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Adhesives, sealants and chemical products manufacturer for buildings, Mapei, has announced that it is to set aside 70 per cent of its annual R&D budget, amounting to US$105.5mn, for the development of eco-friendly construction products and materials. The company says that this will not only reduce waste but also improve installation efficiency onsite. The move is intended to support new UAE government policies on sustainability and environmental protection.

The construction industry is a leading contributor to growing waste levels in the GCC, producing a reported 66mn tonnes of waste material a year or around 55 per cent of the 120mn tonnes of waste generated within the region. Construction waste can contain materials that lead to soil and water pollution due to harmful byproducts such as solvents, plastics and chemical treatments. The use of non-toxic building materials and furnishings, such as low- and zero-volatile organic compound paints and sealants, is essential to constructing or renovating ?green buildings', ensuring that they have minimal environmental impact.

An example of this is Mapei's concrete admixture product line, which can produce ?greener' concrete which minimises energy use during mixing, application and finishing, reduces cement and water content and therefore results in a lower carbon footprint. Mapei has also included antimicrobial agents in its ECO line of Floor Covering Installation Systems. Mapei is an active member of the US Green Building Council and participates in the environmental programmes of the council's 25 member countries, as well as its local involvement with the Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC).

"Our commitment to environmental sustainability is very clear, as we believe that industry needs to play a greater role in promoting sustainable practices,? said Laith Haboubi, business development director for Mapei in the UAE. ?For our part we will continue to develop and introduce eco-friendly products that aim to address the challenges of the construction industry throughout the Middle East.?