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Unraveling what sustainability means for every stakeholder

In an upcoming webinar, Consistent Engineering Consultants aims to challenge misconceptions related to sustainability and to highlight the role of each and every stakeholder when it comes to improving the built-environment

| | Aug 27, 2020 | 7:24 pm
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“We want to unravel what sustainability means for every stakeholder,” said Sagar Kulkarni, Founder and Managing Director, Consistent Engineering Consultants, in reference to an upcoming three-part webinar series the company is organising. The first part of the webinar series, titled ‘Securing Sustainable Futures – Adopting the SDGs in Construction, Business and Beyond’, will be on 31 August from 2.30pm to 4pm (Gulf Standard time).

Kulkarni, who will serve as the host of the webinar, said that a key objective of the event is to challenge market misconceptions and traditional concepts related to sustainability, in a bid to promote greater collaboration and cooperation among industry stakeholders.  “It is presumed that sustainability is about green buildings, renewable energy and simply replacing old equipment with new and efficient ones,” he said, “but sustainability is a holistic concept.” He added that identifying the important role that building professionals play in this regard is vital to ensuring that actions are in line with UN SDGs 6, 7 11, 12 and 13 – all of which contribute to the construction sector.

Rahul Shetty, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Consistent Engineering Consultants, and webinar chair, said the virtual gathering would also highlight how the existing building stock is key to unlocking regional sustainability goals. “More than 75% of buildings constitute existing structures,” he said. “When we talk about sustainability, we have to ask ourselves, ‘How do we go about achieving better efficiency for existing buildings?’” Indeed, considering much equipment in the buildings today was installed decades ago, there is massive scope for improvement that should merit greater discussion, for a more integrated approach towards energy efficiency.

The role of government bodies in driving sustainable development can hardly be overstated, and one such body is the Ras Al Khaimah Municipality. Henrique Pereira, Senior Manager – Energy Services, Energy Efficiency and Renewables Office (Reem), Ras Al Khaimah Municipality, will be addressing the initiatives that Ras Al Khaimah is taking in the field of energy efficiency, during the webinar. Addressing those interested in contributing towards sustainability, Pereira said, “Join me to learn more about how the RAK Energy Efficiency and Renewables Strategy 2040 is contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

On a national level, too, governments have already set specific goals that should serve as a guiding principle for the industry, evidenced by UAE’s target to increase consumption efficiency of individuals and corporations by up to 40% by 2050, in addition to initiatives towards solar power and CSPs. As Shetty remarked, “It’s all coming together from the government point of view, but as stakeholders we need to ask how we can improve the efficiency of existing buildings through methodologies.” He pointed out that this could come in many forms from the replacement of windows with better U-values to optimising energy-storage technologies.

The webinar will showcase the requirement for detailed engineering going beyond surface-level solutions through case studies, such as an office building, where Consistent managed to achieve a 24% reduction in cooling load.

Of course, energy conservation and efficiency measures need to be implemented at any level by considering the entire lifecycle of built-environments. Saravanan D, Senior Sustainability Specialist, ENOC, explained that his focus during the webinar will be on the importance of LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) or Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) to evaluate multiple designs or retrofits and to find out the optimal, economical solution.

The webinar is also slated to touch on the difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency, which has been used in a rather interchangeable manner over the years. Kulkarni said that elaborating on the nuances of such terminologies would help stakeholders have a clearer grasp of the fundamental role they play in the sustainability narrative within the GCC region. “When you talk about energy conservation of simple ACs, the operators, end users and facility managers play a part in that,” he said. “When we talk about developing energy-efficient buildings, the developer and owners come into the picture. When it comes to sustainable energy, the service provider and owner play a role; when it comes to installation, the third-party engineers will come into the picture, and when it comes to global and national goals, authorities will enter the discussion. Sustainability pertains to the whole sector.”

Adding a new dimension to the discussion will be Deepthy KB, Regional Director – Middle East, Green Business Certification Inc. “We will discuss how sustainability can be integrated into new and existing assets from macro to micro level, from spaces to buildings, cities and communities,” she said.

The Webinar will also provide delegates with the opportunity to ask questions to the panel, during a special Q&A session.

Register for the first leg of the Webinar by clicking on the following link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4m0T69fHSaOCF8g7htbc2Q




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