COM­MENT

En­ergy man­age­ment is ‘heat­ing’ up across the UAE’s busi­ness land­scape

MEP Middle East - - FRONT PAGE - The au­thor is Easa F. Al Gurg, who is the CEO of Scien­tech­nic — the flag­ship com­pany of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group.

Man­u­fac­tur­ing and in­dus­trial sec­tors have been tra­di­tional lead­ers in en­ergy man­age­ment strate­gies. To­day, small to medium en­ter­prises (SMEs) across sev­eral in­dus­try ver­ti­cals are turn­ing their at­ten­tion to­wards im­ple­ment­ing en­ergy man­age­ment prac­tices. A joint ef­fort is be­ing made to­wards con­trol­ling and re­duc­ing en­ergy con­sump­tion with­out com­pro­mis­ing the de­mands of the so­ci­ety. The aim is to op­ti­mise en­ergy use, save costs and re­duce car­bon foot­print. While the spe­cific re­quire­ments and prac­tices dif­fer de­pend­ing on the sec­tor, cer­tain core prin­ci­ples ap­ply to all users and in­volve the fol­low­ing steps: Col­lect­ing data and me­ter­ing en­ergy con­sump­tion; Iden­ti­fy­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to save en­ergy; Tak­ing ac­tion to save en­ergy; and Track­ing the progress and on­go­ing im­prove­ment, on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

En­ergy ef­fi­ciency, also known as the ‘in­vis­i­ble fuel’ of pro­duc­tion is a chal­lenge in the UAE as a re­sult of pop­u­la­tion growth, in­creased eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and high con­sump­tion rates. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port by PriceWaterhouse Coop­ers (PwC), en­ergy us­age in the UAE has in­creased by an av­er­age of 4 per cent an­nu­ally over the past six years. It is pro­jected to grow by 5 per cent per year for the next two years through Expo 2020. To ad­dress this chal­lenge, the UAE gov­ern­ment launched the ‘En­ergy Strat­egy 2050’ which aims to in­crease the con­tri­bu­tion of clean en­ergy in the to­tal en­ergy mix from 25% to 50%; re­duce the coun­try’s car­bon foot­print of power gen­er­a­tion by 70%, thus sav­ing AED700bn by 2050. The ob­jec­tive be­ing of fos­ter­ing a cul­ture of more re­spon­si­ble and ef­fi­cient con­sump­tion amongst busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als alike.

Eti­had ESCO, a DEWA ven­ture was es­tab­lished in 2013 with the aim to cre­ate an en­ergy per­for­mance con­tract­ing mar­ket in Dubai by de­vel­op­ing en­ergy ef­fi­cient projects tar­get­ing more than 30,000 build­ings. Its vi­sion is to make Dubai a global model of green econ­omy tran­si­tion through part­ner­ship, lead­er­ship and adop­tion of en­ergy ef­fi­ciency tech­nolo­gies. The ven­tures’ end goal is to make Dubai one of the most sus­tain­able ci­ties in the world.

Cap­i­talise on emerg­ing technology

Projects that use en­ergy ef­fi­ciency meth­ods can re­duce green­house gas emis­sions by re­duc­ing con­sump­tion of elec­tric­ity and nat­u­ral gas. With tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ments shap­ing how day-to-day op­er­a­tions are con­ducted, de­vel­op­ers and fa­cil­ity man­age­ment com­pa­nies are adopt­ing en­ergy man­age­ment meth­ods to cre­ate green, en­ergy-ef­fi­cient of­fices and apart­ments.

The blue­print for this in­volves small changes which are ef­fec­tive and easy to im­ple­ment. For ex­am­ple, retrofitting tra­di­tional light bulbs with mod­ern LED light­ing lamps and lu­mi­naires which re­sults in over­all im­prove­ment of en­ergy ef­fi­ciency by 60-75%, gen­er­ates less heat and also has a great Colour Ren­der­ing In­dex (CRI).

Op­ti­mis­ing the out­put of the HVAC sys­tems also helps re­duce en­ergy bills. HVAC sys­tems im­ple­ment smart ther­mostats that are au­to­mated and re­spon­si­ble for con­trolled heat­ing and/ or air con­di­tion­ing. Smart ther­mostats use the in­ter­net and en­ables users to ac­cess their heat­ing/cool­ing re­motely and pro­gram tem­per­a­tures in homes and of­fices, based on their us­age habits and sched­ule. Main­te­nance re­minders can also be set. Other fea­tures that help con­sumers track and an­a­lyse their en­ergy us­age make smart ther­mostats a pop­u­lar choice amongst builders and de­vel­op­ers world­wide.

The con­ve­nient and easy to use smart ther­mostats also pro­vide real-time in­for­ma­tion to the chiller sys­tem. The use of vari­able fre­quency drives (VFD) in air han­dling units and chill wa­ter pumps of any chiller sys­tem can re­duce power con­sump­tion by 30%. Based on feed­back re­ceived from a smart ther­mo­stat, a VFD can vary the fre­quency and volt­age of power sup­ply to drive the elec­tric mo­tor of the sys­tem.

In­vest to make sav­ings

In­vest­ment in en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly tech­niques when fit­ting out a new build­ing or retrofitting an old build­ing may seem like a costly prac­tice. How­ever, com­pa­nies that do in­vest will wit­ness sig­nif­i­cant long term fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits, as re­duc­tion in en­ergy costs will out­weigh the ini­tial in­vest­ment and lead to per­ma­nent sav­ings. A quick and easy way to learn how you can make an of­fice more eco-friendly is by en­gag­ing en­ergy au­di­tors who will assess and ad­vise on ef­fi­cient tac­tics and tech­nolo­gies to re­duce con­sump­tion as well as over­all costs.

For decades, the abun­dance of eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble hy­dro­car­bon re­sources meant that en­ergy ef­fi­ciency was not a press­ing topic in the UAE. To­day, sus­tain­abil­ity is a crit­i­cal is­sue. Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics, it is main­tained that in the near fu­ture, en­ergy con­ver­sion sys­tems based on fos­sil fu­els will re­duce by 80% in favour of re­new­able en­ergy, around the world. How­ever, this is a slow progress com­pared to what is needed now to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce car­bon emis­sions. The time is ripe for busi­nesses to act re­spon­si­bly and con­serve en­ergy to re­duce ex­penses while also safe­guard­ing re­sources for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

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