Arab coalition targets Iranian Revolutionary Guard experts in Sana’a
A hotel project in the Middle East pushes the boundaries of sustainable construction
DUBAI: From forest fires and landslides to desertification and flooding, the effects of climate change are increasingly manifesting in all kinds of destructive ways, devastating animal and plant habitats and vulnerable rural communities.
But urban areas are not immune to risks either and, as such, they too are forced to adapt.
The UN has warned that by 2030, greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be reduced by 25-55% from 2017 levels. Armed with these figures, proponents are exploring innovative ways to reduce the footprint carbon of cities while improving the quality of life of the inhabitants.
Josef Kleindienst is one of them. He is president of Kleindienst Group, the developer of the Heart of Europe project underway in Dubai. Rather than just building sustainably, the company says it aims to change the climate.
The heart of Europe occupies part of the Dubai World Islands, a collection of man-made islands off the city’s coast constructed in the shape of a world map. When completed, it is expected to be an upscale eco-friendly resort showcasing the use of the latest technology to mitigate the effects of climate change in urban areas.
According to the developer, Heart of Europe will include, among other things, a refreshing, air-conditioned Rainy Street, an outdoor snow plaza and the world’s first floating and intelligent police station.
“The vision was to create a tourism project while bringing innovation to these islands,” Kleindienst told Arab News.
“The Islands Project was launched in 2003, and a coral nursery was built on a structure, producing 100,000 corals per year to plant on our reefs. The interesting part for me is that Dubai has always had futuristic visions, and that is pure sustainability.
According to the developer, sustainability is at the heart of the heart of Europe, which will include more than 500,000 square meters of coral reefs and Andalusian olive trees in southern Spain.
The project, once operational, will feature sustainable landscaping, free of pesticides and fungicides, and irrigated with recycled water, the developer explains. It will be car-free, powered by clean energy and will ultimately offer visitors sustainable river transport.
Solar panels will provide much of the complex’s electricity needs, while its water supply will be fully recycled and reused for purposes such as flushing toilets and watering plants, the developer said.
He adds that in addition, the heart of Europe will have zero rejection and zero microplastics policies to help protect marine life around the islands and the wider waters of the Persian Gulf.
The Coral Institute, an in-house research and development center, has been tasked with creating new coral reefs, helping to expand the marine ecosystem and rebalancing the underwater environment as part of the corporate social responsibility program of company of the Kleindienst group.
From next year, the institute also plans to regenerate and develop corals at 10 reefs and dive sites around the world, according to the Kleindienst Group.
In 2018, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development released a report on the megatrends shaping the future of tourism. He said that sustainable tourism is an area of growth that will radically change the industry. Tourism is a resource-intensive human activity, he said, but it can play a central role in the transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy.
“Due to its cross-cutting nature and its close links with many sectors, even small improvements will have significant impacts,” the report says.
“It will become increasingly important for governments and industry to work together in a proactive approach to ensure the sustainable development and management of attractions for the benefit and enjoyment of local communities and tourists.
Countries, cities, islands and other destinations that do not embrace the sustainability trend will most likely lose customers, as consumers are increasingly concerned about the environment, he added.
“Dubai has been looking to do this since 2003 because they added zero discharge regulations to these islands,” Kleindienst said. “We are not allowed to reject anything that could pollute the air or the water. It’s as sustainable as it gets if you want to protect the environment. “
According to Kleindienst, one of the groundbreaking innovations in the development of the Heart of Europe is Rainy Street, a 1 km thoroughfare that uses sensor-controlled technology to generate precipitation that helps provide visitors with a comfortable climate even during winter. Scorching summer temperatures that can exceed 50 degrees Celsius.
Along the street, which will host shops, restaurants and bars, an ambient temperature of around 27 degrees Celsius will be maintained through the use of advanced technology capable of literally controlling the climate outside.
“We invited consultants and specialists from all over the world to provide solutions,” said Kleindienst.
“The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Institute in Germany is number one when it comes to building these technologies, which use water and remove moisture from the air. When the temperature rises above 27 degrees Celsius and the humidity reaches 60%, it releases rain. “
Another innovation in air conditioning is the place des neiges, according to the Kleindienst group. It uses a concept similar to air conditioning systems used in shopping malls, which cool water to 5 degrees Celsius to create cool air. By further reducing the water temperature to 2 C, snow can be generated.
“We started working on the technologies in 2008 and we are now ready,” said Kleindienst. “It took over 4 years (only) to develop, test and optimize the technology required to realize the vision of the master plan. We tested it on the hottest midsummer days and it works – it will come from a piping system, like in the movies.
The initial smooth opening of Heart of Europe began on October 28 with the connection of all utilities. Around 300 technical tests will be carried out over a month and, if all goes according to plan, it will soon begin welcoming customers with reduced capacity before its full launch with the opening of the boutique hotel in Monaco. But Dubai might just be the start.
“We have been invited to Saudi Arabia and Egypt to discuss projects there, but our goal is to complete this project before discussing the expansion,” Kleindienst said.
COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Glasgow, Scotland this month, once again underscored the importance of issues such as sustainability and conservation. Kleindienst said his company is rising to the challenge.
“We have to take care of the environment,” he added. “We didn’t know how quickly climate change would occur and how big the impact would be on our lives.
“We need to bring the planet, the climate and nature back to what they were before, and keep it for our children and their children. It is a great obligation for us.
In line with the growing trend towards sustainability, eco-friendly tourism projects are being launched across the region. The sustainable Hatta Waterfalls in Dubai, for example, are expected to be completed at the Hatta Dam by November next year. The falls will collect water, recycle it and pump it up the dam.
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, launched the Sustainable Tourism Global Center last month. The global travel and tourism sector is responsible for around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the Kingdom has therefore prioritized supporting the sector to help accelerate its transition to net zero.
“(These emissions should) increase if we do not act now,” Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Saudi Minister of Tourism, said at the official launch of the center.
“Tourism is also a very fragmented sector; 80 percent of tourism businesses are small and medium-sized businesses that rely on advice and support from industry leaders. The sector must be part of the solution.
The Kingdom is working with global partners who prioritize tourism, small and medium enterprises and the climate to create a broad coalition that can drive the tourism industry’s transition to net zero, he added.
“By working together and providing a strong common platform, the tourism industry will have the support it needs. The STGC will facilitate growth while improving tourism for the climate, nature and communities, ”Al-Khateeb said.