have supplied into the UAE market have saved over 185 hectares of precious hardwood forest from being destroyed; being a member of FSC and PEFC, it is a company policy to partner suppliers who are members of approved environmental schemes.

Approximately 70% of the wood material used in our chipboard has been recycled; the other 30% comes from well-managed sustainable sources. As an organisation that deals with timber products we recognize the commercial benefits of conducting business in an environmentally conscious manner.”

Professor Bellamy, in his address, said that estimates suggested that by 2040 the world would annually require well over 20 billion cubic metres of industrial timber. “That could be produced from plantations covering around 900 million hectares, an area somewhat larger than Australia. If only there was enough good soil and water. Timber is mother nature’s own plastic, a highly versatile and renewable resource; the world is going to need a lot more of it. Thank goodness it can be recycled.”

Discussing the challenges facing the building industry in the UAE, Wael Abu Adas, Vice President – Development, Damac Properties Co LLC, said that selecting environmentally preferable building materials was one way to improve a building’s environmental performance, but added that initial capital costs of green building could be higher than for traditional buildings. “To be practical, environmental performance must be balanced against economic performance. We need to identify building materials that improve environmental performance with little or no increase in cost.” Mr. Abu-Adas highlighted the benefits of an environmentally sustainable building, with lower operating costs over the long run, reduced turnover, better worker productivity due to a healthier environment and increased property value.

Mr. Abu Adas, also outlined the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building rating system, which promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

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Saturday, November 18- 2006 @ 10:54 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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