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Retrofitting crucial for UAE in meeting emission reduction targets

EmiratesGBC, which conducts the Building Retrofit Training programme, says a concerted focus needs to be made around the large stock of buildings that already exist and their contribution to decarbonisation of the built-environment

| | Jun 16, 2019 | 5:31 pm
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Dubai, UAE, June 16, 2019: With global timelines for eliminating carbon emissions by 2050 relatively not too far away, the building and construction industry has a central role in aligning itself with global mandates, given that it is responsible for almost 40% of the world’s carbon emissions. Retrofitting existing buildings is crucial for mitigating the building industry’s impact on the climate.

The UAE is taking significant steps in retrofitting work, according to the Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC). The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy has set the goal of reducing Dubai’s energy demand by 30% by 2030, and retrofitting existing buildings is an integral part of the strategy, EmiratesGBC said through a Press communiqué. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has invested over USD 8 billion to retrofit 30,000 buildings, and once complete, it will secure an expected monetary savings of over USD 22.33 billion as well as total savings of one million tonnes of carbon dioxide, 5.6 billion imperial gallons of water and 1.7 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity by end-2030, the communiqué said.

The Building Retrofit Training class

To support the nation in its move towards higher levels of environmental sustainability, the EmiratesGBC has rolled out its 2019 Building Retrofit Training (BRT) calendar, the communiqué said. This year, there are two types of BRT workshops – an introductory and an advanced course, communiqué added. Conducted in partnership with the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company), the certification-based training programmes have Abu Dhabi and Dubai as the venues. Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman, EmiratesGBC, said: “We can ensure future buildings are sustainable through new regulations and innovations in sustainable technologies, but a concerted focus needs to be made around the large stock of buildings that already exist and their contribution to decarbonisation of the built-environment. In addition to our own national targets, there are two important global deadlines approaching – the first is achieving Net Zero Carbon in new buildings by 2030 and the second is ensuring all buildings are Net Zero Carbon buildings by 2050.

“Our Building Retrofit Training programme is a great first step in guiding the industry towards achieving these critical emission targets through retrofitting, which can be cost-efficient, ensure a longer lifespan for the building and have a better return on investment. I am confident that the Building Retrofit Programme can support the nation’s agenda and facilitate the process for industry professionals to physically start implementing their own retrofit programmes.”

The BRT programme is complimented by the EmiratesGBC Technical Guidelines for Retrofitting Existing Buildings, which is available in Arabic and English, and serves as a valuable reference text for all industry stakeholders to achieve higher levels of energy and water efficiency by retrofitting existing buildings, the communiqué said.

According to the communiqué, the Introductory course is a one-day workshop. No prior experience or qualifications are required for the course, and it is suitable for professionals of all levels and anyone interested in understanding the fundamentals of building-retrofit, the communiqué said. The course provides an overview of viable retrofit methods applicable in the Gulf region and covers five building management categories, including energy, water, air quality, materials and waste and innovative management. It is conducted by expert facilitators.

The Advanced course is a two-day workshop, and participants successfully passing the post-course examination will become an EmiratesGBC-certified Building Retrofit Specialist, the communiqué said. The course is designed for industry professionals with prior knowledge and experience of sustainability and retrofit procedures. The course will also provide methods on the technical capacity for more effective post-retrofit maintenance and preventive care. To date, the course has led to 15 participants becoming certified building retrofit specialists.

According to the communiqué, the next Introductory courses will be held on June 26 June,  September 4 and November 20 in Dubai, and on August 7 and October 23 in Abu Dhabi. The Advanced courses will take place from June 30 to July 1, from September 25 to 26 and from December 11 to 12 in Dubai.

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