A minute with… director, Emirates Green Building Council, Lora Shrake

Emirates Green Building Council,

Director, Emirates Green Building Council, Lora Shrake speaks to Tatiana Tsierkezou exclusively about the organisation and its mission to encourage environmental responsibility and sustainable operation among tourism establishments.

“Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC) is an independent forum aimed at conserving the environment by strengthening and promoting green building practices in the UAE and wider MENA region. It is the national operator for the Green Key hotel certification in the UAE, which is an international ecolabel for hotels and tourism facilities, and represents a standard of excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry. Contributing to each of the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030, Green Key supports tourism establishments in addressing critical aspects of sustainable development.

As a national operator, we have been supporting a number of hotels operating in the UAE, including properties within hospitality groups such as Emaar Hospitality, Rove Hotels, Millennium Hotels, Marriott and Radisson, to achieve the ‘Green Key’ accreditation. To be awarded, these hotels have implemented high environmental standards.

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In addition to hospitality, EmiratesGBC’s work spans various sectors to promote built environment sustainability and to achieve the national commitment of net zero carbon buildings by 2050. To drive this, we organise a range of technical programmes, training and studies relating to the diverse aspects of green buildings.

In 2016, we published the first benchmarking report that covered energy and water performance in UAE hotels. More recently in 2019, we published a second benchmarking report in partnership with Dubai Supreme Council of Energy to evaluate the energy performance of Dubai hotels, malls and schools. This was conducted as part of Dubai’s commitment to the Building Efficiency Accelerator, a global programme under the ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ (SE4All) initiative led by the UN Secretary-General. In total, we have benchmarked more than 150 buildings in the UAE.

When we conducted our Building Efficiency Accelerator study last year, we found that the best performers in the hotel industry were 58 per cent more energy efficient. This underlines the opportunity for significant improvement in the environment management strategy of hotels in the UAE. Adopting Green Key principles and sustainability best practice not only enables hotel properties to become sustainability champions but also drives cost optimisation and builds long-term trust amongst all its stakeholders.

As a result, EmiratesGBC continues to see strengthened commitments to green building practices across the UAE hospitality sector, which is a positive indication of the growing awareness on the benefits sustainable practices have on not only the environment but also on hotel operations and occupant wellbeing.”