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Eco-Structures: Steady growth in adoption of TES across GCC region

Company’s director says positive momentum driven by cost, IEQ and environmental considerations

| | Nov 14, 2019 | 5:50 pm
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Dr Ghassan Al-Nimry

Adoption of Thermal Energy Storage (TES) is picking up across the GCC region, said Dr Ghassan Al-Nimry, Director, Eco-Structures International. “People realise the value of applying such solutions, especially in big District Cooling facilities and some Concentrated Solar Power plants,” he said. “Thermal Storage is picking up, and we are part of the thermal storage ecosystem – with building integrated thermal storage, storing energy in the building itself.” Currently, Dr Al-Nimry said that the company has 20 projects in the region and over 435 projects worldwide with a few more under construction, adding that the growing appetite to adopt such technologies can be attributed to three main factors.

The first driving force, Dr Al-Nimry highlighted, is related to cost. “Energy prices are going up to reflect true price,” he said. “People can no longer afford to ignore cost of power.” As such, he said, the industry is increasingly looking for ways to reduce operational costs. “With our HVAC design, we can expect a reduction in energy consumption 25-35% or more.” Secondly, he said, people are increasingly aware of the health and discomfort of being indoors for extended periods. Providing an example of growing awareness on the impact of indoor environmental quality, Dr Al-Nimry said that in one university project in Canada, staff were asked to gauge their level of comfort following the implementation of the system. A university staff member mentioned that the university is the only place where her allergy does not act out, which is why she is always early at work and late to leave, he explained. At another project, this time at a school in Dubai, Dr Al-Nimry said one of the KG teachers noted a few months into the school term that she has not had a single lost day for the children from colds and the flu since the start of the term. “Moreover, the staff at the school stated that the air quality in our areas was better and seems fresher than conventional air conditioners,” he said. “We don’t recirculate air internally, and because thermal storage reduces energy significantly, we require far less air volume for cooling and so can increase the proportion of fresh air, from the standard 10-20% to 35-50%, which is far healthier and more comfortable”.

Lastly, Dr Al Nimry pointed out that younger generations are more aware of the impact on the environment. “For us, this is the golden time as this growing awareness by the younger generations is what will drive true progress in tackling climate change,” he said pointing out that concerns related to finance, health and the environment will pave the way for adoption of TES. However, Dr Al Nimry said that while appreciation for TES will continue to grow, it is important to raise awareness in the industry to ensure people are aware of the value of integrating such systems, in view of the unfolding sustainability and energy efficiency narrative.

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