The Heart of Europe to be world’s first ‘zero-discharge’ tourism project

Developed by The Kleindienst Group, the $5bn (AED18.3bn) The Heart of Europe master-planned second home and tourism island destination has placed sustainability at its core in order to deliver the world’s most sustainable tourism project, which is also the world’s first ‘zero-discharge’ tourism project.

The Kleindienst Group has also announced the addition of a vertical hanging garden comprising of 100,000 green plants to the project, located 4km off the coast of Dubai. The green living walls aim to add to the biodiversity of The Heart of Europe’s hotels, as it will attract bees, butterflies, and birds whilst keeping the building cooler and reducing the hotels’ overall carbon footprint.

The project also comprises a series of micro-jungles; a rainy street that offers cool showers during the summer season; re-creation in coral reefs; an expanded marine habitat; and solar-powered hotel suites that are backed with a ‘zero-discharge policy’ – key features that set The Heart of Europe apart from other tourism projects around in the world.

“Zero discharge was almost impossible on an island tourism destination and unthinkable a few years ago. However, it is becoming a reality now, thanks to the development of environmental engineering and technology. We are now able to achieve zero discharge at the Heart of Europe,” the chairman of Kleindienst Group, Josef Kleindienst said.

“Once completed, it will be the world’s first sustainable island tourism destination with a ‘zero-discharge’ policy. This means, there will be no discharge into the sea waters.”

The project is being developed on six of the World Islands – which is a cluster of 300 man-made islands off the coast of Dubai’s Jumeirah district – and aims to bring the best of European culture, heritage, and experience to Dubai. The project will be a car-free, noise-free, and pollution-free destination.

The Heart of Europe will host approximately 4,000 accommodation units spread across 15 hotels, 10 Beach Palaces on its Sweden Island, 32 luxury villas on Germany Island, 141 Floating Seahorse Villas, and host between 8,000 to 15,000 people including staff at its peak, but will not discharge any waste into the sea.

Construction of the Heart of Europe’s Phase 1 includes the development of nearly 600 units across 5 key projects including 8 Sweden Beach Palaces, 32 luxury villas on the Germany Island, Honeymoon Island – home to The Floating Seahorse, Portofino family hotel with over 170 family suites – and more than 370 deluxe suites in the Côte d’Azur resort on the Main Europe Island.

Phase 1 is slated for completion in Q4 2020 and the handover processes will start upon getting necessary permissions from the authorities, depending on the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

The project, which was initiated around 2008, came out of age and evolved through increased regulations – both environmental and engineering – to make projects more sustainable.

“When we purchased the islands, the guidelines were simple – to build world-class touristic assets – to attract tourists to Dubai. Since then, the authorities have strengthened the engineering guidelines that will make projects more environmentally sustainable,” Josef Kleindienst said.

“As a developer, we have gone extra miles to make sure we not only fulfil those sustainability regulations, but exceed them. For example, our civil structures are built to last more than 100 years, although the regulation is for a 50-year building life.

“So, we have exceeded our environmental and sustainability requirements as a project developer. Moreover, all our projects are green and will be surrounded by sustainable landscape, vegetation, and micro-jungles that are watered through underground piping system to maximise the utilisation of the water resources.”

The destination will offer year-round European cultural festivities – as many as 51 annual festivals – intending to bring the best of European flavour to Dubai. The restaurants and cafes will serve organic and authentic European cuisines.

At the sub-sea level, the Heart of Europe is expanding the marine habitat by creating and installing coral reefs for fish, breeding up to 50 species form the Arabian Gulf, including the carpet shark, to increase the marine environment and make it more sustainable.

These coral reefs will create a marine habitat for various species of fish and other forms of marine life that will transform the sea bed into a haven for diving and snorkelling activities.

“This will be a major attraction for underwater divers, snorkelers, marine biologists, students and those who want to explore the beauty of the marine habitat. We will have attractions above and below the water and all these will be sustainable,” Josef Kleindienst says.

“Innovation and sustainability are part of our DNA and today we are proud to announce that the Heart of Europe will be the most sustainable leisure tourism island destination in the world that we will offer to the tourists and visitors.”

The project will also include a climate-controlled Rainy Street covering 1km stretch of walkway where it will rain on command maintaining an ambient temperature of 27 degrees Celsius as well as 5 kilometres per hour winds and 60 per cent humidity, in order to mirror the summer climate in southern Europe – a major tourist attraction when Phase 1 of the project opens later this year.

The Rainy Street will have a boulevard setting filled with street cafés, casual dining restaurants, retail outlets, and fashion and souvenir shops.

The Heart of Europe will also feature a sustainable swimming pool measuring a record 12,000m2, which will connect the four hotels of the Côte d’Azur resort and will be fully sustainable with fresh water production, recycling, and heating generated by solar panels and a zero-discharge policy.

A rainforest will be planted with more than 100 types of exotic plants and palm trees right next to the Rainy Street. The forest will also have a sustainable irrigation system with recycled water and rain will fall on command to create a refreshing micro-climate. The rainforest will deliver a new sustainable entertainment and educational experience in Dubai.

The Heart of Europe also has a zero micro-plastics policy to ensure the protection of the Arabian Gulf and species of marine life that reside around the six islands. Other sustainable initiatives include clean energy powered by solar panels and hydro fuels, pesticide and fungicide free landscaping, car free environment, recycling of waters to irrigate the gardens, and the use of organic food in the hotels.

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