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‘Retrofitting is the solution to energy efficiency,’ Emirates GBC says

Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman, Emirates Green Building Council (Emirates GBC), shares how the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) programme, aligned with the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement, announced a Call for Action to achieve 100% Net Zero Carbon Buildings, which are energy efficient by 2050.

| | Aug 20, 2018 | 2:29 pm
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Dubai, UAE, 20 August 2018: Green Buildings, health and well-being continue to be the focus as indoor air quality is a major factor influencing indoor spaces, said Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman, Emirates Green Building Council (Emirates GBC), while speaking on the benefits of the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) programme by the GBC.

Saeed Al Abbar

The BEA programme, Al Abbar said, is an initiative by the United Nations Secretary-General, led by the World Resource Institute, in partnership with the World Green Building Council (World GBC), where GBCs engage with leading cities to ramp up the level of energy efficiency of buildings. Elaborating on the programme, he said, “Dubai is the first and only city in the Middle East to participate in the BEA and, for this, EmiratesGBC has partnered with the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy as a city liaison to carry out the project.” He said that the programme, which aims to place the United Arab Emirates at the forefront of urban sustainability by benchmarking the performance of all buildings, will serve as a referral point in driving forward the level of energy efficiency of buildings in the city and will attempt to double the rate of building efficiency by 2030 globally.

Al Abbar said: “HVAC accounts for approximately 60% to 80% of the total energy consumed by buildings in the United Arab Emirates, which is higher than the global average consumption rate. This naturally means that HVAC systems and their efficiency levels play a key role in building performance and energy efficiency.” He said the aim of the BEA project is to look into the potential energy savings of a building and then push for retrofitting as an obvious solution.

Since the launch of the BEA programme in 2016, Abbar said, they have come a long way. “We launched our programme with the UAE hospitality sector and our findings have revealed that hotels in the UAE had unequal energy and water performance, but had the potential for saving on energy.” Highlighting a research conducted by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, while announcing the National Climate Change Plan for the UAE 2017-2050, he said: “The study notes that buildings consume approximately 80% of the total electricity in the UAE and are a major source of national greenhouse gas emissions. The report also states that the UAE’s annual average temperature could increase by 1 degree C by 2020 and 1.5 degrees C by 2040.” Therefore, he said, there is an urgent need to reduce and eventually eliminate harmful carbon emissions from our cities.

Today, Abbar said, the BEA programme is a pilot project focused on Dubai and looks at retrofitting of existing buildings as a priority. He said,“We have recently launched the Building Retrofit Training Programme, in partnership with the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and Masdar, as a means to educate the industry of its importance and to focus our technical expertise towards saving the region’s climate.” Elaborating on GBC and its future plans, Abbar said that the council is currently verifying and processing the data received by its participating properties and plans to publish their findings by the end of this year. He said,“As a part of this year’s exercise, we have enhanced our benchmark methodology and still have chosen to address hotels by inviting them to participate; the aim of which is to achieve accuracy through data analysis.” The hospitality sector, he said, has been driving the United Arab Emirates carbon footprint and malls have been selected due to their high energy requirements, while schools were chosen for their high operational and social importance.

Speaking about the goal of the BEA programme, Abbar said that they want to reach every region in the United Arab Emirates. He said, “We are looking at developing a comprehensive online interactive platform that can collect and analyse data, report on performance and provide technical information on the best practices in building efficiency.”


Ranjana Konatt is Features Writer at Climate Control Middle East magazine. She may be contacted at ranjana@cpi-industry.com


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