While green building itself is hitting its stride all across the United Arab Emirates (UAE), specific focus has been given to green interior design projects.
According to industry leaders at the INDEX International Design exhibition, green interior design should be – and is being – given far greater consideration moving forward in reaching carbon emission reduction targets and meeting the goals of an increasingly green-educated clientele base.
According to EC Harris project manager David Armstrong, it is vitally important for designers to have all parties involved on the same page when conveying a client’s vision.
“A green project may be initiated by the client but it is important to get the buy-in from all parties including project managers, designers, contractors and sub-contractors from the outset,” he said.
Green Technologies FZCO director Mario Seneviratne agrees wholeheartedly with these sentiments.
“Greening your office is an integrated design process,” he said. “While the client initiates the idea, it is the consultant’s responsibility to factor in the time and resources available in a feasible plan and garner the support of the design and construction teams to achieve the client’s objectives.”
Seneviratne cautions, however, against becoming overly ambitious in this sector, particularly given the high price of green building materials and practices in the UAE.
“If a company wants to attain high-level environmental standards, but has a low budget, the client has to be cautioned of being over-ambitious at the beginning,” he said. “Green projects often fail because clients find out about rising cost implications at the last minute and then struggle to value-engineer the project.”
Industry experts across the UAE are pushing for a more systematic guideline system that offers strong recognition for green interior design developments and incentives to further improve the sector. According to Marcus Bish, managing director of leading sustainable interior design firm Summertown Interiors, this is only way to further progress in the sector.
“The pre-requisites for green interiors have been laid out, but there is no mandatory system for buildings to adopt green interiors by default,” he said. “We won’t see green projects become standard practice until the heavy hand of regulation enforces it.”
Green interiors, like the green building sector at large, will continue to grow in the region. The potential in this area can only be maximised, however, through leadership efforts and standardised practice.