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The top 10 green developers that build sustainably

The emirate is demonstrating an acceleration in the pace of construction of green buildings

The top 10 green developers that build sustainably

Backed by substantial research, the team have ranked these companies based on a set of criteria that took into account sustainable practices, innovation in green construction, the use of renewable energy sources, waste management strategies, and their overall impact on reducing carbon emissions.

Each developer on the list has demonstrated a clear vision for sustainable development and has implemented initiatives that go beyond mere compliance with green building regulations.

That said, the list was created using publicly available data, as well as responses from a dedicated questionnaire and the collective assessment made by CW Property‘s sister brand Construction Week Middle East editorial team.

1. FIVE Holdings

FIVE Holdings has set remarkable standards by earning the highest green building certification for all of its operational hotels.

Using sustainable design elements, FIVE is able to facilitate a number of green features in its developments including clean air circulation, a 35,000m2 solar façade, waste water solutions, biodegradable room amenities, and the 100% usage of LED lights, among others.

As a company, FIVE pursues a Future-Focused energy strategy through the adoption of on and off-site renewable energy projects. It also focuses on biodiversity by incorporating green spaces and strategic landscaping to adopt its conscious approach.

As an extra step, the developer prioritises the use of sustainable building materials. This is exemplified through the current development of FIVE Luxe and Sensoria, two projects that are still under development.

As an alternative to the use of conventional concrete structures, the FIVE team is planning to use a steel structure approach for Sensoria. Based on published studies, steel structure buildings yield between 30-38% less embodied carbon.

2. LEAD Development

Responsible for some of the biggest sustainable developments in the UAE is Abu Dhabi-based LEAD Development, a company committed to environmental conservation and sustainable construction.

From the initial stages of project design, LEAD prioritises the creation of low-density and low-impact developments that align with its internal mission and values. Jubail Island, in particular, has been meticulously designed to adhere to these principles, ensuring minimal environmental impact in its operations.

Over the past 12 months, LEAD Development has achieved a notable milestone by planting over 500,000 new mangrove trees. This achievement has been made possible through valuable partnerships with organisations such as EAD, Etihad, ADGM, and ADNOC.

3. Diamond Developers

Diamond Developers is a UAE-based company dedicated to creating sustainable communities that prioritises social, environmental, and economic well-being.

The Sustainable City in Dubai is a good example of the company’s commitment to green practices and sustainability. This innovative community embodies the company’s ethos by incorporating various elements such as car-free roads, EV buggies, urban farming, and environment-focused workshops. 

As a company, Diamond Developers goes beyond conventional sustainability standards by striving for net-zero emissions in its developments. The company’s cities are meticulously designed to have a low carbon footprint by relying solely on renewable energy resources.

4. Alef Group

Established in 2013 by the late Sheikh Khalid Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Alef Group is a distinguished lifestyle experience provider based in Sharjah, UAE.

As a visionary in the realm of upscale lifestyle communities, the Group expertly navigates the spheres of investment and strategic partnerships, and is helmed by its CEO, Issa Ataya.

With a robust $2.72 billion (AED 10 billion) in assets and land bank, Alef Group stands as a paragon in the field of high-quality residential and commercial developments.

Their strategic investment approach is influenced by Sharjah’s consistent growth and its unique geographic location as a bridge between Dubai and the Northern Emirates. Alef Group’s business interests span across diverse divisions, reinforced by strategic partnerships with reputable entities.

One of Alef Group’s standout projects, Hayyan, is a $950 million (AED 3.5 billion) development set in Sharjah. The development is also set for completion of its Zone 1 (Arim) in 2025. Covering approximately 807,856.1 sqm, Hayyan comprises 1,882 mansion, villa and townhouse units spread over four distinct zones.

This development is a manifestation of the Ruler of Sharjah, HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi’s vision for environmental protection, biodiversity preservation, and sustainability.

Hayyan, located in Sharjah near Emirates Road, is a testament to Alef Group’s commitment to sustainable practices. It effectively uses energy-efficient lighting, harnesses natural light, and promotes natural cooling through strategically placed green spaces. A notable feature of Hayyan is its use of renewable energy, with highly efficient solar panels installed to maximise the utilisation of the UAE’s year-round sunshine.

Alef Group’s dedication to ethical operations extends to its supply chain, ensuring locally sourced materials and adherence to sustainability goals by all suppliers.

As the Group continues to develop its sustainability measures and construction materials, it seeks to provide the best natural living experience for its residents, thereby affirming Alef Group’s status as a leader in sustainable lifestyle experiences.

5. Union Properties

With a strong focus on sustainable practices, Union Properties makes the list for actively promoting the use of renewable energy sources and environmentally-friendly raw materials in its developments.

To harness the power of renewable energy, Union Properties conducts feasibility studies to validate green energy options. This practice aims to utilise clean energy while reducing dependency on non-renewable sources.

Waste management and recycling are also a priority at Union Properties’ developments. The company has initiated waste management policies by working closely with local governments to ensure proper garbage disposal.

Going an extra mile, the company promotes urban forestation as well as the creation of natural green landscapes. These plans align with the developer’s vision of creating smart integrated cities that blend urban development and sustainability.

6. MAG

At the heart of MAG’s philosophy is a commitment to excellence, sustainability, and ethical imperatives. Each entity within the Group strives to cultivate the highest standards of quality by continually seeking ways to improve processes and contribute to the development and preservation of the world we live in.

One such transformative project is MAG’s Keturah Reserve, a residential development that sets new benchmarks in the Middle East by immersing residents in nature through the concept of Bio Living.

Bio Living, the foundation of Keturah Reserve, embraces Biophilic Design principles. By seamlessly integrating nature into the built environment, Bio Living enhances the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of residents. This perfect synergy between interior design, architecture, and landscaping exemplifies MAG’s vision in creating harmonious living spaces with the environment in mind.

7. ZāZEN Properties

ZāZEN Properties is a company leveraging on its expertise in sustainable property development to help realise key UAE initiatives such as the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan.

ZāZEN’s main vision is to design and construct spaces that promote health and prosperity through an “Integrative Well-Being Design”, a practice that unlocks natural frequencies in the environment to enhance moods and promote health. In terms of sustainable construction, the developer utilises recycled building materials to optimise lighting, fixtures, and non-toxic paint inside each apartment complex. With over 35,000 sq. ft. of landscaping, EV charging stations, solar panels, and LEED Gold certifications, ZāZEN prides itself for crafting conscious living spaces for UAE residents.

8. Fakhruddin Properties

Fakhruddin Properties is a developer that has demonstrated its dedication to the well-being of its residents and the planet. At the core of Fakhruddin’s approach is the seamless integration of technologies and eco-friendly practices, contributing to energy efficiency and waste reduction. By leveraging innovative solutions, the company not only enhances the living environment for occupants but also reduces reliance on energy-intensive HVAC systems.

Fakhruddin Properties is equally committed to fostering green spaces and biodiversity within its developments. By incorporating greenhouses, hydroponics, and radiant cooling technology, residents are able to cultivate a variety of plants in a controlled and energy-efficient environment.

Each home also features a green vertical garden on top of other extensive cutting-edge technologies that enhances indoor air quality. These technologies include the NASA-developed Airocide and the HEECO2R technology.

Additionally, water conservation is a strong focus for the company, exemplified by the implementation of centralised Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems in its developments.

9. DHG Property Development

DHG Property Development is a Switzerland-based developer currently undertaking major projects in the UAE. With a precise approach that encompasses the three pillars of sustainability, DHG consciously manages and utilises existing resources to create environmentally friendly and socially responsible developments.

At the forefront of the company’s values are the use of sustainable raw materials.

DHG prioritises the use of wood, clay, bricks, natural stones, thatch, straw, gravel, and natural paints in its projects. By incorporating these materials, DHG reduces its carbon footprint, thereby staying true to its vigorous commitments. Through its management services, DHG actively preserves and enhances biodiversity. Outdoor facility care, tree care, maintenance work, and minor repairs are all carried out with the utmost consideration for preserving living organisms and their habitats.

10. URB

Concluding the list is Dubai-headquartered URB, an incubator and developer that addresses all aspects of sustainability. By setting high targets and implementing initiatives across various categories, URB creates a unique sustainability DNA for every project.

Recognising the vital connection between human health and the health of natural ecosystems, URB’s concepts strive to regenerate natural habitats while fostering long-term sustainability. An exemplary concept in this regard is Dubai Reefs, an initiative that encompasses a floating community dedicated to marine research, marine regeneration, and marine ecotourism.

URB’s commitment to sustainability also extends to its Agri Hub project, which seeks to enhance the health, well-being, and prosperity of rural communities while promoting food security and eco-tourism.