In an effort to become a smart and sustainable city, many initiatives has been put in place to encourage residents and businesses to begin using eco-friendly habits and begin using renewable energy. The UAE government has started multiple initiatives over the years to begin using sustainable practices and energy across the country.
One of the most prominent initiatives is the Shams Dubai project, which aims to connect solar panels with Dubai Electricity and Water Authoritys grid and reviewed plans to promote electric, hybrid and environmentally-friendly cars in Dubai. In 2009, Dubai Chamber achieved the coveted LEED certification for Existing Buildings, while the Drainage and Irrigation Department of Dubai Municipality has a grey water treatment plant for use in irrigating local parks and trees.
In December 2011, the Supreme Council of Energy in Dubai allocated AED12 billion for producing electricity from the solar energy. Abu Dhabi aims also to produce 7 per cent of its energy by 2020 through the project of Masdar City, which will be the first emission-free city in the world. Masdar began to annually host the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi in 2008 and was selected to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Over the years, Dubai Municipalitys waste management department launched a Ambassadors of Sustainability program which trains students who are interested to work for sustainable environment and waste management activities across Dubai. The students attend lectures and workshops on the environment, sustainability, waste management, and recycling for them to eventually go on to conduct their own lectures and workshops in institutions.
In the past, the student ambassadors have led to the conception of projects such as organic compost generation and tire parks. Some of the artistic students also learned how give waste items new life but recycling them into new, useful items. Throughout the existence of the program, over 250 ambassadors have participated and a total of 3000 students have benefited from the workshops. Following a decision by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, there are now specifications for green buildings as well as all the buildings in Dubai as part of Dubai Strategic Plan 2015. This initiative aims to keep Dubai a healthy city with a clean and pollution free environment. The Green Building Regulations & Specifications was put in place through collaboration between Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and Dubai Municipality. As part of the green buildings initiative, the set of guidelines sets specifications that regulate the criteria of a structure that allows efficient consumption of electricity, water and renewable energy.
The UAE has begun to embrace environmental tourism, a new type of environment friendly tourist activity that man practices to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the environment. A slew of Green Tourism initiatives and awareness programmes about environmentally sustainable tourism launched by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has been helping the hotels and hotel apartments in the Arabian Gulf regions tourism hub in reducing the consumption of electricity and water and presenting themselves as environment-friendly properties to guests from across the world.
The major aims of Green Tourism Initiatives include encouraging the hotel sector to be conscious about the use of natural resources and energy conservation and to implement systems that reduce the emissions of CO2, to spread environmental awareness and social responsibility throughout the tourism sector and to create a statistical environmental model for hotels that illustrates the scale of energy consumption and improvements.
The other aims are to recognize the best practices and encourage the hospitality sector to exchange knowledge about environmental practices and to support and supervise the eco-tourism attraction and create a unique experience for our guests and visitors. Abu Dhabi has created Zayed Future Energy Prize in appreciation of the first environment supporter, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It also created another prize through the Zayed International Prize for the Environment, which is aimed at supporting and encouraging environmental activities and the distinguished national individual and collective initiatives contributing to sustainable development.