WIT Press

Whole-building Design For A Green School Building In Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates


Free (open access)





Page Range

165 - 176




3,820 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


S. K. Elmasry & M. A. Haggag


Energy efficiency in school buildings has been an international concern for the last few decades. Green-schools initiatives and benchmarks have been developing worldwide, for example Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for school buildings by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Energy Smart School Program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Also, the UK has been producing energy benchmarks and performance guides for almost 30 years, such as Good Practice Guide 343, which includes typical and best practice values for primary school. In 2009, the Estidama Pearl Rating System for school buildings emerged as a local effort in the United Arab Emirates following the Estidama sustainability initiative under the umbrella of the AbuDhabi plan 2030. As part of the Pearl Building Rating System, sustainable performance of schools buildings is assessed against seven main criteria, namely Integrated Development Process (IDP), Natural Systems (NS), Precious Water (PW), Resourceful Energy (RE), Stewarding Materials (SM), Innovating Practice (IP), and finally Livable Buildings (LB). Based on this initiative and the hot arid climatic condition of Al-Ain city, a research team at the United Arab Emirates University has initiated a study of whole-building design of an International School as part of a long-term research agenda for sustainable applications in school buildings in the area. The building is currently performing with photovoltaic panels’ installations, grey water recycling strategies as well as green wall applications. This paper previews the sustainability approaches and systems established in the building, and examines the integrated performance of the building against the Estidama rating criteria recommended for the area. The paper concludes a set of recommendations for


Estidama, hot arid climate, school building, UAE, whole-building design