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Benchmarking required for energy efficiency

Considerable amounts of energy loss in existing buildings, says Head of Sustainability, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

| | Jan 20, 2019 | 9:00 am
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Dubai, UAE, 20 January 2019: “Today, we have the luxury of being energy efficient in new buildings but the real challenge lies in existing buildings,” said Muna Kris, Head of Sustainability, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia. Elaborating on the performance evaluation in existing buildings, she said: “Unfortunately, in this part of the world, there is a considerable amount of energy loss in existing buildings. While looking at the distribution of energy in the GCC region, we can firmly say that 80% of all buildings that exist in the United Arab Emirates today will exist by the year 2030.”

Kris said, “As much as 70% of energy consumption comes from cooling these buildings, which makes energy efficiency the main area of focus.” She added: “The first step is to benchmark, for which there are a number of ways. One way is to compare one building to another. The second method is to compare buildings, using ASHRAE standards to the energy consumption in similar buildings. The third is to compare the building to itself. After analysing where you stand using benchmarks, the next step is to do the energy audit, where you look at maintenance. One thing we often struggle with is having good data in terms of quality and quantity because if you don’t have the data to measure, you cannot include it.”

Pointing to awareness as another part of the process, Kris said, residents must be spoken to about the simplest aspects to saving energy. “Factors such as regulating temperature settings can help save up to 80% on energy bills,” Kris said, adding that building operators, too, have a part to play and need to know how to work with simple things, such as programmable thermostats and LED light bulbs, in order to save on energy.

 


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