Dubai: The UAE could trump up other top countries in the global rankings for "green" building spaces, an expert said following the release of a US Green Building Council (GBC) report.

The council, an industry body that promotes cost-efficient and energy-saving buildings, released its ranking for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) based on cumulative gross square meters (GSM) of space certified to LEED in each nation as of April 2014.

Canada topped the list, followed by China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, Brazil and Singapore. The UAE ranked ninth, ahead of Finland.

Chand Guria, a Dubai-based LEED Green Associate (the first level of certification as LEED-certified engineer, said: “Considering the sheer amount of construction restarts, the UAE ranking could very well go up this year.”

Guria explained that in general, a LEED-certified building is more energy-efficient and eco-friendly – requiring less energy, lighting and cooling and with smaller carbon footprint than conventional buildings.

“Many of the stalled projects in the UAE are now being restarted, while fresh ones are coming up, too,” he said.

“The UAE is big on adopting international standards. There are many on-going building projects here that are yet to be certified,” said Guria, civil and environmental engineer currently involved in the UAE property market.

“And there are many projects stalled during the recent crisis that are being restarted, especially in Dubai, which were targeted LEED projects when they started off.”

GBC, which released the report on May 1, cited the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority Headquarters, which has a LEED Platinum rating (highest possible under this system).

Green buildings are booming all over the world, with LEED projects found in over 140 countries and territories and on six out of seven continents (no LEED projects exist in Antarctica at the moment).
In the Middle, the UAE is the only country on the Top 10, but its ranking may well go up based on the magnitude of post-crisis recover and en route to the Dubai's hosting of Expo 2020.

Over the last 18 months, more than $12 billion in previously-stalled construction projects were resumed in the country.

Based on USGBC figures, the UAE’s real estate industry has a much higher number of LEED-certified and registered projects (as opposed to only LEED certified) than three other countries that ranked higher than the Emirates -- South Korea (4th), Taiwan (5th) and Germany (6th) -- put together.

The UAE also has nearly 10 times the number of LEED-registered projects than Singapore, which ranked eighth.