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Sustainability has gained popularity and importance around the globe due to the ever-increasing effects of climate change and global warming on Earth. As of the 21st century, human endeavour has caused an enormous amount of damage to the environmental ecological system. Among which, one of the major contributors to the increase in the environmental issues and CO2 emissions are the conventional sources of energy, especially in the built environment. Globally, the built environment accounts for 12 percent of the world’s drinkable water, 40 percent of energy wastage and 35 percent of scarce natural resources, which in turn produces 40 percent of the total global carbon emission. Among which are educational buildings which tend to be a major contributor (as most of these facilities are old and conventionally built in the mid-1900s) Thus, with the education sector being an essential part of society, it becomes important to determine the energy performance and carbon footprint of these buildings. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) vision 2021 highlights the country's approach to the importance of providing the best education and adopting sustainable environmental infrastructure. Therefore, this study adopts a methodological approach based on semi-structured interviews and surveys, in order to compare the energy performance of three educational buildings within Higher Education establishments in the UAE as a case study. The study also evaluates the end user’s awareness of the importance of sustainable practices in the buildings and their preference for these buildings. The findings of this study conclude that Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs) are the most efficient buildings in terms of energy performance, carbon consumption and heat generated. Therefore, it is important that the integration of these types of buildings is considered in educational establishments.
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