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Carrier – ‘ME can be the leader in sustainability’

John Mandyck, Vice President for Sustainability and Environmental Strategies at Carrier, elaborates on how he sees the GCC shaping up in its green initiatives

| | May 30, 2011 | 3:17 pm
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John Mandyck, Vice President for Sustainability and Environmental Strategies at Carrier, elaborates on how he sees the GCC shaping up in its green initiatives

What is your take on the sustainability consciousness in the GCC? I ask this, because the region is the highest per capita consumer of power and water?

Sustainability is evolutionary, and the important point is that it (the sustainability movement) has started in the Middle East – we see great evidence of it in the GCC, such as the interest in LEED certifications and Estidama, which I feel is a great approach in Abu Dhabi.

While sustainability has taken root in the Middle East, like elsewhere, it has a long way to go. The long-term economic prospects of the region look good, so there is no reason why the Middle East cannot be the leader in sustainability. I see a positive approach to sustainability in the Middle East. In the earlier stage of the global sustainability movement, there was a lot of excitement and, sometimes, green washing, but I haven’t seen evidence of that here in the Middle East.

What needs to be done to bring sustainability to the mainstream and as a part of the national consciousness? And how can Carrier help in this regard?

We have been a leader in the green building movement from the beginning. Carrier was the first company to be associated with the USGBC when the green building movement started; this was back in 1991. And we have gone on to be the only company in the world that has been a founding member in India, Singapore and France. Here, we are closely working with the Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC). We have a long tradition of helping promote the green building movement around the world.

Also, we have been developing technology for sustainability. We have been simultaneously investing to bring energy-efficient technology for refrigeration- and cooling-related products.

Further, we have launched the Distinguished Sustainability Lecture Series at the Higher Colleges of Technology, in the UAE. For this, we will be bringing four global experts to share their expertise. They are external to Carrier and are leaders at a global level.

The UAE is the first place in the world to have the Lecture Series. We have inaugurated it here. From here, we will take it to the rest of the world.

We are the first company in the world to have the license to teach LEED. We are an official LEED Education Provider.

Do you think the world, in general, has moved from using economic benefits as the sole driver for sustainability-related initiatives? Do you feel initiatives are as much driven by an urgent need to save the planet?

Sustainability will succeed best when people see value in it. There is no shame in recognising that sustainability can be good for business. In construction, HVAC solutions can lower opex for businesses and property owners. We have seen green buildings became more popular in the US, not just because they are good for the environment but also because people see value in them from an operations point of view.

I do see it happening. It is value versus sacrifice for me. Sometimes, people view environment as a personal sacrifice, be it product choice or comfort. But we can surely build buildings that are good for the environment and also provide comfort and provide opex relief, thus giving payback for building owners.

Are you happy with the current bouquet of synthetic refrigerants? Do you see a role for natural refrigerants (ammonia, for instance), if toxicity- and flammability-related issues can be addressed?

Carrier will have the right refrigerants for all its applications. We have been on a long evolution of refrigerants development, and each step is better than the incumbent we replace.

In 1994, we were the first to cease CFC, two years before its phase-out in the US and 16 years ahead of international markets. We were able to reduce GWP by 80%. We recognise that the HFC refrigerant we use has GWP, and we are investing in research.

We are leaders in Europe in using CO2 for commercial refrigeration systems. We take CO2 out of the atmosphere and use it for commercial refrigeration. This year, we have introduced hybrid cooling, which uses CO2 for low-temperature applications and R134a for medium-temperature applications.

We also have propane-based systems. We introduced a new unit in Europe for convenience store applications. When it comes to stationary air conditioning in the Middle East, there is need for more research. There is a need to be environmentally effective, cost effective, energy efficient and to have to comply with safety codes. We haven’t found a refrigerant that will meet these requirements, and we continue to look. Till then, we will use R134a for commercial and 410 for residential and for light-commercial.

Broadly speaking, could you please elaborate on Carrier’s recent sustainability-related initiatives?

Green products start from a green company. This is our fundamental belief. So we have started our initiatives with our own factories, our own operations. We recently achieved our 1st LEED Gold factory, in Mexico. And three of our factories are LEED-certified for Existing Buildings. So we are going to make strides in our environmental footprint. We are going to push the envelope to bring more energy-efficient systems and invest in research of refrigerants.

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