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Montreal Protocol: How prepared is the hospitality industry in the region?

Basic ethical education is mandatory for consultants, contractors and suppliers, says industry insider

| | Apr 4, 2017 | 6:22 pm
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It has been more than five months now, since world leaders and climate experts signed the Montreal Protocol to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) globally. Although the programme is being implemented in different phases worldwide, the question is: What is the level of acceptance and implementation by the hotel industry in the GCC region?

Speaking on the measures taken towards addressing the issues regarding HFCs, Ramamurthy Thevar, Group Director of Engineering of Abjar Hotels International, said: “Hotel engineering directors and chief engineers do address arresting global warming as well as lowering HFCs, but as it is barbed-wired from execution and implementation, it either slows down or doesn’t move. However, this can be effective if law enforcement agencies, owners and financiers are involved.”

Regarding the onus that needs to be shared by others, he said: “Engineers are, indeed, very proactive. But this should also start from the design consultants, architects, builders and owners at the design development phases, where the building envelope designed is built to utilise half the energy during the construction phase itself.”

Suggesting a strategy towards the phasing-out process in the GCC region, Thevar said: “To meet the phasing-out deadlines, firstly, the alternative steps need to be taken to reduce the current and increasing levels of carbon dioxide-equivalent emission, then retrofit with alternative solutions instead of HFCs.”

On retrofitting old buildings, Thevar was of the opinion that old Existing Buildings can be enveloped by way of adding solar reflective coatings, which can reduce heat penetration into the building, thus reducing the cooling load by 30%. Suggesting other retrofit methods, he said, “Various other methods, such as full solar cooling and heating, hybrid cooling technologies and other non-toxic solutions are also available.”

Stressing the need for creating more awareness on the issue in the industry, Thevar said, “Basic ethical education is mandatory for consultants, contractors and suppliers, and they should not just have a money-making attitude.”

Thevar added that as an organisation, the engineering team identified in the chain of nine hotels, certain MEP designs had been overdesigned, and upon evaluation, they decided to scale down the design from a six-pump operation to a one-pump operation.

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