How the GCC's construction sector is looking to create a green future
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How the GCC’s construction sector is looking to create a green future

How the GCC’s construction sector is looking to create a green future

The region’s construction sector is prioritising sustainability, with some of the upcoming developments employing eco-friendly techniques


The GCC region’s construction sector is actively pursuing the green agenda. And for the right reasons.

The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction reported that construction accounts for nearly 40 per cent of global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and it will take $5.2tn over the next decade to decarbonise them.

From a consumer point of view, green living now encompasses more than just recycling and renewables – it starts with green homes and offices. In the face of mounting pressure, from both environmentalists and consumers to reduce their carbon footprint, construction stakeholders are finally taking action with some of the biggest projects in the Middle East going green.

Here are some of the most prominent upcoming eco-friendly developments.

The Line – NEOM
Saudi Arabia’s poster child for green living, The Line is easily the most ambitious project rising in the region. The futuristic city will be run 100 per cent on renewable energy drawn from the sun, wind and hydrogen-based power generation. Its layered design is intended to reduce man-made footprint on the landscape and promote greater efficiency.

AlNama – Riyadh
The latest in a slew of luxurious mixed-use projects in Saudi Arabia, AlNama will be a zero-carbon community according to its Dubai-based boutique planning and design consultancy, URB.

The 10,000 square-kilometre hospitality hub will include green-tech industries to create a green circular economy. Aiming to be a next-generation self-sufficient city, all its renewable energy needs, as well as the resident’s caloric food intake will be produced on site.

Biosaline agriculture, productive gardens, wadis, and carbon-rich habitats are other key features of the development’s resilient landscape design.

The Sustainable City- Yiti , Oman
A joint venture between the Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN Group) and Dubai’s Diamond Developers, The Sustainable City – Yiti is Oman’s first project that meets the highest global green practices and adheres to the highest sustainability standards, as claimed by its developers.

With an investment value of nearly $1bn, the city is spread across approximately one million square meters and aims to be net zero carbon by 2040 by adopting the latest solutions in energy production, vertical farming, humidity harvesting, and autonomous transportation.

It is designed to produce 100 per cent of its energy requirements from renewables which include solar panels and biogas, and will also recycle all its water and waste which will be used for irrigation.

Due for completion in 2025, the project will feature 1,657 residential units, including 300 eco-friendly and energy-efficient villas.

Expo City Dubai – UAE
Opening its doors in October this year, Expo City Dubai already bookmarked a slew of eco-friendly records when it first opened in October 2021 as the site of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Instead of being relegated to a tourist attraction or an events venue at the end of the Expo, the massive site is being repositioned as “a model for innovative urban districts geared towards collaboration, knowledge-sharing and talent creation for the benefit of future generations.”

Over 120 of its buildings, awarded Leadership in Energy and Environment certifications by the US Green Building Council, will remain on the site and will be repurposed to serve as hubs for a variety of sectors.

Cars will not be allowed across the site; instead residents and visitors will be able to use soft mobility methods, including scooters, buggies, and bicycles.

Sharjah Sustainable City – UAE
Another joint venture project by Diamond Developers, this time in partnership with the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Sharjah Sustainable City (SSC) is one of the most prominent green projects currently rising in the UAE.

Designed as a net-zero community, it includes smart home tech and energy management and storage abilities. The centerpiece of the project is its biogas plant that treats and converts organic waste (food waste, green waste, and sludge) into electricity and thermal energy.

Residues from the biogas plant will be dried and used as fertiliser for landscaping. SSC commenced the handover process for villas of Phase 1 of its project in September and is now preparing to launch Phase 3.

Impact on real estate value
Green buildings are not only good for the environment but for investors too. A World Economic Forum report earlier this year estimated that green certifications yield a rent premium of 6 per cent and a sales premium of 7.6 per cent on average, globally.

Carl Atallah, marketing director at Sharjah Sustainable City, believes the current global energy crisis and the growing momentum for a low-carbon future globally have created a great opportunity for sustainable real estate. He cites research conducted by Knight Frank which states that global investors already manage more than $120tn of financial assets (including real estate) under voluntary climate change disclosures, while there are at least 120,000 green-rated real estate assets in clusters spread out around the world.

A Deloitte research backs this view too, stating, “millennials want to ‘go green’ and are incorporating this factor into their buying and investment decisions.”

It’s evident green homes are rising faster than before, fuelled by growing awareness and responsibility among both developers and buyers. As more and more projects go green, the construction sector can look forward to a more sustainable and profitable future.


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