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Retrofit of the Future seminar discusses role of existing buildings in Green future

Event organised by the Royal Danish Consulate, highlighted close cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and Denmark in the field of energy efficiency and featured presentations by experts

| | Nov 8, 2018 | 9:43 am
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Dubai, UAE, 8 November 2018: The Royal Danish Consulate General recently organised ‘Retrofit of the Future’, an exclusive seminar and exhibition discussing the important role the existing building stock plays in the move towards a Green future, on November 5 and 6, in Dubai. During his welcome remarks, HE Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin, Ambassador of Denmark in the UAE, spoke on the symbolism behind the decision to hold the event at the Mohamed bin Rashid Space Centre, being the first passive, off-grid house that can accommodate the region’s hot and humid climate. Speaking on the close cooperation between Denmark and the UAE, Mellbin drew parallels between both countries, not only with regard to having ambitious environmental goals, but also in the willingness to invest, in order to meet these ambitions, highlighting how Danish expertise and solutions may benefit the United Arab Emirates moving forward and the establishment of the Danish Retrofitting Alliance.

Elaborating on how the oil crisis during the 1970s helped Denmark develop unique expertise on resource-efficient buildings, Bjarne Dalgaard, Technical Consultant, Danish Building and Property, shared case studies and discussed existing mechanisms within the country that promote best practice, which are driven by both national and European regulations and ensure that saving energy and money go hand in hand. “We use a lot of tools in Denmark to lower energy consumption,” he said, “windows, lighting, insulation. We are also looking at natural over mechanical ventilation, District Heating, retrofitting of pumps and energy management.” Dalgaard said that energy labelling is also an important tool that has strong influence, “because you can’t rent out buildings if they don’t live up to certain energy efficiency standards.” He also spoke on the importance of FM, adding that maintaining energy savings is as important as achieving it.

Morten Søndergaard, Executive Vice President, International Operations, (Danish Energy Management (DEM) and Managing Director of Danish Energy Efficiency Partners (DEEP), delivered a presentation on the development and implementation of energy efficiency strategies and provided an update on the company’s profile of activities in the United Arab Emirates, as well as projects in the pipeline. “We see huge potential for energy reduction in buildings and we have established a company focusing on unlocking this potential,” he said. “To that end, we are taking care of the entire process of identifying the savings, making the technical solution, introducing the equipment in the building and then monitoring its use over the years, combined with doing financing, as a package. We are actually doing the entire business for the building owners and then we are sharing the savings.”

Charles Blaschke, Managing Director, Taka Solutions, discussed retrofitting in the context of the United Arab Emirates, emphasising how the country can benefit from the expertise and solutions from Denmark in this regard. Blaschke discussed how shortcomings of the existing building stock provide a lot of opportunities for savings of up to 50%, if not more, through low-cost, energy efficient retrofits. He also outlined key organisational players driving retrofit programmes in the United Arab Emirates and how the financing model is driving demand for quality solutions.

Representing one of the companies that aim to offer such solutions, Tolga Candan, Business Development Manager, Energy Optimisation and Retrofitting, Grundfos, highlighted how Denmark’s energy consumption remained the same, despite the 70% growth in GDP since 1980. “Grundfos is an industry leader born from the Danish mindset that we can grow and increase our efficiency, as well as reduce energy,” he said. “There are other Danish companies with the same mindset and united, our voice becomes stronger. It’s not about selling a pump, it’s about being part of a solution.” Candan said that investment in energy-efficient retrofits is growing because of looming environmental targets and greater appreciation of economic payback. With operational costs increasing exponentially, he said, reducing consumption not only helps reduce carbon emissions but also lowers expenses, so governments can invest more in the welfare of their people.

Dalgaard and Blaschke also spoke on the importance of enhancing IEQ in retrofit projects to ensure health of building inhabitants, as well as the increasing role that digitalisation plays in improving efforts in this regard. Daniel Bachmann, Group CEO and Founding Partner, International IoT Distribution (IIoTD) echoed this, sharing the company’s commitment to intelligently use data to better understand how to improve indoor climate. “You can control it, but you can only control it, if you know it,” he said. “There is a lot of knowledge involved and Denmark has, in many ways, been leading in indoor climate research, so that’s what we want to bring to Dubai.”


Hannah Jo Uy is Assistant Editor at Climate Control Middle East magazine. She may be contacted at hannah@cpi-industry.com

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