RAS AL KHAIMAH, UAE, 20 November 2019: Ras Al Khaimah Municipality has made great progress in meeting its overarching energy efficiency and sustainability targets, said Eyad Ismail, Group Director of Engineering, Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ), who discussed the Municipality’s proactive efforts to foster collaboration among public and private entities in its move to meet the objectives of the Ras Al Khaimah Energy Efficiency and Renewables Strategy 2040. In support of this initiative, Ismail said RAKEZ is currently overseeing the construction of the first industrial facility and labour accommodation within the emirate that comply with Barjeel, RAK’s Green Building Regulations. “Both of these projects are the first of the type that are Barjeel-compliant,” he said, adding that the industrial facility is already under construction, while the labour accommodation is still undergoing the tendering process.
Ismail said that RAKEZ invested in the projects despite the fact that Barjeel is still currently in the voluntary phase. The economic zone did so to showcase its support towards the environmental objectives of RAK Municipality. “We have an energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability commitment towards the future generation, as well as the local community and as part of the UAE vision,” Ismail said. “We are part of the energy efficiency committee and effectively are participating and implementing the strategy and vision of the RAK government.”
Ismail also highlighted other projects in RAKEZ, including retrofitting projects that were recently undertaken, which have led to 38.5% energy savings in the buildings, making them one of the highest-performing projects in the region. Ismail said the move towards Barjeel-compliant projects is a natural step to develop a more sustainable and energy-efficient building stock that will ideally integrate renewables and minimise reliance on fossil fuels and other traditional energy sources.
Ismail added that the active collaboration between RAKEZ and RAK Municipality also showcases how there is an economic case for environmental initiatives directed towards the building stock, especially if the objectives towards sustainability are clarified from the onset – during the design stages of the project. “The cost implication for Barjeel adoption was minimal,” he said. “We are talking about five per cent of construction only or less, because our requirements and the Barjeel requirements go together.” These requirements, Ismail said, include provision of photovoltaics, tight building envelops and high-quality products.
Ismail commended the support offered by RAK Municipality’s technical team in the venture. “If we needed any clarifications, they were supportive, and this is where we are leading at RAK,” he said. “All the authorities – we all cooperate.” This cohesive approach, Ismail said, contributes to the strong progress made within RAK, as entities do not operate in silos. “Our leadership is on the ground and finding and giving us all the support, and this is essential,” he said.
Ismail also said that the culture of collaboration in RAK also includes looking at and learning from best practices abroad, highlighting RAKEZ and RAK Municipality’s recent participation in an exclusive seminar for Green Buildings/Retrofit/District Cooling, organised by The Trade Council of Denmark in MENA. During the keynote presentations, Ismail said RAKEZ and RAK presented achievements in the Green Building Regulations and Building Retrofits programmes under the Ras Al Khaimah Energy Efficiency and Renewables Strategy. Such collaborations, he said, are essential for both entities to share experiences, thoughts and ideas to move the dial in climate change-mitigation efforts.