Green Buildings

The visitors’ centre at Sharjah Sustainability City.

The visitors’ centre at Sharjah Sustainability City.

Sustainable living

With the first mock-up villas set to be ready this month, work is fast progressing at Sharjah Sustainability City which intends to set the benchmark for a green lifestyle in the UAE.

May 2020

Pursuing sustainability in our daily lives is often considered to be a struggle, however Sharjah Sustainable City aims to demonstrate that we can live environment-friendly lifestyles with enhanced comfort and a higher quality of life. In doing so, the Dh2-billion ($544 million) project is playing a pivotal role in driving the sustainability movement forward and leading the way towards a new standard in real estate in Sharjah and across the UAE.

The first sustainable integrated project in the emirate, Sharjah Sustainable City will spread across 7.2 million sq ft near Sharjah’s Al Rahmaniya area. On full completion in 2023, the project will consist of 1,120 energy-efficient homes comprising three-, four- and five-bedroom villas, a sustainability centre and school, a community mall, a green central belt that features indoor farms, health clubs, swimming pools, jogging and cycling tracks, besides a utility park and a green mosque. 

The four-phased project will offer a total housing area of 3.3 million sq ft, with each phase being about 825,000 sq ft.

The first phase of Sharjah Sustainability City consists of 280 villas.

The first phase of Sharjah Sustainability City consists of 280 villas.

“It is the first urban mixed-use project in the emirate of Sharjah that meets the highest standards of green economy and environmental sustainability,” Yousif Ahmed Al-Mutawa, Chief Executive Officer of Sharjah Sustainable City, tells Gulf Construction. “The city operates 100 per cent on solar energy and recycles 100 per cent of waste water and solid wastes. There will be vegetable farming and leafy plants on site and the city encourages walking and jogging.”

The multi-use project is a joint effort of Sharjah Development and Investment Authority (Shurooq) and Diamond Developers, which specialises in developing sustainable projects in the UAE.

The past year has been a busy one with several accomplishments for the project, according to Al-Mutawa. In February 2020, Sharjah Sustainable City announced the completion of the infrastructure works on the first phase of the project, which is set for delivery in 2021.

“Works on Sharjah Sustainable City remain on schedule and are set for completion within the original timeframe.  Our original plans remain in place, and we are delighted to announce our dedicated teams are on schedule, as per the original timeline,” Al-Mutawa remarks.

“Phase One of the project, which consists of 280 villas and 100 apartments with a unique rental system, is currently under way with a target delivery in Q4 2021. Furthermore, the first row of 28 villas that include the mock-up villas will be ready by the end of May of this year,” he adds.

Residents will be encouraged to use alternative transportation modes.

Residents will be encouraged to use alternative transportation modes.

So what are the measures taken by Sharjah Sustainable City to minimise the impact of the current coronavirus outbreak on the project and ensure the safety of workers on site?

Al-Mutawa says Sharjah Sustainable City is proactively addressing the challenges posed by the global Covid-19 pandemic. “At Sharjah Sustainable City, we take the health and safety of our people seriously. As a responsible employer, we are adhering to the guidelines put forward by the World Health Organisation and our country’s leadership. We implement all the necessary safety precautions as recommended, and we continue to modify our operations accordingly.

“Our primary concern is the health and well-being of our exceptional team of construction workers, engineering, and sales and administration members, and we will continue to put their welfare first. We are currently incorporating a work-from-home policy in line with governmental advice, where it is possible. We are safe-guarding our onsite teams through the implementation of social distancing guidelines and providing all the necessary personal protection equipment our teams require, along with the already-in-place construction safety gear onsite.”

“We accept that there will be disruptions to our ongoing project to maximise the health and safety of our employees. We are committed to supporting our people during this challenging time and will emerge more robust and resilient as a result,” he adds.

Al-Mutawa points out that Sharjah Sustainable City responds to the market demand for sustainable living as increasing numbers of individuals are seeking to minimise the environmental impact of their homes using sustainable technology.

Solar panel technology will provide the entire city’s energy.

Solar panel technology will provide the entire city’s energy.

“The market demand for sustainable properties in the emirate is underestimated; we see this reflected in the market’s positive response to the ongoing developments at Sharjah Sustainable City. The importance of living a sustainable lifestyle has gained momentum in recent years, and our data shows this trend is on an exponential growth projection. People have a greater understanding and consideration for the impacts they have on the world around them,” he says.

Sharjah Sustainable City is proactively addressing the increasing public awareness of the importance of becoming more sustainable. To ensure the continued sustainable development of the emirate long into the future, Sharjah Sustainable City will provide the blueprint for how infrastructure, housing and sustainability can work hand-in-hand to offer a better housing option for all, says Al-Mutawa.

Sustainable construction, Al-Mutawa continues, isn’t just about ensuring the efficient use of resources but a holistic approach that takes into consideration the environmental impacts from start to finish, including the way materials are sourced and the processes used to complete the project. Constructing buildings and then operating them accounts for a significant proportion of global energy waste and carbon emissions. The construction industry accounts for 36 per cent of worldwide energy usage, and 40 per cent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to research by the International Energy Agency, he notes.

Sustainable homes and communities are not only better for the environment than traditional living options, but they also provide a variety of additional benefits. These include cleaner living, lower utility bills and more substantial investment returns.

The smart designs of villas at Sharjah Sustainable City provide great saving opportunities for residents. “This saving is especially prominent in service bills which may be up to 100 per cent in electricity and 50 per cent in water bills. Solar panel technology will provide the entire city’s energy, and the implementation of smart systems will save on net water consumption. The project also aims to reduce carbon emissions by applying state-of-the-art environmental practices, including autonomous vehicles for transportation and providing an electric vehicle (EV) charging station for every house,” Al-Mutawa adds.

Sharjah Sustainability City ... greenery covers 45 per cent of the project area.

Sharjah Sustainability City ... greenery covers 45 per cent of the project area.

There will also be a mixed-use area featuring green spaces, healthcare facilities and educational and leisure activities, with an emphasis on a sustainable lifestyle. The project provides integrated and luxurious services that guarantee a modern lifestyles, he points out.

“We are proud to bring the proven model of sustainable living to the emirate, and we are designing the project to operate on the social, environmental and economic pillars of sustainability,” Al-Mutawa notes.

Sharjah Sustainable City delivers social sustainability to its residents through innovative educational facilities in a school that incorporates sustainability education in its curriculum. Furthermore, healthcare facilities, active lifestyles and a utility park for knowledge-sharing will be incorporated into the final community, facilitating social sustainability for all.

Environmental sustainability is manifested in the community indoor and outdoor farming options available, allowing residents to grow their produce, ensuring that the greenery covers 45 per cent of the project area. The community will also have a low carbon footprint as energy will be harnessed from the sun; and residents will be encouraged to use alternative transportation modes like autonomous vehicles and electric buggies to move from one place to another within the city. Furthermore, infrastructure will be in place to significantly reduce water demand, and waste water from the residential units and other facilities within the project will be recycled and treated onsite to be reused for irrigating the green spaces.

“Finally, the economic sustainability of the city is ensured through a competitive price to the buyers and the reduced cost of living through passive and active design elements. This includes the smart use of high-quality building materials and equipment and adopting the most sustainable construction systems. For example, the utility bills for the residents at Sharjah Sustainable City will be more than 50 per cent lower than comparable homes in Sharjah,” he claims.

“Our philosophy is that living a sustainable lifestyle benefits everyone.  Sustainable living goes beyond the home, and can be seen in the way we grow our food, our modes of transport, water and energy consumption, and our approach to waste and recycling. By delivering our proven model of sustainable living to the emirate, Sharjah Sustainable City is leading the way in creating world-leading communities that address a rising need in our society today.

 “Founded on the principles of sustainability in all its social, economic, and environmental aspects, we are confident that the Sharjah Sustainable City project will be a success and will serve to inspire future projects,” he concludes.  

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