Overview of Sustainable Design & MBA Degree programme at BUID, Dubai

Not only is the sustainable design programme accredited by the UAE Ministry of Education, it is also offered in association with Cardiff University. This is a first-of-its-kind postgraduate-level programme that allows students to develop problem-solving skills and apply analytical knowledge to real-life cases from the UAE and wider MENA region. Our unique curriculum offers the opportunity to learn about the latest thinking and cutting-edge trends in the field of sustainable buildings and business studies in shape of mba degree.

The degrees offered are: Masters of Master of Science (MSc), Post Graduate Diploma (PGDip) and Post Graduate Certificate (PGCert). The MSc degree is offered via two tracks: Dissertation or Research Project. The PGDip and both MSc degree tracks can be awarded with concentration or general without concentration. At present, there are four concentrations, namely Architectural Design, Interior Design, Smart Buildings, Urban Design.

What are the main opportunities and challenges in this area?

Clearly, there is a growing concern over the current and future consequences of climate change and the rapid depletion of natural resources. To that end, we need to remember that the built environment is a major contributor to carbon emissions and depletion of resources; of particular concern is the energy used to cool, ventilate and light buildings as well as the embodied energy in the material used. In addition, the indoor environment within buildings has a major impact on the health, well-being and productivity of occupants. Rapid building development rates places enormous pressures on future energy use.

Over the past few years, the UAE has emerged as a global leader in the field of sustainability, from Dubai announcing its objective of being one of the most sustainable cities in the world, to sustainability being one of the core themes of the EXPO 2020 plans. The UAE Government wants to ensure sustainable development while preserving the environment, and to achieve a perfect balance between economic and social development. The programme compiles with UAE Vision 2021 by improving the quality of air, preserving water resources, increasing the contribution of clean energy and implementing green growth plans. Our programme graduates are engaged in various sustainability initiative in UAE and they are making a change for a better tomorrow.

How closely do you work with the private and public sector?

We believe that Both public and private sectors play a crucial part in advancing the sustainability agenda. We have developed close relationships with various players in the field in order to meet their requirements for modern and relevant training. Our programme is strongly connected to UAE market, and most of our student-led projects adopt real case studies from the region. In my capacity as a faculty member in BUiD, I am actively engaged in various activities including training, consultancy, media contributions, giving public seminars and judging sustainable competitions.

Where do you think we are as a region (GCC/Middle East) in terms of developing of large scale projects, one-off benchmark projects (ie tall towers), high volume housing developments? How do different countries differ in terms of their programmes and volume of projects?

Consider this — Dubai is home of 150 skyscrapers, more than any city in the world except New York and Hong Kong. such tall buildings have a potential to be sustainable because they could provide high-density living with all supportive facilities nearby, thus curbing the demand for transportation and the associated emissions. In addition, tall buildings — due to sharing walls, floors, and ceilings with neighbours — require less construction materials per inhabitant when compared with typical houses like villas in the GCC countries.

What makes good sustainable design? How important is it to address the entire construction process from design, to supply chain, to construction and finished building? What schemes/methods to you look at within your courses?
 How important is BIM in terms of progress from this point onwards?

A more sustainable approach to the design of the built environment can be achieved using a combination of passive and active strategies utilizing the latest knowledge and use of advanced energy and BIM modelling software within a modern architectural context. This will reduce the energy needs, which in turn will reduce both local and global pollution in addition to providing more comfortable and healthy indoor and outdoor living environments. The SDBE programme offers concentrations covering Architectural Design, Interior Design, Smart Buildings and Urban Design.

With the number of ‘sustainable’ projects being commissioned growing daily, do we have enough real data to shape the next generation of buildings?

The number of sustainable buildings in the UAE is set to increase for a number of reasons including: increasing awareness, rising concerns over energy and environmental problems, introduction of sustainable building codes (such as Estidama in Abu Dhabi and Al-Safat in Dubai).

Much of your MSc programme focuses on innovation and enterprise. First of all how do you cover them at BUID and why is it important to focus on them? Is one more important than the other?

Both are central themes running through programme delivery, programme content and industrially relevant research, with the ultimate aim of providing the design team members with the knowledge, skills and tools to enable them to undertake innovative approaches to sustainable design, integrating architectural and engineering solutions.

Please explain how BUID is contributing to existing programmes, initiatives or projects in the region.

Through a number of industry-relevant academic programmes, BUiD is actively supporting the sustainable building agenda in the region. Other BUiD initiatives include the running the Sustainability Summer School — an annual event that has been attracting a large number of students from across the UAE universities since 2011.

Please supply any data that you feel is relevant particularly in terms of supporting the points made and market data (the number of projects, types of design, etc.).

According to data recently released by the Dubai Municipality, around 1,500 green building projects completed across Dubai since 2010. Additionally, 120 million square feet real estate registered with Dubai Municipality for green buildings. It is anticipated that the newly launched Al-Safat rating system for green buildings will lead to 20% of electricity consumption, 15% in water consumption, 20% of CO2 emissions and 50% waste reduction.