One of the region’s most experienced architects has labelled the constant media coverage of sustainability as ‘tiring’.
The comments were made by Steven Miller, regional manager for Perkins Eastman, and newly elected chairman of the AIA International Committee, at last week’s Middle East Architect roundtable.
Miller said: “This talk of sustainability is tiring, because it’s there. No international architecture firm, today, would design something that couldn’t get a LEED or BREEAM or a Pearl Rating with Estidama.
“All the magazines are saying ‘green, green, green’. But it’s a way of life for all of us. We don’t ever think any other way.”
Phil Dalglish, director at Buro Happold, agreed: “Steven is dead right. We don’t do a project without thinking about sustainable measures, such as grey water recycling.”
He noted, however, that many cost managers for building projects will reject sustainable measures due to the longer payback period.
Dalglish continued: “There’s still a mentality of ‘this is going to cost me money, I’m not going to get the return’. There isn’t an acceptance that they are going to own the building for another 25-40 years and the maintenance costs far out way the construction value.”
Nigel Craddock, design manager for architecture firm Stride Treglown, believes that UAE buildings may be forced to be greener through end-user demand.
He added: “End-users are now asking ‘what are the utility costs, the maintenance costs, how much will my DEWA bill be on this house?’ Developers need to realise that they have to provide buildings which are green – not just put a fancy BMS system that’s never going to get used properly.”