Tag Archive | "energy consumption"

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer inaugurates ‘Power to Cloud’ event

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) inaugurated the ‘Power to Cloud’ conference and exhibition organised by Schneider Electric in Dubai. The conference showcased the future of smart cities, ways to implement best international practices to manage energy consumption, ambitious plans to fulfil growing energy requirements, and the concept of green cities for a better future.

Al Tayer said: “The two-day conference and exhibition held under the theme ‘Building Next Generation Mission-Critical IT Infrastructure,’ and other such initiatives, are important for us to exchange expertise, experiences, and information. It also helps the process of developing the necessary technology required for the transition to smart grids, and accelerating the construction of smart cities.

“The initiative aims to establish Dubai as a smart city by developing Smart Grids that enhance the performance of utility providers, upgrade the services provided and ensure that supplies and services contribute to environmental protection and reduced carbon emissions.

“DEWA has set its strategy and roadmap for smart power and water grids, totalling AED 7 billion to support the efficient and reliable infrastructure of communication to support the Demand Side Management programme and connect to sources of renewable energy. DEWA also has proceeded with the smart meters project, and plans to install 72,000 smart meters per year for new connections. It is expected that the existing mechanical and electromechanical meters will be completely replaced by smart meters within the next five years at a rate of 250,000 electricity and water meters per year in the residential, industrial, and commercial sectors. The use of smart meters is a key element of building a smart network, and DEWA is a leading organisation in adopting the latest technologies, such as SCADA systems, control systems, protection and smart systems, to achieve the highest possible standards of efficiency, and reliability.”


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LED leads the way at Lighting Middle East

One of the region’s leading conference and exhibitions for lighting design and technology, was held last month. The event focussed on establishing a platform to showcase innovations in the lighting industry, where key industry decision makers could meet major international manufacturers and solution providers. Lorraine Bangera reports

“We are not through the technological revolution yet, we are still in it,” said Micheal Dehn, the Group Exhibitions Director of Epoc Messe Frankfurt, Germany’s leading trade fair organiser, responsible for he sixth Lighting Middle East. He was speaking about the impact of innovation in the region.
This year’s exhibition had 253 exhibitiors from 25 countries, which marks a 15% increase since 2012.
Dehn said: “After the recession, Lighting Middle East saw a glimmer of hope in the 2012’s showcase. The show has always been a reflection of the economy, which is doing pretty well looking at how successful this year’s show has been.”
He explained how what is displayed at the showcase usually has a knock-on effect later, as investors consider their options for the near future. Sustainability has been the crux of this year’s show with almost every innovation pushing energy-efficient lighting.
Dehn said: “LED and energy saving is the future. HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer made it clear in his opening speech at the event, he began with asking ‘how much are you saving?’ The mentality is now all about sustainability.”
The transition in the market can affect many sectors including established lighting companies.
Dehn said: “The big companies today, are known for products that have been in the market for 100 years, there is no guarantee that they will still be on the top in the next five years. To keep their position, they have to consider energy saving and adapt to the transition. Vice versa there are small companies who have concentrated on innovations, and if they play it smart they could be at the top in five years. “The exciting part of it is to see how the market changes, and help investor make essential decisions – that is where an exhibition plays a major role.”
As an exhibition director, Dehn has found it interesting to watch exhibitors compete with one another.
He said: “Yesterday, a CEO of a major brand was walking around the exhibition with his technology chief. Both were critically examining the competitors’ products and stalls. Everyone is watching everyone, which is a sign of a healthy and competitive market.”

Future Zone
The exhibition had an area dedicated to showcasing product innovations, trends and concepts called the Future Zone. Exhibitors in Future Zone included GE Lighting, LG Electronics, iGuzzini Middle East, ACDC, ERCO Lighting, Linea Light Group, Osram, and Trilux.
iGuzzini presented the compact and bright Laser Blade which is the first indoor linear LED recessed fitting with a circular light emission. Richard Holmes, iGuzzini Middle East regional director, said: “It has long been the desire of many architects and designers to have light without seeing light fittings. With the development of Laser blade, iGuzzini has achieved this.”
Also at the Future Zone, GE Lighting presented its latest LuminationTM LED Linear. Suspended from the ceiling, this luminaire combines aesthetics and space-filling lighting, all contained within a premium-quality aluminium frame. GE Lighting also presented the ERS LED Scalable Street Lighting range of luminaires that provide energy efficient roadway lighting.
George Bou Mitri, GE Lighting’s general manager of Middle East, Africa and Turkey, said: “We are bringing in cutting-edge solutions that enhance visibility, reduce environmental pollution and contribute to significant long-term savings in energy consumption of up to 75%.”
Speaking to BGreen about Lighting Middle East, Bou Mitri said: “Lighting Middle East is the most important platform for us. It highlights the latest technologies in the Middle East, which is one of the most important markets for us.” What we took away from the exhibition was the major role lighting industry played in energy consumption.
Bou Mitri agreed and said: “Over 12% of the world’s energy is consumed by electricity. To change that figure, lighting is your best choice.”
Taking over almost 60 countries, Bou Mitru highlighted some of the similar trends in various countries in the GCC.
He said: “When we are talking about the GCC, the main trend is the discussion about the standards and regulations. As the new technologies are now in the market, the governments of the region are now looking at what makes a good standard to measure a product. And when it comes to regulations, the question posing as a barrier might be: how to set new regulations, that you have never set before, to use lighting as an enabler to a better economy?”

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Dubai launches its first State of Energy Report 2014

The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence (DCCE) has unveiled the first edition of the State of the Energy Report. Supporting the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the UAE Vision 2021, the report aims to build a collaborative platform to enable a knowledge economy to spur growth of both green and sustainable development.

This publication was unveiled yesterday for the World Energy Day falling on October 22.

HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, inaugurated the report on the occasion of the EXPO 2020 Theme Symposium, which is a major milestone in the bid to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.

“We are pleased to launch the first edition of the State of Energy Report 2014, which describes our way forward to build a green future for generations to come. First and foremost, this report is a reference for all the necessary knowledge and best practices for the energy sector. It provides the basis for a knowledge economy, which will be one of the main factors for the successful achievement of the vision of our wise leadership to transform Dubai into a Smart City,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Supreme Council of Energy.

By encouraging green investment and green growth, the UAE is becoming a leading green and sustainable economy in the region and the world.

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Sustainability in hospitality

Worldwide, the energy and environmental impact of the hospitality sector is huge as it relies heavily on built assets, is a major consumer of energy and water and generates considerable volumes of waste. The sector is thus greatly vulnerable to sustainability issues. BGreen and Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC) chaired a round table discussion on sustainability trends in the hospitality sector in the Middle East, the sixth in our collaborative series Sustainable Solutions

The round table participants were Philippe Torrin, Vice President – Technical Services Hospitality, Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Group; Ashroff Shakoor, Director of Engineering, Grand Hyatt Dubai; Srilal Palihakkara, Director of Engineering, Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai & Technical Coordinator – Middle East, India and Sri Lanka with Dubai Tourism’s Said Ishaq Abugharbieh as observer. The discussion was moderated by Anoop K Menon, Contributing Editor, BGreen.

BGREEN: How would each one of you relate sustainability to the hospitality sector?
I feel that even today sustainability is neither well understood nor well presented. You have a lot of public relations and marketing with the need to look good superseding everything else. So you have expensive propositions presented as sustainable actions. When it comes to sustainability in the hospitality sector, I feel that we need to concentrate on low hanging fruits, make a credible success out of them and see where we can go from there.
Ashroff: Around 15 years ago, we started collecting condensed water from the AC coils at the Hyatt Regency. Today, we collect over 10,000 gallons of water, and on a hot humid day, it goes up to 15,000 gallons. At that time, the objective as quite simple – reduce the bills. Sustainability, on its own, became an important driver for us seven years ago when we invested nearly AED 3.5 million to put up a solar water heater system on the Grand Hyatt. In fact, I have come across older hotels implementing simple energy-efficiency measures, carrying out energy audits, operational reviews compared to new properties. I went to a recently opened five star hotel in Dubai and was shocked to not find even a single LED lamp. Sustainability in the region’s hotel sector is really a mixed bag.
Srilal: In my opinion, sustainability has a wider perspective beyond technical gains. At Movenpick, we started our sustainability journey in 2009 with energy monitoring programme in 12 hotels. Today, 98% of our properties in the Middle East are implementing this programme. In fact, all our Middle East hotels have Green Globe Certification (GGC), which is a worldwide sustainability system. GGC has over 337 action points all the way from energy and water conservation to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). For example, we buy fair trade coffee which guarantees that the product is produced in a sustainable manner and doesn’t involve child labour – this is a sustainable way of doing business.

BGREEN: Why isn’t sustainability a widespread trend in the region’s hotel sector despite its obvious importance? What are the challenges in its way?
Philippe: We are living in a society driven by revenue. Before taking up high cost steps like food waste composting and the like, we should start with actions that have a huge impact on costs with minimum investment. These are no-brainers that are often side-lined for public relations gimmicks despite proven results. In fact, we should go in for more subjective actions only after harvesting the low hanging fruits. The need of the hour is sharing best practices, and developing a proper, independent tool to measure the results and prove that a particular action gives a particular set of results. This would be useful to engineers who want to convince their management. Today, there is little or no dissemination of sustainability actions taken and results achieved. Moreover, Return on Investments (ROI) promised by vendors are based on inflated or incorrect values that don’t consider ground reality.
Ashroff: There is a lot of value if you go to someone who has experience in implementing sustainability initiatives. As a 30-year old group operating different properties, we have that experience. We started installing LED lamps three to four years ago and achieved ROI in five months despite the fact that we didn’t consider heat dissipation from the halogen lamps. Buoyed by that success, we started implementing LED lighting in other properties.
Philippe: What we need now is a platform to share such success stories.
Ashroff: In fact, there should be networking events where hotel engineers can gather and share their knowledge and experiences.

BGREEN: How important is water and waste from a sustainability standpoint?
At the Hyatt Regency, we took Treated Sewage effluent (TSE) supplied for irrigation, treated it in a reverse osmosis (RO) plant installed at a cost of AED 1.3 million and used this water in our cooling towers. I had calculated 12 months as the payoff period but it took only nine months. We replicated that success in the Park Hyatt and two months ago, we installed a similar system in the Grand Hyatt as well. Water conservation can play an important role in your sustainability plan.
Srilal: The energy monitoring programme that we launched in 2009 motivated our hotels to save on water and other utilities. We have saved 78,000 cubic metres of water in the 12 hotels which equates to 31 Olympic sized swimming pools or 52 million 1.5 litre-bottles. We achieved these savings through small actions like installation of water savers, water bottles in the toilet tanks and also guest education. We only spent money on water savers which paid off in six to nine months. While we started with 12 hotels, other hotels too have been implementing these measures. When you talk about waste in this part of the world, it is enormous. There are five countries in the Middle East that figure among the top 10 in the world when it comes to waste generation. Apart from food waste, hotels also generate general waste. We have been segregating waste and recycling it for the past one and a half years but I started measuring it only recently. In just 15 days, we diverted six percent of our waste which was going to landfill to recycling. Our target is eight percent by the end of the year.
Philippe: Even with water, we need an independent tool to measure the savings. We need to go with Genuine Performance. At MAF, we are audited by an internationally recognised third party, which verifies that the numbers in our annual reports and the method of calculation is correct. In three years, we saved 24% in electricity and 18% in water and diverted 30% of waste from landfill through recycling. In fact, we are receiving money for the recycled waste while earlier, we had to pay money for waste to be taken away.

BGREEN: Clearly, lack of awareness about sustainability isn’t a significant challenge…
I agree that things are changing but slowly. Earlier, people were turned back by the costs, but with prices coming down, they are keen to invest. Today, you can buy branded LED bulbs for AED40 which used to be AED60. I feel things are moving in the right direction.
Philippe: In my opinion, this change was induced by the economic crisis. Before the crisis, business was so good that hotels were not hard-pressed to cut costs. Post-crisis, the focus on bottom line pushed them to cut their energy and water costs. We made investments worth over millions in heat pumps, LED bulbs and recycling in our properties with positive results. We were doing it for the first time so there were risks. We had to prepare a proper case study and sent that to our business analyst, make IRR and NPV of 10 years which also included increase in maintenance costs to prove that the investment is worthwhile. But how many are really willing to do all that or even bear the risk? At the same time, most of the suppliers here are not really capable of helping you on the implementation side. The bigger five star hotels will have good chief engineers but the same may not be the case for smaller hotels. If you do not have good local resources, things can get very complicated. In fact, procurement and support for implementation is very important. I feel there is opportunity for specialised companies in these areas.
Srilal: Product evaluation is also an issue. For example, while there are many LED products in the market, sometimes they will not last the years stated in the guarantee. There are a lot of technicalities involved in selecting products.
Ashroff: You must study the technologies and calculate the ROI. Shorter the duration of ROI, the better. Also, our engineering team carries out most of the implementations. Why invest so much money and then rely on outside contractors to do things? Even otherwise, if you are clear about what you want and how to get it, you can get the contractor or supplier to do it for you.

BGREEN: How do you get your customers to buy into sustainability?
Corporates who are passionate about sustainability prefer to do business with suppliers who share that ethos, and this applies to their choice of hotels too. In this case, sustainability becomes an important driver of business. Business apart, sustainability is also a moral obligation to save the world for the future. I believe that it is easier to take sustainable measures today because there is so much of waste. Most of the actions we have implemented so far required little by way of investment. But now we are ready to go to the next stage of investing money and getting returns.

BGREEN: How do you ensure that the workforce don’t lose sight of the sustainability agenda?
We have linked bonus to performance to make the workforce accountable. We have given our engineers tools to measure performance. We are also pushing this accountability further down to other departments as well.
Ashroff: We have appointed a company to prepare reports on consumption figures which we get at the end of every month. These reports tells us how we have performed compared to the previous months. In 2006, we were given a target to achieve reductions of 25% in electricity and 20% in water consumption by 2015. With this system and past records and looking at the other properties, we are doing very well. I agree that it is important to give people targets and tools to measure the progress.

EGBC representative: Hospitality is one of the sectors that we are focussing on as part of our sector-based sustainability programme. I would like to know how EGBC can be platform for collaboration between the government and hotel sector.
Philippe: EGBC should develop a proper tool and establish a common platform to share success stories, data or results so that the entire sector benefits. Competition between hotels is determined by service and not by how green they are. However, a ‘greener’ Dubai will certainly attract more people and everybody benefits.
Ashroff: Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has carried out many awareness drives. In fact, DTCM should encourage all hotels to carry out energy audits as these audits will tell the management where the ‘leaking buckets’ are. There are so many simple measures that hotels can take provided the management knows about it. EGBC can play a co-ordinating role here.
Srilal: I would like to share a few statistics from the World Travel & Tourism Council. The tourism industry is the second highest employer in the Middle East. We have 3,000 operational hotels with 300,000 rooms in the UAE. If every hotel launches an environmental training programme for their staff, 1.7 million people could be trained in a single year in the UAE alone. This could boost the sustainability awareness within the country. In fact, in Movenpick, staff training is an integral part of our sustainability agenda.

BGREEN: What would be your wish list for making sustainability an integral part of decision-making in the hospitality industry?
Philippe: I feel that authorities should make it mandatory for all hotels to incorporate solar energy in their operations and recycle grey water. They could also lay down a minimum percentage of lighting to be LEDs. Property owners who invest in sustainability should be recognised. Most of the time, the spotlight is on the hotel operators.
Srilal: My wish list would include regulations that encourages sustainability and a platform for sharing of knowledge, experiences and success stories. Investors should be forced to factor sustainability into their projects during the design stage itself. For example, you can incorporate condensate recovery and re-use at the design stage rather than as a retrofit.
Ashroff: A platform where hotel engineers can meet and exchange their experiences and knowledge can create greater awareness. We should also get the consultants to listen more to the end-users.

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Sustainable light


Lighting consumes 19% of global electricity production; for the Middle East, it is 22%. Policymakers and governments need to mandate sustainable alternatives to traditional energy inefficient lighting to reduce overall demand for electricity and curb CO2 emissions

By Lorraine Bangera

In recent years, the two topics that have attracted the attention of the general public and authorities worldwide are energy-efficiency and climate change. There are three drivers behind this trend: the climate crisis, the global economic crisis and the energy crisis. Climate change is the biggest challenge and threat to the planet requiring drastic measures to curb CO2 emissions. In the Gulf region, the primary source of CO2 emission is electricity production sector. The average kilogramme of CO2 produced per kilowatt hour in the Gulf is among the highest in the world due to the fuel mix used to generate electricity. Adbo Rouhana, Head of Philips Lighting University believes that energy-efficient lighting can play a crucial role in helping Gulf countries address the challenge of curbing carbon emissions because, “Lighting plays a crucial role in our lives and the impact is all around us from energy consumption to well-being and the environment.” Rouhana explained that the sun emits three kinds of light – ultraviolet (UV), infrared (or heat) and daylight. Ultraviolet comprises of short and long waves of which the latter is very harmful causing and causes skin cancer. The ozone layer that envelops the earth reflects back most of the short wave UV rays allowing only a small portion to enter the earth, which is, however, very important as they kill germs and provide vitamin E to our body. In the case of infrared, again, only a small part of the total emission reaches the earth with the rest reflected back. However, with CO2 forming a kind of isolation outside the earth, more and more of infrared is being reflected back to the earth leading to temperature increase. The effect of melting ice is being felt all over the world from the North Pole to Jeddah in the form of extreme weather events. As a result, climate change is being regarded more seriously than ever at all levels – political, economic and social. Managing electricity consumption is key to reducing carbon emissions, especially in the Gulf region. Climate change apart, rising electricity costs have helped people become more aware of energy-efficiency. Thirty years ago, average electricity cost was 3.5-fils per kWh. Consumers today pay far more for their electricity, and interestingly, lighting accounts for a significant chunk of their power bills. Rouhana says, “The Middle East enjoys bright days. To avoid imbalance, people like to have heavy lighting in the evenings as well. We have more light bulbs in our houses compared to the houses in Europe. In fact, we are guilty of excessive use of chandeliers that trend to use up to 20 light bulbs and even more.” Rouhana also underlined the rapidly growing demand for electricity which is leading to demand-supply shortfalls. “Communities are rapidly growing without proper planning or infrastructure,” he says. “In Saudi Arabia, you have power cuts lasting for two hours in residential areas due to insufficient electricity supply.”

The high oil prices globally means the Gulf countries can ill afford to divert their valuable oil production to meet growing domestic demand at subsidised rates and lose export revenue or even value addition opportunities locally. In fact, energy saving initiatives in the region have a strong economic underpinning as well apart from sustainability. Energy saving in the context of lighting doesn’t imply compromising on comfort. End-users must receive the same comfort they get with conventional lamps while using lamps that are more energy-efficient. All energy saving lamps aim to improve the lumen per watt (the amount of light emitted from a light source is measured by lumen).

Thus, a:

• 100 Watt incandescent lamp equals 1,200 lumen
• 18 Watt fluorescent lamp equals 1,350 lumen
• 20 Watt compact fluorescent lamp equals 1,200 lumen
The formula of lumen per watt is the amount of consumed electricity, also called efficacy.

Traditional lamps
Incandescent lamps are the least efficient means of lighting a space. “Halogen is widely used in the UAE and is liked by interior designers,” says Rouhana. While halogen lamps are more efficient than the conventional incandescent lamps, there are other considerations that should be taken into account when selecting a fixture. If recessed, halogen lamps can significantly reduce ceiling insulation levels, which in turn, can reduce the thermal performance of the building. Externally mounted fixtures can overcome this issue to a certain extent. Rouhana says, “In Incandescent and halogen lamps, only five percent of what is produced is light; the rest 95% is heat. In this region, we are heavily reliant on air-conditioning. As a result, we are losing on both fronts using a lamp that produces less light and a lot of heat, which increases the load on the AC. While these lamps are cheap, they have short lifespans. Due to voltage fluctuations, that lifespan is cut by half. “

Fluorescent lamps
Fluorescent lamps are currently the most cost and energy-efficient lighting choice, particularly when taking into consideration light output depreciation and the eye’s spectral response. But all fluorescent lamps are not equal. It is important to ensure that the specifications are compared at the operational temperature of the fixture and the starting mechanism is suitable to needs. In general, an electronic ballast is preferable to a mechanical ballast as it has lower losses and can enable dimming. Some fluorescent lamps can be dimmed in response to available natural light. Depending on the model, this may reduce lamp lifetime slightly, but often this is more than compensated for by the cost savings that result from increased energy-efficiency. On the negative side, fluorescent lamps use mercury which is very harmful for the environment. Rouhana feels that manufacturers must take upon the responsibility to try and minimise mercury consumption. In a fluorescent lamp, the amount of light emitted depends on the phosphor coating around the lamp. “People usually go for cheaper products and fluorescent lamps are no exception,” explaines Rouhana. “This has two major disadvantages, one, the lamp durability is not very long and two, the phosphor used in the lamps are very thin and of low quality. The quality of the phosphor coating is critical because poor quality coating disintegrates and falls away from the glass which leads to certain amount of UV short waves going out. This could be extremely harmful to people’s health. This is another reason why governments are getting serious about sustainable lighting.”

LED lighting
LED or light-emitting diode is a semiconductor light source. Though visibly more expensive, LED lamps have a longer life compared to incandescent lamps and some fluorescent lamps. Some LED lamps are made to replace incandescent or fluorescent lamps directly. Efficacy of LED devices continues to improve with some being able to emit more than 100 lumens per watt. LEDs do not emit light in all directions, and their directional characteristics affect the design of lamps. But LED lamps emit more light than incandescent lamps due to their higher efficacy. When it comes to sustainability, LED based lighting solutions represent the best step forward thanks to their low energy consumption. Other contributing factors include waste reduction, recyclability, use of materials and resources and the effect on building and design practices. LED lighting supports sustainable design in several ways. It uses less energy than most other types of lamp, lasts longer (which means less frequent replacement and therefore reduced waste), is mercury-free, and can be housed in special luminaires designed for easier disassembly and recycling. Rouhana cautions that while LED is light of the future, it is not the solution for everything yet. He continues: “People deal with LED lamps in their construction projects without being informed first, which leads to failure and loss of money. Training, lectures and seminars on LED technology is required to spread knowledge. With thousands of manufacturers in the fray today, you have to be very careful.”

Cost of Ownership
The true cost of ownership is often confused with initial purchase cost. People do not consider maintenance and replacement costs as well as energy costs, which amounts to usually a lot more than the initial cost. These running costs, once considered, give end-users the actual cost of the lamp and value for money. Generally, systems with the lowest initial price have the highest ‘full life’ cost of ownership. For example, incandescent and halogen lamps usually take the most energy cost and do not run for as long as sustainable lamps. When end-users consider all factors, they realise that energy-efficient lamps are actually more economical than traditional lamps.

Policy action, the EU way
In 2006, the European Union took drastic measures calling for 20% reduction in energy consumption by 2020. Even though this seems to be an ambitious target, they have drafted strategic measures to obtain them:

Legislative strategy
The first step was to make proper regulations and legislations that set limits in terms of energy consumption. Initially, instead of setting hard and fast rules, they eased people into the process through incentives. For example, in Germany, a rebate was given to those whose energy bills reflected low electricity consumption and high energy savings. The government also provided price discounts to encourage people to choose energy saving equipment. Some countries in the EU banned the use of incandescent and halogen lamps from 2013 onwards, which means these lamps cannot be produced, marketed or sold for home use. High penalties are inflicted on those selling incandescent lamps from January 2013 onwards. The same applies to North America, but the regulations will be imparted from the end of 2013. However, the first country in the world to ban incandescent lamps was Cuba way back in 2005. Following the footsteps of the European Union, many other nations are looking into banning incandescent and halogen lamps. The UAE too needs to follow the example of the EU in banning these lamps.

Solution creating strategy
This strategy aims to provide users with solutions so that energy savings can be achieved. This is possible when markets can provide products and tools that could be applied instead of ones banned by legislation. An energy-efficiency label is a good way to communicate effectively to the end-users. Philips uses label categories that are placed on the product’s packaging – lamps are labelled in categories A, A+, or A++ with A++ being the most energy-efficient.

Explaining benefits of energy
One of the major challenges for lighting manufacturers is to communicate benefits of energy-efficient lighting to end users in the right way. The end-user has to be convinced about cost benefit of buying an AED100 lamp. Seminars on lighting efficiency must target and educate people right from the level of school and university students to lighting professionals.

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Towards a low-carbon economy

The concept of a green economy goes by many names: low-carbon, low fossil fuel, or the decarbonised economy. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the concept of green economycan be reached when a nation’s economy can yield “improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.” In layman’s terms: watch that carbon. BGreen looks at how the UAE is moving towards this goal

The focus of this year’s World Environment Day was on the Green Economy: Does it include you? After making headlines as the world’s most notorious emitter of carbon, the UAE has made a rapid comeback, at least according to experts speaking about the nation’s potential for a low-carbon future.
A low-carbon economy is one whose growth is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, with a focussed approach to energy efficiency, and a watchful eye on maintaining biodiversity despite robust expansion. These investments need to be nurtured and expedited by targeted policy and regulation reforms, and possible long-term solutions for creating a carbon-aware business community.
The International Green Awards Summit provided a platform for noted speakers from the public and private sector, from sustainable industry leaders like Interface and Henkel, to policy regulators and NGOs like Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and Emirates Wildlife Society – World Wildlife Fund (EWS-WWF). The general consensus seems clear: the move towards a low carbon economy needs to mobilise both public and private sectors as an economic whole. Looking at one single organisation to fit the model cannot be indicative of a regional trend, and without the proper incentives or regulations catalysing the process, change across the board may be sluggish.

The Energy-Water Nexus
“Power and water consumption here are the main drivers of emissions, and this is what we have to focus on. In Abu Dhabi, the tariffs (for utilities) are low, which means that companies and households don’t have the right incentives to start saving energy,” according to Eva Ramos, Acting Manager of Environmental Analytics, at the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi’s Integrated Environment Policy and Planning Sector. “Recently, EAD was working on a strategy on climate change and identify the drivers and pressures, and it revealed that a majority of emissions came from power and water consumption. These kinds of studies provide us with data that can set change in motion. The difficulty now is that we don’t have the mandate to act on an energy policy. We are trying to find the right incentives so that more companies start making changes,” she added at the sidelines of the summit.
Ramos is currently in the process of “developing a new unit to help EAD move from a research organisation to a regulator” as a way for the agency to adapt existing policies to incorporate climate change mitigation. Despite the discouraging emissions figures in black and white, Ramos appears optimistic about the UAE’s low-carbon trajectory.”I came to this country four years ago, and I never expected to have so many opportunities to work on issues related to sustainability. Something is definitely happening, and perhaps this pace is slower than what we’d like, but from my own experience from working in Europe and Latin America, things are happening very fast here. People are increasingly starting to talk about issues and possible solutions. The first thing you have to do is talk, then comes the time to start acting. There are some companies here that are taking the right steps towards achieving lower carbon emissions, but again, this change appears slow because it’s not taking place across industries at the same time.”

Dubai—charging ahead
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, had launched “A green economy for sustainable development” in January 2012. According to His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED), this places the UAE at the forefront regionally in adopting a long-term national initiative to build a green economy.
“The “Dubai Green Economy Partnership” aims are threefold: to support the long-term sustainable and green growth of Dubai economy, strengthen Dubai’s position in the global green economy value chain and accelerating the adoption of green technologies, products and services that has proven economic and ecological feasibility in the region” says Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO, Dubai FDI, the Foreign Direct Investment Office of DED.
Al Gergawi adds that the next step is to set up “a number of mechanisms to realise the vision of His Highness the Crown Prince of Dubai through market leadership, innovation and investment in human capital.”
Dubai FDI will act as a liaison between local, regional and international founding partners and companies interested in the programme’s local and international events. “Thanks to the increased awareness of the local and global environmental challenges among both public and private sectors in Dubai, the transition to green economy has progressed with voluntarily adoption of green technologies and best practices in environment protection across key sectors from energy and transportation to buildings and resource management,” comments Al Gergawi.
“This drive, inspired by sustainable development as a core value, coupled with implementation of one of the best information and communication technology infrastructures in the world, has empowered Dubai’s transition to a green economy that enjoys global recognition in energy efficiency, sustainable transport and a growing sustainable living movement.”
The plan includes transitioning Dubai into a hub for sustainable business and a test bed for emerging green technologies. With the increased number of Dubai’s green infrastructure projects yielding positive economic benefits, the programme also aims to strengthen sustainability guidelines that can reduce carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency and encourage water conservation. A hallmark of the transition to a green economy that will address regional development challenges with practical project management
and financing models through collaboration with international investors, financial institutions and public-private partnerships.

On a federal level
UAE Minister of Foreign Trade Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi noted the UAE’s move in diversifying the base of economy, with oil and gas production, while still retaining its importance, accounting for only about a third of GDP.
Reflecting on the UAE’s progress in each of the pillars of sustainable development— economic, social and environmental—Sheikha Lubna summarised the changes that have taken place federally in the past 20 years.
“On economic development we have made great progress. Since the first Rio summit the UAE’s economy has grown by over 400 per cent,” she says.
“Clean energy is a central plank of our development strategy. And we are innovating solutions in energy efficiency, water efficiency, building standards, and sustainable cities that we hope will have beneficial applications in our region and the world,” Sheikha Lubna adds, noting how the nation’s commitment to the environment is  much further-reaching now than it was 20 years ago, owing to the expansion of research and development in green technology.
Despite the UAE’s commitment to sustainable development shaping both its domestic policy and views on international cooperation, Sheikha Lubna adds that much remains to be done. “For instance, the UAE is working to reduce its’ greenhouse gas emissions. This is challenging due to our cooling needs – a basic necessity in a hot arid environment – the need to desalinate water, and an energy intensive industrial base.
“But we are committed to taking action to mitigate this effect, and the significant progress we have made in so many other areas of sustainable development gives me confidence that we can be an active contributor to the global solutions required here too.

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