The rise of sustainable luxury real estate in the UAE

04/07/2023 by Ali Sajwani

The UAE declared 2023 the Year of Sustainability, and the eyes of the world will focus on Dubai later this year as we play host to the critical climate talks, COP28.

We have witnessed a significant rise in sustainable luxury real estate in recent years, as the demand for environmentally conscious and socially responsible living options continues to grow. This trend is driven by several factors that have reshaped the real estate landscape in the country.

Firstly, the government has put a strong emphasis on sustainability and green initiatives. With the aim of reducing the country’s carbon footprint and promoting sustainable development, it has implemented various regulations and standards to encourage the construction of eco-friendly buildings.

This has prompted developers to incorporate sustainable practices and technologies into luxury real estate projects.

Secondly, there is growing consumer awareness of the importance of sustainable living.

Luxury homebuyers in the UAE are increasingly seeking residences that align with their environmental values without compromising on comfort and luxury.

Developers are responding to this demand by integrating sustainable features into their projects, such as energy-efficient systems, solar panels, water-saving technologies and eco-friendly materials.

A valid point to note is that sustainable luxury real estate offers long-term cost savings. While these properties may have a higher initial price tag, they are designed to be energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, resulting in reduced energy consumption and lower utility bills over time.

Property investors with a sustainable mindset can also benefit from government incentives and certifications associated with sustainable buildings, further enhancing the financial appeal of these properties.

The UAE government offers various programmes and initiatives that promote environmentally friendly construction and operation practices, and the Emirates Green Building Council has been promoting more sustainable practices in the sector since 2006.

By investing in sustainable properties, investors can access benefits such as reduced utility costs, tax incentives and increased property value.

Certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and the Estidama Pearl Rating System – Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council’s green building rating system — provide recognition and validation for sustainable developments, attracting environmentally conscious tenants and buyers.

Embracing sustainability not only contributes to the UAE’s environmental goals but also enhances the financial appeal and long-term viability of these properties.

Further afield, DAMAC’s latest development in the Maldives stands as a shining example of sustainable development. The 34-hectare luxury resort is scheduled to open in 2025, and comprises 130 villas, 64 overwater and 66 beachfront, including 10 branded residences.

DAMAC Properties is working with several international consultants to ensure sustainability best practices are followed at all stages. The stunning new development, managed by Mandarin Oriental, will use solar power, rainwater and greywater collection, passive design solutions, waste composting and responsible design specifications.

Last year, DAMAC also joined the United Nations Global Compact initiative – a voluntary leadership platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible business practices.

Sustainable luxury developments often prioritise green spaces and landscaping. Residents now enjoy lush gardens, rooftop gardens and green courtyards – promoting a healthier and more natural environment – than ever before. These green spaces not only enhance the aesthetics of the properties but also contribute to improved air quality, biodiversity and overall well-being.

The rise of sustainable luxury real estate in the UAE is also fuelled by the desire to create a sustainable legacy for future generations.

Developers are increasingly focusing on eco-friendly construction practices, such as using recycled materials, reducing waste and implementing sustainable building methods.

Such practices aim to minimise the ecological impact of construction activities and promote resource conservation. By prioritising eco-friendly practices, UAE developers are contributing to sustainable development, fostering environmental stewardship, and creating buildings that align with global sustainability standards.

Meanwhile, smart home technologies allow residents to monitor and control energy usage, further promoting sustainability.

Real-time data and insights on energy consumption allow homeowners to identify inefficiencies and make better-informed decisions to reduce waste.

Through smart devices and integrated systems, luxury property owners can now remotely manage lighting, heating, cooling and other appliances, optimising energy usage and reducing unnecessary consumption.

The rise of sustainable luxury real estate in the UAE is certainly a response to the growing demand for environmentally conscious living options. The combination of government initiatives, consumer awareness, long-term cost savings and a desire to create a sustainable future is gradually transforming the real estate landscape, leading to the integration of sustainable practices and technologies into luxury properties nationwide.

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