ISSUE 14 | AUGUST 2011
TOUCH WOOD! Why you can and should trust in timber
Energy and water Construction Green IT Eco-leisure Green business
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32 GREEN IT
Aldar reaches pearl standard
Going green in the UAE. BGreen approves!
If our special feature is timber. Guess what our green gadgets are made of?
BGreen explores the business of recycling electronics
ENERGY AND WATER
Energy saving tips from ESIA’s chairman
Ocean-based energy sources are causing a stir. BGreen reports
BGreen explores cradle to cradle design
Green hospitals? Yes, indeed. BGreen explores this rising trend in healthcare
BGreen and Masdar City bring you a review of Desso’s Airmaster
BGreen takes you to the UAE’s luxurious Al Maha eco-resort
Greenpeace takes on sports giants Nike and adidas and tells them to DETOX
Green trading is now in the Middle East. BGreen tells you where
Interior eco-design options revealed
The timber industry is analysed and BGreen reveals why you can trust in timber
GE Lighting unveils its distribution centre offering energy-saving light solutions
Green trust issues
hen it comes to green products, there is always a certain element of mistrust. Some comes from the industry’s reputation of being fraught with green washing, some from the fact that it’s hard to call a product truly green. After all, all things leave a footprint on our planet just by existing. Still, if you examine things long enough, the fog begins to lift and you find your way to products that help our planet’s green evolution. This month, we examine timber and why, if done right, the timber industry not only helps preserve our forests but also remove CO2 from our environment. We explore timber investments that not only guarantee impressive returns but are also ecological and socially ethical. We also reveal theories on the “Great Reversal” and take
on the great emerging timber debate; to certify or not to certify. Next, we look at two sources of power that come from our vast oceans; wave and tidal. We introduce cradle to cradle design, take a look at the emerging trend of green hospitals and reveal electronics recycling. We bring you some earthy green gadgets, in line with our timber theme, and visit a luxurious eco-resort right in the UAE. Finally, like every month, we give our stamp of approval to the greenest ventures in the emirate and bring you our green spy’s passionate opinions as well as a brand new feature New & Improved. And that’s not all, but you’ll have to see the rest for yourself. We promise it’s all good stuff. Trust us.
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Aldar reaches pearl standard Real estate development company is first developer with Estidama approval from UPC Aldar has become the first developer to receive Estidama Pearl Design Rating approval from the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC). The property developer met the Estidama criteria with Yas Island Water Park an entertainment complex in downtown Abu Dhabi, Yas Mall, a retail centre and Al Bateen Park, mixed use development, which were all in line with Abu Dhabi’s 2030 vision to create a cohesive, contemporary and sustainable urban city. Abu Dhabi Yas Mall has received a two pearl Estidama rating while Al Bateen and Yas Water Park were awarded a one pearl
Estidama Rating for their design. “We are proud of this recognition. It shows how important design is to creating the right environment that works for the long term ambitions of Vision 2030. Under UPC guidance and support, Aldar is progressing the principles and imperatives for sustainable development and we look forward to pursuing the same direction for all of our upcoming projects,” Sami Asad, chief executive Aldar Properties. The Estidama Pearl Ratings System originally established by the UPC in 2009 assesses the sustainability performance of buildings, communities and villas.
Qatar developers appoints green team
Msheireb Properties appoints LEED consultants
Msheireb Properties has announced the appointment of Interface Engineering and Green Building Services Inc. as a site-wide leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) consultant for the world’s first sustainable regeneration project in downtown Doha. Selected for its commitment to sustainable practices the team will act as a commissioning authority to meet the governing body’s requirements for all buildings as well as district cooling plants and is expected to develop a site-wide framework to implement individual building strategies with architects for all buildings to achieve certification. Collectively the organisation has certified 352 LEED buildings of all building types
Qatar is looking into sustainable construction practices.
around the world with another 275 LEED registered projects under development. “Sustainable development is a long-term
“Creating developments in a sustainable way is fundamental to Vision 2030. Day after day, Estidama is gaining strong momentum with more developers committing to its interdisciplinary approach and sustainability guidelines,” His excellency Falah Mohamed Al Ahbabi, general manager of Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council. “I would like to congratulate Aldar for demonstrating such a commitment to sustainable development that asserts its strategic position as an active proponent of our initiative and a true partner in progress,” Al Ahbabi added.
investment in our nation’s future and reflects Qatar’s Vision 2030. This appointment will ensure our development meets the highest environmental design standards,” Eng. Issa M. Al Mohannadi, CEO Msheireb Properties, said. “Sustainable buildings, such as those that qualify for LEED certification, consume fewer resources, generate less waste, cost less to operate and provide healthier living and working environments for everyone both indoors and out. The regeneration of downtown Doha through the Msheireb project will benefit the environment and all of its citizens for years to come.” Formerly called Dohaland, the Msheireb project involves the transformation of a 31-hectare mixed-use site at the centre of Qatar’s capital city and will aim to achieve an average LEED Gold rating, with several buildings targeting LEED Platinum with one of the highest concentrations of the internationally certified buildings system in the world.
Dubai authorities get animated The Dubai electricity and water authority developed an integrated communication campaign to encourage residents to ration their utility usage after the highest summer resource consumption levels in the last few years. The initiative which was launched by DEWA and the Dubai government promotes and raises awareness on the importance of conserving natural resources and educates residents on reducing their utility consumption and unnecessary electricity and water wastage. The campaign will take place during the peak load months of July and August when resource demand is at its highest between 12.00 noon and 5.00 pm and is set to get the critical environmental messages across to consumers through the use of animated household appliances.
DEWA’s Peak Load campaign.
“In DEWA we adopt a strategy that aims to reach all society segments in the emirate, to
First green flight takes off from Abu Dhabi Etihad Airways trying to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint The first “green flight” took off from Abu Dhabi airport heading to Sydney on July 16 2011. Etihad Airways EY450 Green is part of the carrier’s plans to accelerate the development and implementations of operational procedures that will reduce the carbon footprint of the airline industry.
Fries for fuel: McDonald’s UAE launches first Middle East biodiesel project Company plans to use biodiesel made from its leftover vegetable oil to power its fleet McDonald’s has announced its UAE trucks will now run on fuel made from oil used to cook its Big Macs and fries. The biodiesel will be converted by Dubaibased company Neutral Fuels, a UAE-backed venture with clean-tech firm The Neutral Group which operates the Middle East’s first commercial biodiesel factory. The initiative is part of Dubai’s green schemes and is a team effort that also incorporates Dubai FDI, the foreign investment promotion arm of the Department of Economic Development. This collaboration would see 20,000 litres of waste oil from McDonald’s 90 UAE restaurants collected every month and recycled into biofuel to run the fast food chain’s ten truck fleet. McDonald’s already fuels its vehicles in England and Austria with converted biofuel. Dubai FDI chief executive Fahad Al Gergawi said using biodiesel in the UAE would cut carbon emissions by up to 65%.
The project is a collaboration between the Department of Transport (DoT), Etihad and Abu Dhabi Airports Company, supported by the Indian Ocean Strategic Partnership to Reduce Emissions (Inspire). Executive director of the DoT Mohammed Hareb Al Yousef said: “The Inspire partnership helps airline companies in their quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, an initiative that is also in synergy with fulfilling the UAE’s vision for sustainable aviation.” James Hogan, the chief executive of Etihad, highlighted the role of advanced technology in developing eco-friendly flights. He said: “By allowing airlines to plan their routes based on aircraft capabilities, for example by taking advantage of prevailing jetstreams, the savings in terms of emissions and fuel would be enormous.”
increase the awareness of environmental issues and safeguard planet Earth. During the last few years we have witnessed the highest consumption levels of water and electricity during the summer months’ peak hours,” HE Saeed Al Tayer, managing director and chief executive officer of DEWA said. “This encouraged us to adopt the idea of reducing consumption during the peak load and give a break to the household appliances and daily chores during this time. Our customers consistently participate in safeguarding the utility system’s efficiency and help build a greener, safer world for future generations,” HE Al Tayer added. The Peak Load campaign will be shown across Dubai in July using multiple mediums, including television, print and digital applications.
DEWA joins the emirate’s government to launch an animation campaign to encourage residents to curb their electricity and water consumption
Really? BGreen presents some of the world’s most surprising green news NEWS
The green kilometre An Italian physiology study finds travelling by foot can be less green than driving Hybrid cars are more eco-friendly than at least one form of human movement, according to a recent study. Alberto E. Minetti, professor of Physiology University of Milan and his master’s student Gaspare Pavei, compared the CO2 emissions of four men walking, running and biking with those of a hybrid vehicle carrying the same men. The scientists found the men released more CO2 by jogging than travelling by car due to their lower body mass. “So far, only ‘four men running’ have been beaten by car technology. Since the world record of economy, obtained with prototypes, is about 4800 km travelled with 1 litre of petrol, I am sure that there is room for improvements. It is possible that in 10
Jellyfish invasion at Scottish nuclear plant shuts down reactors
Scientists warn phenomenon could grow more common
Masses of jellyfish obstructing water filters succeeded in shutting down two reactors at Britain’s largest nuclear power operator EDF Energy Torness, a feat that would make most environmental activists proud. Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation explained that nuclear power plants draw water from nearby seas or rivers to cool down their reactors. If the filters meant to keep out marine animals and seaweed get clogged, the station will shut down to maintain temperature and safety standards. The office added that power plants follow
a pre-planned programme when these situations occur. “We are working to clear the jellyfish from the waters near the power station. This work, as well as monitoring the area for more jellyfish, is ongoing,” a spokesman for EDF Energy said. Although jellyfish obstructing nuclear plants is a rare occurrence in Britain, scientists have warned that increasing fishing activity and global warming are giving jellyfish populations a boost that could make jellyfish invasions at plants located near the open sea more common.
years time the value for four walkers will be reached by vehicle technology,” Minetti said. The study confirmed the series of calculations including ‘the energy cost of running’, which is the amount of carbohydrates and lipids spent to travel a unit distance (1 km, or 100 km) and showed that the four running men emitted more CO2 at 100 gCO2 per km than the hybrid car at around 95 gCO2 per km. Minetti, who has been studying the metabolic energy needs of humans for the last 30 years, asserted the same results are not produced when comparing cars and pedestrians with four walkers releasing 50 gCO2 per km and four cyclists emitting 25 gCO2 per km.
Going green in the UAE
Everywhere you turn it seems everyone is going green and we could not be happier. BGreen spreads the good news, the joy and gives our seal of approval.
Dubai-based initiative takes on plastic waste! Tired of plastic waste? Then, you’ll love this initiative. The PlasticNotSoFantastic Expedition (PNSF Expedition) is an expedition that will circumvent the globe through more than 50 countries and over 6 continents, to promote awareness of the consequences of plastic pollution. “The PNSF Expedition does not advocate the complete abolition of plastic products; however it condemns the irresponsible consumption and disposal of single use plastics,” says PNSF’s brochure and we could not agree more. The expedition is supported and endorsed by the Plastic Pollution Coalition, the Emirates Marine Environmental Group and the Emirates Environmental Group. Want to get involved? Visit www.pnfsexpedition.com
A capital’s attempts to manage waste With about 4.7 million tonnes of waste a year, Abu Dhabi ranks among the top five waste producers per capita in the world. Luckily, the Centre for Waste Management (CWM) is trying to cut those numbers by 80% before 2018. The centre has launched Nadafa, an initiative that monitors and controls all wasterelated activities in the emirate. The programme’s first major project? A tariff of AED 225 a tonne on businesses that dump, launched this year. Nadafa’s technical advisor Jamal Jeetawy said: “This is a clear incentive to all business activities because this affects the bottom line. Since this has been in place, we have seen a spike in recycling and we’ve seen movement in investment in the recycling sector.” CWM estimates the emirate has lost about 1800 hectares to landfill.
Clothes from plastic bottles
So what do you do with all that plastic waste? DGRADE has one solution. This brand based company provides high quality, eco-friendly products made from recycled plastic bottles. Better yet, all their merchandise is produced in modern factories with strict fair trade policies. Their collections are made using recycled post consumer plastic bottles, a process that has been pioneered by a UK company that involves spinning yarns with thread extruded from thousands of recycled plastic bottles and knitting them into fabric. Contact them at (+ 971 4) 451 1496 or visit them at www.dgradeclothing.com
Abu Dhabi tries recycling again After an initiative that failed two years ago, Abu Dhabi is giving widescale recycling another go! The capital has hired two firms, Averda and Lavajet, to continue a programme of underground waste bins. It is expected that by autumn, residents in villa compounds will have their own recycling bins for plastic, glass, metal and paper. We know that the third time is a charm but in this case, we’re really hoping that two tries will do it!
Green Environmentally Friendly ConstructionTechnology That will help to earn:
Pearl of Estidama 27 LEED points Saves:
50% of Energy 50% of construction time 10% in cost savings
Around the world
A look at some of last month’s wackier stories emerging from the world’s ‘green’ industries
UK BADGERS RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! UK’s environment secretary announced she was ‘strongly minded’ to allow farmers to shoot badgers in a controlled fashion in order to bring down the rates of tuberculosis infections in cattle. The secretary added that two pilots would take place to confirm that the controlled shooting would be humane and effective, and that the government would consult on licensing. Animal campaigners reacted furiously, threatening to mount a legal challenge. to the plans.
US STUDY PROMOTES ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY MEAT AND DAIRYFREE DIET US non-profit organization the Environmental Working Group released a study into the carbon footprint of meat and dairy. The “Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change and Health” calculates the environmental impact of meat and dairy production in the US, taking into account emissions from the consumption and disposal as well as production of these products. The study concluded that if every person in the US stopped eating items from these food groups for one day a week for one year, the resulting reduction in emissions would be equivalent to removing 7.6 million cars from the roads.
DENMARK COUNCIL REJECTS BETTER PLACE A municipal council in Frederiksberg, Denmark rejected electric vehicle chargers from US EV company Better Place because they are not the right colour. Better Place’s blue and gray electric vehicles can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions but Frederiksberg’s rule dictates that all outdoor equipment must be green. Better Place said its electric vehicle chargers are mass-produced for an international audience and can therefore not be produced in different colours for every country.
GERMANY’S PARLIAMENT GIVES PORSCHES AND SUVS GREEN RATING Germany’s upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, approved new carbon labeling rules for cars that rate vehicles according to their ratio of weight to carbon dioxide emissions per kilometre. Environmental groups protested vividly stating the new rules were drafted to favour domestic carmakers such as BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen and Porsche. According to Brussels-based environmental group Transport & Environment, under the scheme, the Porsche Cayenne, a sport vehicle with CO2 emissions of about 190 g/km, qualifies for the same label as the Citroen C3, which emits only around 100 g/km.
Solutions to fend against rising utility bills
the highest levels of water and electricity consumption in the world. Per capita, UAE residents use 550 litres of water each day. This is the equivalent of every resident consuming more 1,000 small 500ml water bottles every day. So what can you do to reduce your water and electricity consumption? There are simple steps like taking shorter showers and turning off the air conditioning before leaving the house. Beyond that, there are a handful of long-term changes that you can bring to your apartment or villa that will result in major energy (and economic) savings. Here are four easy steps: Turn your refrigerator down. Refrigerators account for about 20 per cent of household electricity use. Most refrigerator temperature settings are labeled 1-5 or 1-9, with freezers sometimes labeled A-E. The best setting is usually around 3 and 4. If your settings are letters A-E, then B or C should be suitable. Your freezer should be at zero. These adjustments will not only cut down on your electricity usage, they also help prevent the growth of bacteria and keep your food from spoiling. Another good option is to phase out conventional light bulbs with energyefficient compact fluorescent bulbs. Although they cost more, they save money in the long run by using only a quarter the energy of an ordinary incandescent bulb and last eight to 12 times longer. They provide an equivalent amount of bright, attractive light. Only 10 per cent of the energy consumed by a normal light bulb generates light; the rest
just makes the bulb heat up. And the last thing we need in Dubai is more heat. For those who have a garden, there are simple ways to cut down on water and electricity usage. Other than installing an irrigation system instead of manually watering your grass, you should consider planting desert-friendly trees that provide good shade. One example is the everpresent date palm. Another option is the Afghan pine, a relatively fast-growing tree that can reach 20 metres high and
10 metres wide, while requiring very little water. Reductions in energy use resulting from shade trees will save money and, as an added bonus, your tree will directly absorb about 12 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the air annually. By adopting these measures you would be taking a big step towards lowering your monthly utility bill. It’s worth remembering that whenever you save energy, you also reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, which is the primary cause of global warming. So by cutting down on your consumption, you are not only helping your bank account but also Mother Nature.
his month, residents of Dubai will notice something special on their utility bills: a summer surcharge. For the first time, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) will be charging residents an extra fuel surcharge, displayed separately, that will change based on the authority’s power generation costs, currently set at 7 fills per kilowatt hour (kWh). This means that consumers will be charged more during peak hours in the summer time when the cost of production is at its highest. In its defense, DEWA had no other choice. It has to rely on imported fuel for much of the electricity it produces. Unlike Abu Dhabi, Dubai has no significant oil or gas reserves to rely on for power generation. Dubai’s total oil production is equivalent to roughly 2 per cent of that of Abu Dhabi. So as consumption goes up, so does DEWA’s fuel import bill. And despite the global economic downturn, power and water usage in Dubai has not slowed down. Last summer, electricity demand in Dubai was 9.6 per cent higher than in the summer of 2009, with water demand jumping 5.9 per cent during the same period. The trend is expected to continue, with DEWA suggesting that electricity demand in the emirate will rise by a compounded annual rate of 7 per cent until 2020. More demand means more imports. Rather than burden the state coffers with more debt, Dubai’s Supreme Council of Energy, under the astute leadership of its CEO, Nejib Zaafrani, made the sensible decision to share the burden with end-users. At first sight, this may seem unfair. But is it? Even with the new pricing structure, Dubai’s residential utility rates are still ranked below those of Britain, the United States, France, Germany or Japan. So by international standards, water and electricity in Dubai are still cheap. Not surprisingly, Dubai has some of
ENERGY AND WATER
As a resolution authorising Dubai Electricity and Water Authority to levy fuel surcharge upon consumers with their monthly utility bills, chairman of the Emirates Solar Industry Association Vahid Fotuhi gives money-saving energy and water tips
ENERGY AND WATER
Poseidon’s power Oceanic power is on the rise. BGreen explores this growing trend in renewable energy and its potential application in the Middle East
f 0.1% of the renewable energy available within the oceans could be converted into electricity it would satisfy the present world demand for energy more than five times over.” UK Marine Foresight Panel, 2000. At first sight ocean energy, wave and tidal, seems heaven-sent. Studies so far have shown that the sustainable marine power source does not emit CO2, SO2 or NOx and its energy capacity is colossal. Greenpeace senior legislative representative Kyle Ash says:”According to academics, the world’s oceans produce 90,000 TW of power. Globally we consume 20TW of power. So even a tiny fraction of ocean power could supply all the world’s electricity needs.” According to the European Ocean Energy Association, ocean energy generation can replace fossil fuelbased power plants in the peak to medium scale baseload, resulting in a dramatic reduction of pollution. The European ocean energy roadmap, published in 2009 to map out the potential development of ocean energy up to 2020 and beyond to 2050, states that 300 kg of CO2 could be avoided for each MWh generated by ocean energy. As the trend gains popularity, oceanic power experts have been praising the advantages of both wave and tidal power. Project development manager at Scotland’s wave power company Pelamis Wave Laura Carse says: “First, the market is massive. According to the World Energy Council, global estimates of wave power resource indicate a practicable utilisable resource equivalent to 2000 TWh/year. Secondly, wave power is a very concentrated form of wind energy, because it has often travelled over large distances, it is regularly out of phase with local wind conditions, helping it balance
Pelamis Wave’s wave power technology: the ‘P2’.
out variability from other renewable sources. Finally, wave energy could play a major part in the world’s efforts to combat climate change, potentially displacing 1 – 2 billion tonnes of CO2 per annum from conventional fossil fuel generating sources“. Neil Davidson, public affairs manager at Scotland’s wave energy technology company Aquamarine Power, says: “In some ways, wave power is more predictable than many other forms of renewable energy because waves are generated by weather systems far out at sea. As such, it’s a great medium to complement other forms of renewables such as wind.” Davidson explains: “Although wind and waves are not exactly countercyclical they not do necessarily peak at the same time. The waves you see on the shore were created from weather patterns elsewhere days ago. As such you can have these two sources of energy working together to complement each other.” Technical director for the UK-based tidal energy company Marine Current Turbines (MCT) Peter Fraenkel says:
Wave power is sustainable.
“The key advantage of tidal generation is that it is entirely predictable because it harnesses the energy of tidal flows, which we can predict with accuracy years in advance. Many other renewable energy generation sources are not predictable and require back-up from fossil fuel plants to balance the intermittency of supply. Tidal generation does not require any back-up.” In may 2008, MCT developed and installed SeaGen in Strangford Narrows, Northern Ireland. According to MCT, SeaGen is the world’s first and, so far, only commercial-scale tidal turbine. SeaGen’s technology works in principle much like an underwater windmill but driven by the much denser medium of
“The world’s oceans produce 90,000 TW of power. Globally we consume 20TW of power.”
10 facts about wave power •
Since waves are created by the energy from wind as it blows over the surface of the water, wave energy is essentially stored concentrated wind energy. Wave energy can be converted into electricity and power through both offshore and onshore systems.
Once a wave power station is constructed, the energy is free, requires no fuel inputs and produces no waste or pollution.
The first wave energy converter device that was successful in producing energy from waves is the Polaris made in Scotland.
ENERGY AND WATER
Wave power systems can be placed in deep water (more than 130 feet).
Wave power can be portable, employing floating platforms that create electricity by funnelling waves through internal turbines and releasing the water back into the sea.
Sea water is more than 850 times denser than air at sea level, meaning that wave power installations can produce a lot of power with only a small amount of equipment and real estate.
According to the Cleantech Group, worldwide venture capital investments
with plans to source more and more energy from renewables, energy experts seem to agree on one thing: oceanic power is a great way to complement the future energy grid. Davidson says: “Wave power is a great contribution to the global energy mix and best of all it’s a clean one. Aquamarine Power technology even uses fresh water as hydraulic fluid.” Carse also claims Pelamis Wave’s technology is ecofriendly. She says: “We are undergoing extensive testing and continue regular evaluations on the
environmental impacts of our products. There are positive indications that wave power is environmentally benign.” Green peace’s Ash agrees that oceanic power so far has been revealed to be a clean source of energy. He says: “Authorities in the US are now starting to put resources to study the overall environmental impact of wave power. However, at the moment, based on European studies, it seems there are minimal to no negative environmental effects.” However, oceanic power, just
in ocean power companies rose from US $8 million in 2005 to $82 million in 2008. •
Waves might look like they move in one single movement and direction, but in actuality their water molecules move in an elliptical pattern. This circular pattern is where we get wave energy from.
Wave energy system planners can choose sites that preserve scenic shorefronts. They can also avoid areas where wave energy systems can significantly alter the flow patterns of sediment on the ocean floor.
flowing sea water, with the added further advantage of the predictability of the tides. The project has so far been successful. SeaGen is rated at 1.2MW in a 2.4m/s current and is accredited by the UK electricity regulator, OFGEM, as an official UK power plant. It has consistently operated at its design power level achieving an average of over 10MWh electrical energy per tide delivered into the UK national grid. Potentially it is capable of over 6 million MWh per year at that location, says MCT. As the world pushes forward
10 facts about tidal power •
Some of the oldest ocean energy technologies used tidal power. Tide mills were found on the Spanish, French and British coasts as far back as 787 A.D.
ENERGY AND WATER
All coastal areas consistently experience two high and two low tides over a period slightly greater than 24 hours. For those tidal differences to be harnessed into electricity, the difference between high and low tides must be at least five metres.
• ABOVE: The Pelamis ‘P2’ on sea trials in the Firth of Forth, Scotland.
like most forms of renewables, comes with its own set of complications. MCT’s Fraenkel says: “As with all new forms of technology, tidal turbines are initially expensive and risky compared with the conventional technologies they need to compete with.” Indeed, all renewable technologies require support until they can achieve the economies of scale at which they become cost-competitive with the fossil-fuel burning technologies they need to replace. Fraenkel explains: “The sector needs adequate early-stage political and financial support as leverage to secure the vital private investment necessary to bring about commercialisation. This has been the case with all generation; present conventional technologies, including stream turbines, gas turbines, and nuclear power received major subsidies in their early stages of development. “The high levels of activity in the field of marine renewable energy, coupled with the positive rhetoric from politicians and government officials in recent months, give the impression that all is well with this sector in the UK. However, in reality, a viable market still needs to be created to bring about mass deployment of this new and developing technology,” adds Fraenkel.” Pelamis Wave’s Carse claims wave power’s issues are operational. She says: “At the moment, wave power has some technological barriers, but we are focusing on addressing them and we are advancing very fast. In only 13 years, we have already built six full scale machines and successfully secured commercial contracts with three major European utilities.” The Middle East, however, may not have to deal with these issues just yet. At least for MCT’s technology, there are virtually no
The upfront cost of tidal energy is very site specific, and influenced by geography, distance to grid, and the speed and volume of the currents.
Tidal power generation varies significantly during each day, but because it does so in a regular and
Tidal currents can be used as a renewable energy source.
locations in the region with strong enough currents to support the energy. Frankeal says: “Only one location, between Masira Island and the mainland of Oman in the Indian Ocean, could possibly host an MCT project. The reason is that the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf are virtually tideless and the only oceanic coast in the Middle East is the coast of Oman and Yemen.” However, Greenpeace’s Ash is more hopeful. He says: “Anywhere there are waves there can be wave energy development.” Pelamis Wave’s Carse agrees: “Currently there are more than 150 different technological concepts for wave energy generation. Each one has a different installation and visual impact, and occupies a different place in the ocean. There is the potential to develop different wave power generators to cater to various regions.” And wave power should definitely not be dismissed, argues Ash, both from an environmental and a financial perspective. “The technology could become cost effective within the next nine years. However, if you think of the detrimental external after-effects that coal has, such as increased healthcare costs and countless environmental issues that must be managed, wave power is very likely more cost-effective even now. Not to mention, it’s infinitely better for our planet,” concludes Ash.
predictable manner, it can be more easily integrated into a power grid and combined with other energy sources. •
Tidal power is the only form of energy which derives directly from the relative motions of the Earth–Moon system, and to a lesser extent from the Earth– Sun system.
The technology required to convert tidal energy into electricity is very similar to the technology used in traditional hydro-electric power plants; a dam, gates and turbines.
Tidal power can provide secondary benefits such as bridges and roads, which are built over tidal generators.
Tidal power generation installations must be carefully designed to avoid conflicts with marine transportation and to protect marine wildlife.
The world’s first commercial gridconnected tidal plant was opened in Hammerfest, Norway on November 13 2003.
The greatest advantage of tidal current energy is that it is completely predictable, free and sustainable.
Green child Trimo’s cradle to cradle assessment wheel.
hen German chemist Michael Braungart and American architect William McDonough wrote the manifesto style book ‘Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things’ in 2002 it inspired the concept that products should be conceived with the intention of recycling them after use. According to a UK study carried out for the Contract Flooring Association, about 600,000 tonnes of carpet is thrown out in the UK every year. One estimate suggests 2% of the landfill waste in developed countries consists of old carpeting. The millions of square feet
ABOVE: Trimo’s Paul Kinsey.
of carpets are often being thrown away every year simply because they look dated. Time Magazine calls the cradle-to-cradle suggestion for an endless healthy manufacturing circle “a unified philosophy that - in demonstrable and practical ways - is changing the design of the world”. Abu Dhabi property developer Aldar and international carpet manufacturer Desso continued the revolution in the Middle East by co-hosting a major event in the UAE
BGreen’s Christine Fashugba investigates just how company manufacturers are applying the nature oriented cradle-tocradle concept to their business practices in the Middle East
to raise environmental awareness among manufacturing companies, attended by “green sheikh” H.H. Sheikh Aziz Al Nuaimi. “By adopting the cradle-to-cradle philosophy which looks at the whole lifecycle of a product, we have voluntarily taken on a set of principles that take inspiration from nature itself. In the living environment, materials are constantly being transformed without losing their capacity as nutrients;
The cradle-tocradle concept is not something that you can simply attach yourself to. It must be a culture that permeates the entire business.” Trimo’s Qbiss one was used at the Porsche centre in Amsterdam.
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nothing is wasted and everything is re-used without losing value,” Andre Dulka Middle East and Asia sales manager Desso says. “As in nature, so can we do the same, using innovative supply chain management to use materials from one industry to support others, eliminating the concept of waste because all waste becomes tomorrow’s raw material or nutrients,” Dulka adds. By adopting cradle-to-cradle principles Desso management aims to ensure all the company’s products are made from positively identified components designed and manufactured to be disassembled to create new products. The standards will be used for all Desso products by 2020, circulating in closed loop metabolisms without being down-cycled or thrown away. Dulka says the move is a conscious effort to work with nature rather than against it. Management of Trimo, providers of original and complete solutions in façades, steel constructions, containers and soundproof systems has specifically developed the new bi-modular façade system Qbiss Air product with insulating properties per millimetre of thickness. The product does away with traditional mineral wool insulation in favour of CO2-filled chambers of gas using CO2, which have been captured from the manufacturing process. The entire façade is also 96% recyclable. Paul Kinsey director Trimo UAE prefabricated, container based buildings manufacture and supply company is keen to offer other manufacturers advice on how to adapt existing products to the cradle-tocradle philosophy. “The key is to open up to external scrutiny as only through independent audit and evaluation can any ‘environmental’ or ‘sustainable’ claim be valid and customers
can have true confidence about the sustainable credentials of products,” Kinsey says. “Trimo has gained Planet Positive status for its Qbiss products, which has meant having its entire manufacturing and sourcing process audited for their carbon footprint from the manufacture of the coated steel through to the delivery of the finished product. It then goes on to look at the impact of the product’s removal, breakdown and re-use at end of life and the environmental consequences. This is the way to look at true cradle-to-cradle product evaluation,” Kinsey adds. Dulka asserts despite a model of ecoefficiency having been adopted at the Earth Summit in 1992 which has guided much environmental thinking since, the concept still perpetuates a “take, make and waste” approach. However, since then eco-efficiency has advanced significantly. Often from companies thinking laterally, and working collaboratively. In the flooring sector, polyethylene terephthalate plastic bottles are now being recycled in their millions to make polyester carpet fibers. Dulka confirms this year, plastic bottles from USA’s Yellowstone National Park which is the first national park in the world, are now being sold to make carpet backing in a mix of materials which include renewable soya bean and celceram, a refined substance recovered from coal-fired power stations. One alternative to landfill and an example of eco-efficiency is incineration which Dulka points out has positively affected the environmental argument. However, it is an end-of-life option which does not address the fundamental issue of resource depletion, and does not allow for making better use of the materials from which carpet is made.
Despite the significant challenges in establishing an eco-efficient method Kinsey says he has faced few obstacles in applying the Cradle-to-Cradle concept to Trimo products and business operations in the Middle East. “On first glance you would think rapid growth and economic prosperity would leave the environmental message lagging, but in reality the region is much more in tune with sustainable thinking than credit is often given,” Kinsey says. “In the rest of the world we promote our business proposition from the basis of being a green company with sustainability at the forefront of our proposition. We have not altered this for the Middle East as it is what modern construction must be,” Kinsey adds. Dulka confirms the main issue when adopting the cradle-to-cradle principle is its requirements must be actively met, from the initial standards being set at government and semi-government levels through to the final contractors, compliance and purchase. Dulka also advises the green issue must be addressed as it is often lost in the final purchase negotiation where contractors are strong, and on-site consultants are not as aware, or rigid, as they should be on the matter making the private sector more of a driving force than the governments. “The “cradle-to-cradle” concept is not something that you can simply attach yourself to. It must be a culture that permeates the entire business, its products and its strategy. This approach is the most cost-effective route in the long-term and brings the best gains in terms of customer perception and benefits,” Dulka says. “All too often companies align themselves with green values, but it is little more than a vehicle to latch on to sales. Belief in the value of the “cradle-tocradle” concept promotes innovation and engages all stakeholders from employees to architects, investors to customers and with a far better outcome for what matters most – the environment,” Dulka concludes.
Hospitals going green BGreen explores how this emerging trend in the healthcare industry aims to protect the planet while assisting patients’ recovery
oday, leading-edge health care organizations around the world are striving to create environments that are not only less damaging to the planet but, more importantly, more conductive to healing. These environments are called green hospitals and they differ from conventional ones in that during their conceptual design and planning, protecting the environment,
improving the well-being of staff and patients, and even reducing user costs, are taken into consideration. Green hospitals aim to be healthier for the patients, doctors and nurses, use less energy and water, and have less of an impact on the environment. In December of 2007, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Green Guide for Health Care (GGHC) entered into an agreement to help green the healthcare industry. The agreement saw the LEED for Healthcare rating system come to life and the beginning of the spread of green hospitals throughout the US. Rick Fedrizzi, president, chief executive officer and founding chair of the USGBC said at the time: “The healthcare industry is by far one of the more important sectors that can benefit from the practice of green building design and construction. Patients in green hospitals have greater emotional well-being, require less pain medication and other drugs, and have shorter hospital stays.” Today, more and more case studies are showing a dramatic increase in the health, happiness, and productivity of people who live and work in green hospitals and the trend has now reached the Middle East. Last June, the Hospital Build Middle
East exhibition and congress saw a significant emphasis on green-related hospital products featuring workshops on many green-hospital case studies and even a full day workshop on green hospitals entitled “The Future of Green Hospitals”. As expressions such as sustainable design for healthcare and healing environments become increasing hot topics amongst healthcare professionals, BGreen catches up with some experts already working in this rising field to see what they have to say.
JAD BITAR, PRINCIPAL AT BOOZ & COMPANY, HEALTHCARE AND TECHNOLOGY EXPERT BG: What are the benefits of sustainable design for healthcare facilities? Bitar:Aside from the immediate impact on the environment (such as less energy consumption and less materials needed for building), sustainably designed healthcare facilities have a lower cost structure in the long term. Moreover, proper sustainable design incorporates natural lighting and green spaces, both of which benefit the healing process and make these buildings more patient- and family-friendly. ABOVE: Jad Bitar.
BG: Do green or more sustainable hospitals tend to affect patients’ health and recovery time? Bitar: Green hospitals do affect the healing process, by creating a natural environment for patients and avoiding any “architectural aggressions” that could impact them negatively, from colors and sounds to views and smells. Patient rooms are designed with the patient in mind to ensure the best flow for caregivers and the best healing setting for patients and families. Hospital public spaces are also designed to ensure easy patient flow and a relaxed atmosphere.
BG: What practices are being taken in the region to achieve more sustainable hospitals? Bitar: Although a few countries in the region have explored sustainable design models and have even adopted a few to encourage green building initiatives, I am not aware of any specific practices
adopted for hospitals. However, there are a few hospitals in the region that are adopting such practices, including the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi (CCAD) and the Dubai Children’s Hospital. The CCAD has an ambitious patient experience program that aims to design and customize the hospital’s environment to enhance the patient’s experience, as well as that of his family.
MOHAMMED A. AYOUB, AIA, ARB, RIBA, NEW YORK DESIGN STUDIO LEADER FOR HDR ARCHITECTURE, LEAD DESIGNER FOR THE US $1.5 BILLION CLEVELAND CLINIC IN ABU DHABI
• BG: Tell us about sustainable design for healthcare facilities. What are the benefits? Ayoub: Modern healthcare facilities provide patients much more than just exam rooms, hospital beds, and operating rooms. They create an environment that actively facilitates the healing process for patients. State-ofthe-art facilities are designed to focus on the physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing of patients and lead to improved outcomes. The basic principles behind crafting healing environments are also fundamental elements of sustainable design. They combine form and function that advance resource stewardship for energy and water conservation, promote human health through the built environment and connections to nature, and design for high performance and improved operations.
BG: What practices are being taken in the region to achieve more sustainable hospitals? Ayoub: HDR’s Sustainable Design strategy focuses on four principles for good indoor air quality design: • Source control: Reduce or eliminate the source of
Mohammed A. Ayoub
pollutants from buildings. Select building materials based on their contribution to good indoor air quality through modeled VOC air concentrations. Ventilation control: Provide adequate ventilation to dissipate the pollutants by removing them from the interior spaces. In some cases, the contaminated air should also be cleaned before being introduced into the atmosphere. Building and IAQ commissioning: Define performance specifications in advance and test the design documents and the building at various stages of design, construction and operation in order to ensure that it performs as designed. Maintenance: Ensure that the building is kept clean and maintained during its operational life, and that green cleaning agents are used to reduce further air contamination.
HDR’s Sustainable Interior Design strategy includes the application of the precautionary principle and a focus on the following hierarchy of criteria for sustainable material selections listed below. We seek out appropriate products and designs that not only protect the health of the building’s users, but future generations as well. HDR’s Sustainable Interior Design strategy primarily focuses on the following hierarchy of criteria for sustainable material specification: • Avoid materials that contribute to the formation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) as defined by the Stockholm Convention. • Avoid materials that contain or emit highly hazardous chemicals, such as persistent, bioaccumulative toxins and chemicals, carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive or developmental toxicants, neurotoxicants, or endocrine disrupters. • Use sustainabilitysourced, bio-based or recycled and recyclable materials, preferably grown organically
with the highest post-consumer recycled content and without the use of genetically modified organisms and pesticides. Avoid materials manufactured with highly hazardous chemicals.
Additional considerations for sustainable interior design include increasing the reach of daylighting, optimizing views of the natural world, reduction of disruptive levels of noise, improved lighting quality and controllability of lighting, window coverings and thermal comfort and creating areas of respite in the interiors in addition to the campus outdoors. Sustainable maintenance protocols, materials selections and detailing are coordinated to provide for a more healthful environment for staff, patients and visitors. BG: How do green or more sustainable hospitals tend to affect patients’ health and recovery time? Ayoub: Sustainable healthcare strategies provide advantages to patients, visitors, staff, and the community, as well as the cost of operations and maintenance. Connections to nature ease a patient’s emotional anxiety and good air quality enhances patient recovery and staff health and wellbeing. Daylighting strategies, such as enlarging windows, creating light wells, or incorporating reflective surfaces, have been shown to decrease occupational stress in healthcare workers, leading to improved worker productivity and performance, and increased retention and recruitment rates. Costs are always of prime consideration in the healthcare industry. Many perceive that sustainable strategies add a premium to the base cost. In actuality, the cost of incorporating energy and water- saving features during design is often recouped in the operations and maintenance of the site. Like many aspects of health, early planning and integrated design minimises long-term costs. While providing quality medical service will always be of utmost importance, more communities are holding providers to a higher standard as corporate citizens. Sustainable design demonstrates your dedication to the quality of life of people and their environments.
BG: Are there any green hospitals in the GCC? El Husseini: Unfortunately we donâ€™t yet have hospitals certified as green hospitals in the GCC but many hospitals have already implemented measurements for improvements in different areas.
MALEK EL HUSSEINI, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR GE HEALTHCARE MIDDLE EAST BG: Tell us about healing environments. What role does green design play in them? El Husseini: Healing environments are a part of the new therapeutic treatment approach for the hospitals of the future. They incorporate Green Design which reduces noise, improves a patientâ€™s ability to sleep, reduces disorientation, uses more natural light and creates green positive distraction such as gardens.
BG: Which system of green certification do you prefer for healthcare LEED, green globes or GGHC? El Husseini: I would say we need to have standards for our region which fit more with the local needs. We already have green building standards in Abu Dhabi and Doha and we need to establish the same for healthcare. BG: How quickly do you see this trend of green hospitals developing in the Middle East? El Husseini: I believe that in the next five years, we will see those standards play a big role in hospital design implementation and then later, in the coming years, they will become the basic standards for most hospitals.
BG: Which countries are leading the way for green hospitals? El Husseini: The UAE and Qatar are taking
the biggest steps to implement new green hospitals standards.
RE sF yi
5 rs ig to B bi e hi Th ex at to rs en ito op i b d xh an n-e no d an
Give your green product the recognition it deserves
Now in its 4th year, The Big 5 Gaia Awards has established itself as the regionâ€™s most respected and credible construction awards honouring those products that make a significant sustainable and green contribution to construction projects in the Middle East.
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Green building through integrated design teams Richard Reynolds, Manager – Supply Chain Consultancy at Masdar City discusses why, when it comes to a building’s sustainability, early team planning is the best planning
Investing time up front ensures common understanding.”
enough so that, with the right spirit of collaboration, any gaps in the team’s knowledge can be worked out to the benefit of the end design. Make sure there is a clear and shared understanding of the goals for the project. What’s high on the priority list – Energy efficiency? Water conservation? Good indoor air quality? Low environment impact? Possibly the list includes all of the above, but whatever the objectives, everyone should clearly understand them. Determine the performance goals for each of these objectives and how they can be measured. Establish how the design and build team will determine whether the building performs as intended once it’s completed. Feedback is essential.
Benefits: • The early formation of a broad, interdisciplinary team ensures necessary expertise is present when opportunities for impact are greatest, while collaboration harnesses the team’s best efforts and collective wisdom results in the realisation of
The Future Build is a trusted tool for professionals in the construction industry looking to identify and source independently assessed green building products that they can use in achieving their projects’ environmental objectives. For further information visit: www.thefuturebuild.com
Guidelines: • For the team to produce results beyond the sum of their individual contributions requires intentionality, trust and goodwill on the part of team members. Most design professionals feel vulnerable to losing credibility and future work if they do not maintain the appearance of knowing everything. The reality is that they do not know everything. But they do know
goals and objectives. Investing time up front ensures common understanding, and ‘buyin’ results in realisation of highperformance (sustainable) buildings. • Transparency builds trust and increases a team’s sense of ownership. Respectful communication avoids disputes and harnesses a team’s best effort and enthusiasm resulting in realisation of more optimally integrated solutions. • Fostering open-mindedness and creativity leads to innovation and synthesis, which allow the team to achieve the complex requirements of a high-performance building, maximising benefits and quality. • A clearly defined and understood decision-making process can lead to better choices. Tools like lifecycle costing foster the type of holistic and long-term thinking necessary for sustainable design that minimises costs. • Iterative process with feedback loops provides opportunities for feedback along the way, allows lessons to be learned from start to finish, resulting in good team relationships and likely partnering for future projects. The traditional design process is defined by a strict hierarchy; by contrast, team planning is more iterative and collaborative. By including all participants in the process, following clear guidelines and setting measurable performance indicators, enhanced outcomes – including costeffective sustainability – can be achieved more effectively and more affordably than in a linear structure. •
arly planning is good planning, and team planning is even better – especially when looking to maximise a building’s sustainability in a costeffective manner. That’s because decisions made early in the design process have a huge impact on how a building will perform over its lifetime – not only how much energy will be required to operate it, but also how comfortable it will be to live or work in. Costeffective green buildings are optimised by addressing entire building systems, their relationship to one another and what must be done to balance the impact of each system against established environmental goals, human health goals, and project life cycle cost goals. The best way to implement early planning is to implement team planning, which means including the entire building team in the design process, collaborating on what must be done to balance the needs of each team member against project goals. By contrast, the traditional process involves a linear progression from the architect down to the engineers and finally the contractors. A strict hierarchy of communication is enforced by the project manager. By contrast, an integrated design process is more iterative and provides additional flexibility and dynamism, and the capacity to address emergent features and strategies. The project team still most adhere to clear communication protocols; however, there are more deliberate opportunities for cross communication among team members.
BGreen Product Review
When trying to find environmentally friendly products, it’s a jungle out there! BGreen brings you our monthly green review courtesy of MASDAR’s The Future Build
This month’s product: DESSO’s Airmaster What is it? DESSO Airmaster is an innovative low level loop carpet that takes design and functionality to the next level. Its patented technology is capable of removing fine dust from the air more effectively then any other flooring solution. Additionally, DESSO AirMaster comes in 18 atmospheric colours offering a range of possibilities to make combinations and define specific areas or zones in a room or a building. Where can it be used? • In the office to contribute to a better work environment • In healthcare to improve indoor air quality • In education to provide fresh air for classrooms • In high traffic locations such as airports and shops
Why is it green? DESSO AirMaster is a key example of a pioneering innovative solution that takes design and functionality to the next level. It contributes to improving the well-being of people in offices, schools, care centres and other commercial environments.
Other information According to a study performed by the German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAA B)2, it is proven that the burden from fine dust is dramatically reduced when using carpet, as opposed to hard flooring. With the introduction of DESSO AirMaster, this functionality is taken to the next
level. Its patented technology has been specially developed to capture and retain hazardous particulate matter. In fact, DESSO AirMaster is eight times more effective in capturing and retaining fine dust than hard flooring and four times more effective than standard carpet solutions (PM10)4. Final verdict? BGreen approves!
Desso’s commitment to Cradle to Cradle® Desso, as an innovative carpet manufacturer, celebrates consumption in a new way, by putting natural processes first. That is why our footprint is a positive. creative one by following the Cradle to Cradle® philosophy.
Desso® have committed to the Cradle to Cradle® principles, designing carpet and carpet tiles, like our Neo product, that contain only pure materials which are safe for human use; materials that are biologically or technically recyclable at the end of their useful lives.
With the introduction of EcoBase®, Desso is the only carpet manufacturer in the world that has earned a silver Cradle to Cradle®-certificate for an entire carpet tile.
DESSO Sultan Ali Al – Owais Building - Satwa Dubai T: +97143985900 F: +97143985908 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
A world of timber
With the unrelenting appetite for wood created by emerging countries such as China and India, timber is big business right now. But with rainforest depletion growing at an alarming rate, there is often cause for concern. BGreen investigates why you can and should put your trust in timber.
Part 1: Timber, the ultimate growth investment? There are a lot of good reasons to invest in timber. For starters, over the last 100 years, the price of harvested timber itself has consistently gone up an average of 5% per year. As hard assets, timber investments are an excellent hedge against inflation and a source of impressive returns. According to the National Council of Real Estate Fiduciaries in the United States, timber returns from 1987 through to 2010 averaged 15% per year. Comparatively, the S&P 500 has only gone up by 9.1% annually. Timber investments also have minimal correlation with stock market indices and as
globe use wood and its by-products.” Yet there is a dark side to timber. As the planet increases its already strong appetite for wood, the deforestation of our natural rainforests becomes an ever alarming issue. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, in the 1990s alone, there was an estimated 90,000 km2 of forests lost per year, with the result that half of the world’s forests, which originally covered approximately 46% of the planet, are now gone. Tropical deforestation in particular, due to the attractiveness of tropical hardwood timber, is the highest in the world with approximately 130,000 km2 lost per year. As such, one question arises. Do attractive returns from timber investing have to go hand in hand with the large-scale destruction
such have been proven to perform very well during bear markets. During the Great Depression, when stocks dropped by as much as 90%, the main US timber index actually rose a remarkable 233%. In today’s market, some analysts have predicted that timber prices could soar by as much as 300% and with good reason. Aside from the industrial boom in China and India aggressively increasing demand for housing materials, there is also the renaissance of wood as a renewable material in many sectors, from construction to industrial wrapping, and the exploding demand for biomass (energy wood). Timber, it turns out, is a highly versatile asset. Dean Henry founder Plantation Capital says: “Forestry or timberland as an asset class is quite diverse in its own right. Trees and plants have many characteristics that lend themselves to an extremely wide Plantation Capital’s range of uses, evidenced in the Dean Henry. way communities throughout the
All other investments into alternative energy just work to avoid producing additional CO2, only timber investments remove it.” in the oceans, in the soil and in trees, the latter being the only one humans can really influence. All plants photosynthesise, absorbing CO2 and using it to grow. However most plants are subject to seasonal growth and when they decay in winter, they re-release most of that CO2. Trees however, he says, hold on to it much longer. Biskup explains: “Only trees sequester the
One of Plantation Capital’s bamboo plantations.
Another of Plantation Capital’s grounds.
carbon over a longer period, such as poplars used for biomass growth, and capture CO2 continuously for five years. Precious woods mature over 20 to 30 years and will spend roughly the same amount of time as furniture or flooring. Additionally, timber plantations are replanted after harvest, permanently removing the captured CO2 from the atmosphere.” Henry insists that for every tree harvested by Plantation Capital, three are planted. He says: “We source the correct species of tree or plant, ensure that they are nurtured
and harvested in the most advantageous conditions and take measures to protect and preserve the natural landscape and the environment. For instance, in bamboo plantations, we leave the crux in the ground to retain the carbon in the soil.” Henry continues: “Plantation Capital was founded on the belief that our work can benefit others. We believe that it is possible to operate as a profit-making organisation while also benefiting the environment. Every one of our investment opportunities is underpinned by the knowledge that the projects the funds back are environmentally sustainable.” Finally Henry insists he can prove that Plantation Capital’s timber investing is green. “We encourage anyone interest in our plantations to come see for themselves how sustainable they are. We promise they will not be disappointed,” he says. Combating illegal logging Along with regulatory authorities and organisations, these eco-conscious timberinvestment firms also work to encourage sustainable forestry developments, combating the devastating effects caused by illegal logging. Plantation Capital’s Henry says: “The introduction of sustainable plantations will effectively tackle illegal logging. Roughly one fifth of the timber imported into Europe may be the result of illegal logging, according to research from the European Commission. If there is demand for a product, the pressure will always exist to meet it and creating an alternative timber source will not only help protect rainforests but provide employment opportunities for local populations.”
of our planet’s native forests? Luckily for investors, the answer is no. There are indeed timber investment firms that help the environment and its inhabitants while collecting profits. Timber investment firm Plantation Capital founder Dean Henry says: “I and the other founding members of Plantation Capital created the firm because we believed that investment can play a role in preserving the environment and advancing positive social goals. Not only do we believe that we can help the environment while building a sustainable business but we hope that as the company grows, we will be able to assist yet more communities benefit from employment and long-term economic security.” Klaus Biskup, director of sales and marketing at Tarragona based EccoWood, argues that timber investments can actually be even better for the planet than other green investments. He says: “All other investments into alternative energy, just work to avoid producing additional CO2, only timber investments remove it.” Biskup explains that there are three means of long term CO2 capture:
Henry also adds that Plantation Capital employs local labour in all their plantations and ensures wages are set fairly outstripping the annual wage rate in all countries in which the firm operates. Additionally, the firm contributes to preserving the planet’s wildlife. Henry says: “We sponsor the World Wildlife Fund, the world’s leading conservation body and work closely with the charity Born Free, an international wildlife charity devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. We understand that by supporting conservation charities, the greater the likelihood that the threats to wildlife can be overcome.”
LONG TERM INVESTMENTS? However, one question remains to be answered. Since timber plantation projects are long term by nature, is there no options for investors looking for shorter investments? EccoWood’s Biskup argues that a trend to shorter term timber projects does exist, mainly where timber funds are competing with other funds. He says: “This is possible by buying or selling semi-mature plantations. Whereas timber projects are long term, timber investments don’t have to be. Semimature plantations are available.” Biskup explains: “We can buy, for example, a 17 year old plantation for an eight year investment project, provided the harvest will take place when the trees reach the age of 25. Or a 10 year timber fund sells its plantation in the tenth year to a new 10 year timber fund that will harvest when the trees reach the age of 20. Three million hectares of forestry plantations are established every year, there will always be some project owners that don’t want to, or can’t afford to wait. Hence the secondary market will play an ever more significant role on the supply
AHEC wood in the Ghent auditorium, Belgium
forests, harming our planet. However, some argue it could actually be helping them and the environment. American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) consultant Rupert Oliver says: “There are recent scientific reports on global forest resources that reveal that in all parts of the world, a vibrant and economically viable forest products sector capable of competing with agriculture for land resources actually keeps forests standing. Without this sector,
and demand side.” One client, Biskup reveals, even launched a one year timber fund, only acquiring the license to harvest an existing mature plantation that still shows attractive returns. SPOILED FOR CHOICE AND SHARIA COMPLIANT TOO Finally, timber investments offer a variety of wood choices each with its own advantages. EccoWood’s Biskup says: “Our intention is not to sell any project to anybody. We tailor timber investment projects to the needs and priorities of our clients. We look worldwide for the best opportunities.” Plantation Capital offers sapling teak, standing teak, bamboo and agarwood investments as well as the Africaasia fund. Founder Henry says the firm is also currently in the process of seeking Sharia compliance certification and he is certain they will achieve it. “The timber market is positive on the economy and ecological. I can’t think of a more ethical investment,” Henry concludes.
PART 2: THE TIMBER INDUSTRY, AN ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE INDUSTRY? For all the talk of sustainable timber investments, the logging industry is still often seen as contributing to the depletion of our
One of AHEC’s projects: the YaleSchool of Forestry.
forests will keep on declining.” The studies he refers to speak of a “Great Reversal” that is said to be underway as the world’s forests have begun to recover after centuries of loss and decline. One study by scientists at Rockefeller University in the USA and the University of Helsinki in Finland highlights that forest area in North America, Europe and Asia is rising and the “density” of forests is increasing in all regions of the world. For each hectare of forest, the volume of standing timber and therefore the tonnage of carbon stored and kept out of the atmosphere is higher now than in the past. Another study, by Peter Ince, a researcher at the US Forest Service Laboratory in Madison Wisconsin, gives an insight into the
main drivers of the “Great Reversal”. It is not, as some may expect, due to any significant global effort to increase the area of forests in conservation reserves. On the contrary, it has more to do with the increased value accorded to forests for commercial timber extraction. Ince argues that “the highest global levels of industrial roundwood harvest, in North America and Europe, are consistent with the lowest rates of deforestation globally, supporting the hypothesis that an economically vibrant industrial forest products sector has been key to forest policies and forestry practices that support sustainable
timber supply and demand.” Roderick Wiles, AHEC director for Africa, Middle East, India and Oceania, argues that the long term management of US hardwood forests for sustainable timber production makes a significant contribution to carbon storage. He says: “Each year for the last 50 years American hardwood forests stored around the equivalent of 165 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (excluding all harvested material). That’s enough to offset about 14% of US annual residential emissions in 2006, or 9% of US annual transport emissions in the same year.” Wiles continues: “This direct contribution of America’s hardwood forests to carbon sequestration excludes the carbon held in
WOOD’S ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS Plantation issues aside, wood’s many environmentally benefits as a material cannot be denied. AHEC’s Wiles remarks: “Wood products require only small amounts of energy to produce, compared to other building materials.” Wiles asserts that their use across renovation projects and in new structures can act as an alternative to concrete, steel or aluminium. “This would mean that less overall energy was used in the completion of a project,” he observes. “For example, kiln-dried sawn hardwood takes 2 Mj/Kg to produce, while concrete takes 4 Mj/Kg and mild steel takes 34 Mj/Kg. “This is known as embodied energy,” Wiles adds. “Wood is a carbon store and 1m3 of wood will store around one tonne of carbon, even after it is cut down and converted into various products. Further to the energy consumed in completing the project, there is the energy cost of running the building, and wood is a natural and highly effective insulator, with far greater insulation properties than many alternative materials.” BM Trada Middle East general manager Tom Johnston says wood is a natural insulator and if used in cooperation with good design can provide a “better energy performance than many other alternative materials.” He says: “Wood products typically require less embodied energy to manufacture and
AHEC’s Roderick Wiles..
transport than other structural materials. So you can save energy even before the wood arrives at the job site. It is the only building material that can be carbon neutral and fully recyclable, and therefore makes a minimal contribution to global warming.” Joubert’s Geoffroy adds that: “Using sustainable wood materials on a construction project is to engage in respecting the environment.” Joubert is one of a handful of wood suppliers across the region committed to sustainability across all levels of the production process, from the supplies coming from controlled forests, to a chain of custody certification at all of its production units in France and Gabon. Wiles also notes that sustainable wood products can be an important part of an overall low-energy, low-carbon, low-waste construction foundation. He says: “By embracing sustainability, designers are not simply responding to a new fashion; nor are they only seeking to minimise the direct impact of their own creations on the environment. They are promoting desirable visions that compel people to want to live sustainably.” “By using sustainable wood products, such as American hardwoods, designers are assured that they are minimising their impact on the environment throughout all the stages of the product life cycle, from extraction, through processing, use, reuse and final disposal,” Wiles concludes.
AHEC wood in La Cucina: the kitchen.
long term storage as a component of American hardwood products. With useful lives spanning generations, furniture, flooring, cabinetry and trim crafted of American hardwoods act as an additional carbon store for many decades.” Roderick also reveals that a preliminary assessment by the AHEC of the carbon footprint of American hardwoods from forest to European distributor suggests that carbon sequestration during the forest growth of the tree will more than offset the total carbon emissions resulting from harvesting, processing and transport.
PART 3: THE GREAT EMERGING WOOD DEBATE: TO CERTIFY OR NOT TO CERTIFY
Anyone in the wood industry has heard of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Indeed, today these standards are a necessary part of achieving many green building certifications including LEED. Rizwan Sajan, Danube Group chairman, says: “No matter what policies exist, contractors cannot fulfil consultant specification if the materials are not available on ground. We have invested in making green products such as certified hardwood and whitewood timber available in the GCC region, and we intend to use our extensive presence throughout the region to enable project managers to turn green policies from theory into practice,” Joubert’s Geoffroy insists their products are FSC and PEFC certified, strongly defending the value of these certifications. He says: “FSC upholds 10 demanding principles of forestry management and 57 criteria, which treat the different questions concerning forest management, community respect, the rights of nations and workers, and environmental impacts. FSC regulations monitor forestry exploitation and ensure that the land is exploited in a spirit of regeneration.” BM Trada’s Tom Johnston says: “Certified wood products differs little from that of conventional materials, but they can earn you points towards achieving your green building certification such as LEED or BREEAM. Certified wood products are ‘green’ in the
The YaleSchool of Forestry seen from outside.
sense that you can rest assured that they have been harvested and manufactured in a way that has a minimal impact on the environment.” However, AHEC’s Wiles argues that consumers and policy makers need new standards of measurement that would give them the ability to truly compare the environmental footprint of the different products and materials they source. AHEC has been encouraging an on-going movement towards a more science-centred approach to green specification and design using environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Wiles says: “Although there is some way to go before LCA becomes a deciding factor in material specification throughout the world, there are clear signs of movement in this direction. Green building rating systems like BREEAM in the UK, HQE in France, and DGNB in Germany are becoming more widely used and all draw on LCA for allocating credits for building materials. Even the US-based LEED system is set to operate a “pilot” LCA based standard for materials sourcing.” In 2010 AHEC commissioned the largest LCA study ever undertaken in the international
hardwood sector. The independent assessment is being undertaken by PE International, a leader in the field of LCA, in accordance with the ISO14040 series of standards for LCA. A major output of the study will be the preparation of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for American hardwood products. According to some industry experts, EPDs are set to become an important tool for the communication of product-specific LCA data, and are designed to allow a fair comparison of the environmental performance of products through structured, science based, and verifiable data. EPDs provide information along the product’s entire supply chain, are designed to be neutral with no value-based judgements, and are also required to be verified for accuracy by an independent third party. An international standard - ISO 14025 – has been prepared providing guidance on the structure and content of EPDs. AHEC Wiles feels EPDs would provide a better way to truly evaluate a wood’s sustainability factor than traditional certification standards. He says: “EPDs rely on science and this reliance is long overdue. If green building systems and ‘green procurement’ policies are to have any credibility, they must be based on science, and all materials producers must play by the same rules.“ The future will tell which green certifications will, in the end, dominate the industry. However, one thing remains for sure, green will continue to be a big focus on all projects. ”The whole idea of ‘green’ building is to invest a little more in the design and materials phase of production and get a larger return on the investment over the long term as reduced energy consumption translates into significant yearly savings. As more organisations recognise and embrace this concept, we are seeing a sizable increase in the number of firms significantly involved in ‘green’ building projects as well as ‘green’ accredited building professionals,” concludes Danube’s Sajan.
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Introducing PureBond; nontoxic soy-based formaldehydefree decorative wood PureBond is Columbia Forest Products’ exclusive formaldehydefree innovation for hardwood plywood manufacturing. It’s just like the original cost-competitive kind but without the formaldehyde! Why it’s BGreen approved Replacing traditional urea formaldehyde hardwood plywood construction with non-toxic soy-based PureBond enables Columbia to eliminate any added formaldehyde from standard veneer-core and non-UF composite hardwood plywood core panels. That’s great news not only for site workers but also for the air we all breathe.
Columbia’s formaldehyde-free decorative panels are compliant with the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, earning one point for LEED’s EQ Credit 4.4 for Low-Emitting Materials: Composite Wood. Best of all PureBond is cost-competitive with the standard UF construction of most decorative veneer-core hardwood plywood that’s made today. That means PureBond
is substantially less expensive than many other no-added-formaldehyde alternatives currently available. Additionally, PureBond is even more water resistant than UF panels – approaching the requirements for Type I, or waterproof performance. PureBond panels with formaldehyde-free technology have outperformed UF bonded panels in all moisture degradation tests.
New & Improved News www.buildgreen.ae
US entrepreneur Bill Gates to reinvent the toilet
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a grant to a project that aims to reinvent the toilet to process human waste without water, energy or sewer lines. The project will see scientists at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands develop the new technology in order to provide safe affordable
sanitation in developing countries. The sustainable toilet will use microwave technology to transform human waste into electricity. The process will consist of drying the waste and then gasifying it using plasma created by microwaves in tailor-made equipment.
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Columbia Forest Products, North America’s largest green manufacturer of decorative hardwood plywood and veneer.
Insist on hardwood plywood made with our award-winning PureBond® technology to be sure it’s made with ZERO added formaldehyde. PureBond panels contribute to LEED® credits and other green building standards. We also offer many FSC® certified options upon request.
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Contact our International Division to help you engineer an optimized product mix from our selection of plywood and veneer products.
The Middle East‘s Premier Conference and Exhibition for Lighting Design and Technology
12 – 14 September, 2011 Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, UAE
Pre-register online at www.lightME.net/visit Enter VP Code LTAD040 when registering online What‘s unique about Light Middle East? • One of the 6 global exhibitions in the portfolio of Light+Building Exhibitions. • The only dedicated lighting platform in the region. • Attended by architects, lighting designers, specifiers and other industry professionals from across the GCC. • Over 200 exhibitors from 20 countries will be a part of the 2011 show.
Don‘t miss! 3 days of quality conferencing, including Green Middle East Conference (supported by Sesam Business Consultants) and Light Insight Arabia Conference (supported by PLDA). Register for these conferences at www.lightME.net/conf
Green gadgets Bamboo is world renowned for being an eco-friendly highly-renewable material. So when you combine this forest produce and IT, what you get is some super environmentally friendly gadgets!
A bamboo laptop, could it be true? Introducing the ASUS U53Jc notebook whose top cover and keyboard layout use natural bamboo to replace plastic materials. Additionally, the notebook is equipped with ASUS’ exclusive energy saving technology: Super Hybrid Engine (SHE). SHE boosts CPU performance by 11% and extends battery life to 10.5 hours. Green geeks listen up! This is the laptop for you! www.asus.com
No computer is complete without a keyboard and mouse and for the truly green Enviro Valley has got some in bamboo. With a range of shades from mahogany to deep red, these IT accessories are as stylish as they are eco-friendly! www.envirovalley.com.au
We’ve all heard of the iPad but have you heard of the iLog? Introducing a wooden charging station that accommodates an iPad both vertically and horizontally. We know it’s not bamboo but it’s made from carefully chosen re-claimed London wood. It’s handpicked, hand-crafted and very handsome, and that’s good enough for us!
Technology waste BGreen’s Christine Fashugba investigates how business initiatives are helping to reduce the billions of electronic items in landfill
Enviroserve chief executive ofﬁcer Stuart Fleming.
Research indicates e-waste is growing at three times the rate of other municipal waste.”
n an effort to put a stop to 97% of the 4 billion mobile phones and one billion earphones manufactured round the world ending up in disposal heaps Dubai Municipality and Enviroserve joined forces this year. The union which took place on World Environment Day mark the beginning of a recycling used and unusable cell phones scheme including all accessories. The initiative sparked an e-waste collection campaign by international company GEMS Education involving 16 schools, which collected hundreds of used electronic items including computers, laptops, mobile phones and printers through collection centres in their campuses. Research indicates e-waste is growing at three times the rate of other municipal waste. According to a report by the International Association of Electronics Recyclers, only five per cent of this generated e-waste is recycled in the Middle East. “As the world’s largest K-12 education company, we believe we have a responsibility to encourage and motivate
the younger generation to lead the way in finding sustainable solutions for preserving the environment,” Servee Palmans director school operations GEMS Education says. “Today, inappropriate disposal of electronic waste is a chronic threat for our environment and can harm the planet for generations to come. Through the e-waste collection campaign, our objective is to build awareness among our students and parents about the hazards of e-waste, and encourage them to dispose of it responsibly,” Palmans adds. After contributing significantly to the old and broken electronic items recycling industry by launching the brand “EnviroFone” in 2007 Enviroserve management were contacted by representatives from various organisations enquiring how they could get involved in the initiative. “We understood the need for the UAE and there was no dedicated programme to provide this service. It was supported and endorsed by the Ministry of Environment and Water and the UAE
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and we won massive support for having initiated this for the community,” Stuart Fleming chief executive officer Enviroserve says. Fleming confirms the electronic recycling division has seen massive growth in volume in the Middle East as mindsets adapt to responsible asset recovery processes. “Following the launch of “EnviroFone”, we immediately had requests from the private and business community regarding a
The electronic recycling division has seen massive growth in volume in the Middle East. ”
Inappropriate disposal of electronic waste is a chronic threat to our planet.
by giving the phones for re-use to those less fortunate instead of dumping them in landfills,” Khalkho adds. Management of international technology company HP which provides a range of electrical handheld devices and computer installation achieved its 2010 goal to use around 45,000 tonnes of recycled plastic worth US$ 162 million in its printing products. The company’s staff which had been accumulating the material since 2007 reached its target a year early. “By producing one billion ink cartridges in 2010 containing post-consumer recycled plastic and by using our closed loop recycling process, HP has kept 1.46 billion items out of landfill, including 1.3 billion plastic bottles and 160 million ink cartridges,” Salim Ziade, HP personal systems group general manager Middle East says. “In the Middle East, we are in the process of setting up a recycling initiative which we hope will have similar success,” Ziade adds. Although Fleming confirms Enviroserve electronics recycling scheme has been successful enough for plans to develop the initiative internationally he is keen to warn traders of the consequences of not taking part in the movement. “There are so many traders willing to offer money for goods but the issue is the hazardous product is still dumped to landfill and the grey market trades the valuable commodity, which is sad for the environment and corporate social responsibility and could end up coming back to bite corporate business,” Fleming says. “No one wants to risk a picture of their logo on some e-waste that has been dumped in landfill. That’s expensive negative public relations for sure,” he concluded.
solution on electronic items that were not broken and could be re-used. So, we partnered up with a successful European programme and have recently transformed this to “Zwipit” which is the brand name we are using,” Fleming adds. One company with staff which has embraced the concept of recycling technical goods is Sharaf DG, the largest electronics retailer in the UAE, which opened up a mobile phone buy-back point of sale where people can either buy a new phone or switch to a different brand enabling customers to trade their phones in at any branch. Participants in the scheme which is available at both Sharaf DG and DG 4u stores are rewarded with gift vouchers the value of their traded-in mobile phones. “Sharaf DG customers expect the best of services. It is our endeavour to time and again fulfil their expectations and even go that extra mile with tie-ups with organisations who share similar values as us,” Nilesh Khalkho chief executive officer Sharaf DG says. “This tie-up with Enviroserve is not only a unique proposition towards buying back old mobile phones, but is also a customer relationship initiative wherein we at Sharaf DG on behalf of our customers are contributing towards preserving the eco-system
A sanctuary for nature and man BGreen introduces the UAE’s Al Maha resort, a little piece of heaven in the middle of a barren desert
nly 45 minutes drive from the UAE’s Dubai International Airport, lies a secluded sanctuary called the Al Maha Desert Resort. Al Maha -- Arabic for the Arabian Oryx, a desert antelope – is a unique hospitality project that not only preserves the ecology of this Arabian desert but also the UAE’s history and traditions. Built by Dubai’s Emirates airline, the resort is the product of a careful assessment of typical desert settings and the Bedouin lifestyle. Its architecture, design concepts and layout are all based on this principle, reflecting the region’s rich heritage. In this spirit, the hotel is home to more than 2000 original antiques, art work, jewellery, weaponry and furniture from the region. The collection not
only adorns the resort but also ensures that such rare pieces stay within the region, and are not lost through sale and export to collectors overseas. Al Maha’s unique layout ensures the resort minimises its impact on its natural surroundings. Additionally, the resort’s architectural design ensures efficient energy usage and conservation. Traditional building methods reduce the need for air-conditioning and all external walls are built using single and double layers of insulated blockwork to conserve energy. Fenestration of all openings is determined by the orientation of the buildings and window sizes have been kept to a minimum. Window openings in the buildings were particularly designed to maximise natural light while minimising solar heat gain.
Meanwhile, solar energy is used for all water heating in staff quarters. An on-site water recycling plant purifies, recycles and refilters ground water for use in domestic supplies. Waste water, purified in seven treatment plants, is used for irrigation to re-establish natural vegetation in the reserve. Up to 94% of the resort’s water is recycled, with only 6% lost to surface evaporation. The resort’s waste materials are treated to produce biodegradable byproducts and to avoid contaminating the desert. Meanwhile, sound attenuation preserves the peace
and tranquillity of the desert’s natural environment, giving guests the experience of a truly remote sanctuary which they can call their own. Finally, the resort offers actual experiences of Bedouin and desert activities for guests organised by Al Maha Field Guides. These include falconry demonstrations, camel safaris, horse-riding over the dunes, archery with traditional wood bows and nature walks.
For more information visit: www.al-maha.com
The 6th Annual
Sir David Attenborough CBE -
INTERNATIONAL GREENAWARDS 24th November 2011 - The Natural History Museum, London, UK
Broadcaster & Environmentalist
“The INTERNATIONAL GREEN AWARDS are a genuine effort to promote positive attitudes towards biodiversity and sustainability.”
Great ideas, organisations and people deserve recognition. Recognition inspires change. It motivates and rewards people. It propagates and fertilises new thinking. Which is why, in a bid to recognise sustainability wherever it occurs, we comb the globe every year to find true influencers, leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators. To discover and showcase the genuine game-changers in a way that will educate and inspire others. So make a real difference to your sustainability journey. Enter the International Green Awards. Stand up and be recognised. Enter the leading international sustainability awards of 2011 and showcase your organisation. Are you a visionary organisation or individual looking for: An event to truly test your initiatives and achievements against the best organisations from around the globe ? An awards programme that is well respected and internationally recognised as the benchmark for global excellence ? An international platform to promote your sustainability success stories and receive the recognition you truly deserve ? An opportunity to share best practice with other influential companies and inspire them through your success ?
For further information and to enter this year’s INTERNATIONAL GREEN AWARDS please visit
Exclusive Print Partner in the ME INTERNATIONAL GREEN AWARDS is a copyright event of and produced by Green Business Enterprises Ltd. Reg Co. No. 6818232 VAT Reg. No. 970 3805 16 TM
big picture The
Greenpeace calls on sports giants to DETOX harmful chemicals from our water After identifying several major international clothing brands, including adidas and Nike, linked to facilities in China that are releasing toxic chemicals into the planet’s precious waterways, Greenpeace took on the sports giants. The campaign called DETOX sent a message often seen in the sports world: If you’ve suffered a setback, you have a choice, ignore it or change. DETOX encouraged companies everywhere to work with all of their suppliers to eliminate the release of hazardous chemicals into our water and protect the world’s people and wildlife.
Through a discharge pipe in the Yinzhou district of Ningbo, you can see high-end housing development Vanke Golden Banks, located on the opposite side of the river. © Qiu Bo / Greenpeace
A Greenpeace campaigner takes a sample from a discharge pipe by the Gaoping Industrial Park, Sanjiao town, Zhongshan city. © Qiu Bo / Greenpeace
Greenpeace activists form the word “Detox” in a human banner at Santichaiprakarn Park, on the banks of the Chao Phraya river. Greenpeace is warning that Thailand also hosts Nike and adidas factories. 07/14/2011 © Athit Perawongmetha / Greenpeace
Greenpeace climbers unfurl a giant (6x10m) T-shirt shaped banner, reading: “Champion A Toxic Free Future Just Do It”, at Nike’s European headquarters. 07/15/2011 © Greenpeace / Gerard Til
Greenpeace places mannequins bearing a “Detox” message and holding tennis gear in front of a sport store on the day of the launch of its report “Dirty Laundry”. The report is the result of a year-long investigation into toxic water pollution resulting from the release of hazardous chemicals by the textile industry in China and linked to the production of sport clothing from sport giants Adidas and Nike. 07/13/2011 © Greenpeace / Ex-Press / Miriam Künzli
A screen shot taken from the “Detox” Greenpeace video. 07/12/2011 © Greenpeace
…Clean energy investments leap to $42 billion..Report slams Triple-A rate for fossil fuel firms...UAE invests in solar-powered toilets...
UK Energy and Climate Change Committee to investigate marine energy potential
Clean energy investments surge back to reach US $42 billion
UK’s Energy and Climate Change Committee launched an inquiry into the the England’s marine energy sector to examine whether the country has the right level of funding in place to capitalise on a sector that is currently in its infancy, but which according to Carbon Trust estimates could expand to £76 billion and provide 15 to 20% of the UK’s electricity by 2050. The influential Committee released a statement saying: “The inquiry will assess the success of existing Government support and measures on marine renewables and investigate the potential impact of Government spending decisions on this area of low carbon technology.”
According to figures by Bloomberg New EnergyFinance, global clean energy investments leaped to US $41.7 billion in the second quarter of 2011, a jump of 27% on the previous three months and the third highest level on record. The rise was largely attributed to several solar thermal electricity generation projects securing financing such as BrightSource’s 392MW Ivanpah development in California Private equity clean energy investment also shot up 74% to $3.1 billion, the highest figure for any quarter since the third quarter of 2008.
New report slams Triple-A rate for top 200 listed fossil fuel firms
AED 80,000 per toilet solar-power proposal for Dubai’s public washrooms
Public toilets across Dubai are set to have their power source changed from electricity to solar power in an experimental project taken on by the city to save electricity and money. The estimated amount to be spent on each toilet will be AED 60,000 to 80,000. Chairman of the Emirates Solar Industry Association Vahid Fotuhi said: “It’s a great initiative and a step in the right direction. Hopefully, this will give roots to other applications that are driven by solar.” The panels installed on the roofs of the test toilets are set to match the architecture of the neighbourhood.
A new report entitled “Unburnable Carbon Are the world’s financial markets carrying a carbon bubble?” was released questioning the Triple-A rating of stocks and shares of carbon-intensive firms. To produce the report, the Carbon Tracker Initiative NGO used research from the Potsdam Institute to analyse the fossil fuel reserves of the top 100 listed coal companies and the top 100 listed oil and gas companies. The document concludes that if the world is to achieve the internationally agreed target of limiting average temperature rises to 2°C, only 20% of these reserves can be accessed. It states: “If the 2°C target is rigorously applied, then up to 80% of declared reserves owned by the world’s largest listed coal, oil and gas companies and their investors would be subject to impairment as these assets become stranded.”
Green trading now in the Middle East BGreen introduces the region’s first carbon trading organisation right in downtown Dubai
on their investments, while benefiting the environment.” Stephenson also insists that investing in carbon credits directly helps the environment. He says: “Each step of the process is part of the chain that ultimately helps the environment by first creating the carbon credit and then eventually ‘retiring’ the credit against an emission. For example a renewable energy project, such as a wind farm, would need an initial investment to get started, so it would be granted carbon credits against the projected emissions saving and the sale of these credits would be used to help repay the startup loans.”
Investors can contact AGT in the region at:
Advanced Global Trading LLC MENA Head Office 7th Floor, Building 6 Emaar Square Downtown Burj Khalifa Dubai, UAE PO Box 283437 +971 (0) 4435 8100
considered a complicated concept, involving risks that could not easily be understood or mitigated. This is why Londonbased carbon trading organisation Advanced Global Trading (AGT), an industry-leader in sourcing and trading carbon credits, launched its operations in Dubai last June. Regional investors now have access to analysts that can facilitate faceto-face the trading of one the world’s fastest-growing commodities. AGT specialises in the trading of voluntary emissions reductions (VERs) in the over-the-counter green market, an ideal market for the region. AGT partner Charles Stephenson explains: “The potential market for carbon credits is huge as, under the Kyoto Protocol, it’s not just companies but governments that are forced to offset their emissions. Bringing green trading to the Middle East was an easy decision as it’s both ethical and profitable and the region, which has profited heavily from the energy industry, is the obvious market to encourage investors to make returns
arbon trading, a form of green trading that uses certificates to represent a reduction of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, is gaining popularity and it’s no wonder. This ethical form of trading is not only a financial mechanism to accelerate change towards a cleaner environment, but also a great way for investors to profit from the current carbon market boom. According to the World Bank, the global carbon trading market is now worth a phenomenal US $144 billion, up 6% from 2008 despite the global downturn, and is expected to grow to over $1 trillion by 2025. In the region there is good reason to invest in carbon trading. The UAE, Qatar and Kuwait all signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol in April 2010. Dubai’s Carbon Centre of Excellence recently unveiled plans to offset five million tonnes of carbon annually and high carbon producing companies, such as DEWA, Dubal and Enoc, announced they are considering carbonemission reduction quotas. Yet, up until recently, carbon trading AGT partner Charles was often Stephenson.
Experts shed light on the ecological truth behind office electricity and design. BGreen’s Christine Fashugba investigates
elegates at the recent Design Executive Roundtable held at the American University of Sharjah asserted emerging markets are pushing businesses to do more with less driving demand for eco-friendly interior design and architecture in the
ABOVE: Ahrend’s Nima Ranjab. BELOW: RWN Trading’s Carol Prince.
UAE and questioned the extent to which clients understand the benefits of going green. Carol Prince marketing director RWN Trading is keen to highlight the long term benefits of fitting LED lighting including time saved in the maintenance cost and management of LED lighting for office bill payers who are still unaware. “LED manufacturers work closely with clients to provide the latest requirements, which is why LED lighting is available in a range of colours not just cool or warm white. They also have dimming capabilities and the most exciting improvement for me is that there are now direct replacement LED products which has to be a bonus for clients making that all important switch
from incandescent to energy efficiency lighting,” Prince says. “Sceptics who only look at the initial pay out should consider the fact that LED lamps last so much longer which makes a big difference when repairs can only be carried out after hours, for examples in shopping malls no work can start until the place is empty and that causes great logistical issues for facility management contractors in particular. It’s time to think out of the box.” Thierry Burot chief executive officer Switch Made Middle East indoor and outdoor LED lighting and technology specialists confirms although more and more of Middle East’s offices are switching to the 50,000 hour lifespan LED lighting many are
Ahrend’s living wall.
RWN Trading’s Tito Standard lamp.
Sceptics who only look at the initial pay out should consider the fact that LED lamps last so much longer.” still oblivious to its advantages. “If you consider for example the freezones like Dubai airport or Jebel Ali the office users don’t pay the electricity bills. They are integrated in their rental charges. Some of the business owners pay the rent and they don’t have their own Killowatt metre so they just pay for the rent and they don’t pay for the electricity so it’s more the responsibility of the freezone authority to go green than the tenants because the tenants don’t see how much they consume,” he says. In an effort to inform office electricity bill payers of their lighting usage, Switch Made has contributed to lighting use analyses including the installation of loggers to provide a breakdown of office users’ consumption. The LED lighting supplier offers solutions based on the combination of motion sensors which cause lights to switch off when there are no occupants in the room which can Ahrend’s living wall. divide electricity consumption by up to 30. “Most of the time people leave their coffee machine and fridge is kept two or three times for two minutes but the light is on office and forget to switch off the light so it for the full day. So if you put a sensor in there will be on for the full weekend. For example people come into the kitchen where the and nobody’s there after three minutes the
Ahrend’s portal desk.
light will switch off.” Concentrating on the furnishing aspect of interior design management of Ahrend, the Dutch furnishing solutions and space efficiency experts have a goal to become wholly carbon neutral by 2020 and will mark this with the creation of the Ahrend 2020 chair. Nima Ranjbar general manager Ahrend Middle East observes that although in the past furnishing companies would be seen as suppliers and providers whereas now they are becoming more responsible for creating custom-made solutions. The priority is to generate a product that fits the client’s requirements, producing more individual and creative products. “Nowadays, furniture is becoming much simpler. Additionally accessories and distractions are being used less. However it is not so much about the furniture itself but more so about how business is being done,” Ranjbar concludes.
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GE Lights on for Jebel Ali
GE te chnolo gy on displa y.
Lighting experts open distribution centre in Dubai offering LED energy-saving solutions
eading commercial, industrial and residential lighting supplier GE Lighting unveiled its first fully-fledged distribution centre in Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai, including fixtures. With a range of 2000 products, the 1,375 square metre warehouse will serve as a strategic hub for the company to expand its presence in the UAE as well as strengthen exports to key markets in the Middle East and Africa. “We are trying to supply products that will help save energy as opposed to a lot of the ones which are present on the market at the moment. If, for instance, you replace existing lighting solutions with LED efficient ones you will succeed in saving energy, and when you save energy you also save money,” said Tamer El Shaer, regional channel manager Middle East GE Lighting. El Shaer also confirmed the lighting experts are currently working with Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah governing bodies to change the emirates’ street lighting fixtures.“We’re working with a lot of municipalities in the UAE to replace traditional street lighting with GE LED solutions. We’re very happy that the government is interested in this new technology,” he said.
Attendees sign up.
. eakers The sp
O. SENS by ine c n forma A per
Waiting for the event to start.
The crowd listens to the speakers.
The green spy
BGreen’s spy takes on littering urging the planet’s inhabitants to stop being lazy and disrespectful
alking down the street near my office the other day, I noticed a gentleman happened to drop the wrapper of his candy bar. As we were only a couple of meters apart when this occurred, I pointed out that he had accidently dropped something. There was a look of confusion so I pointed out the wrapper on the ground and the look switched from confusion to irritation, bordering on anger. We stood there, for a solid three minutes it seemed, him getting angrier and me holding my ground and trying to remain calm. I wasn’t, but hopefully it did not show. And then I won!!! He relented and picked up the plastic wrapper and continued walking in the other direction. I did watch to see if he would drop it again but he still had it when he turned the corner. I have been involved in a few of these encounters and I have also seen someone “accidently” drop large bags of trash while walking, driving or just about any other mode of motion and not said anything. I always want to, but the confrontation that will almost certainly occur stops me. And while it is true that there are some campaigns about raising awareness and even organized litter pick up days, I see parents littering in front of their children or children dropping trash within sight of their parents all the time. This generational aspect is as concerning as the act itself because it means that those kids will likely continue with the actions throughout their lives and their children will too. So, I challenge each of you (another confrontation) to say something to the next person you see littering. Most likely you will be given a dirty look and maybe even told something rude or nasty but there is a chance that as a reward for your level of discomfort a piece of litter will be picked up and you will get someone thinking about the way they interact with their place. I cannot say if our small actions will change the place we live overnight or if it will even ever change it. But I can say that without each of us tackling a problem that we see every day, it will not get better. I use litter here as the most tangible and visually apparent example of environmental consciousness. We see the results of littering every day. We see the act of littering all the time as well. There are no complicated scientific investigations, confusing statistics, vested interested providing contradictory information or corporations profiting from littering. Everyone who is thinking about littering is against it. I suspect those that do it, do it out of laziness and a general lack of understanding and respect for the place in which they happen to be. So, in addition to challenging you to confront the next litterer you see, I also challenge you to pick another environmental issue and do something about that as well. It can be as simple as a quick conversation with someone leaving their car idly running while they run into the shop (I’m always tempted to take this car and move it down the street when I see this) or start a recycling campaign in your building (there are companies that will do the waste pickup if it is sorted and of a sufficient volume) or change your profession to one that is dedicated to environmental awareness or even better actually providing an environmentally preferable solution. And send in your examples!!! The more we do this and see others doing this, the easier it will be. And more importantly, we will be achieving the real world results that are behind all the environmental awareness and activism and business strategies that the natural systems are demanding.
Until next time...
The Green Spy
7th Australia-New Zealand Climate Change & Business conference 2011 August 1
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London United Kingdom
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Solar Arabia Summit September 27-28
Saudi Arabia Dubai STORMWATER 2012
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green. Supported by BGreen, this year’s
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but also non-exhibitors whose products are distributed within the Middle East.
2011 International Conference on Environment and BioScience
World Green Tourism December 5-7
Abu Dhabi UAE
A look at our sustainable heritage
hroughout recorded history, the camel has been a helper to the desert dwellers of the Middle East. For many years, and even on occasion today, the camel not only assisted in providing transportation for humans, it also offered them food, clothing and natural fuel. The camel can carry loads up to 150 kg and its milk is said to be even more nutritious than cow’s milk. A camel’s fur can be used to weave clothes and blankets and, finally, its dung can be used as a fuel for fires, a significant resource in arid
lands where wood is scarce. Today, however these marvellous species are in danger. In the UAE alone, one in every two camels die from eating plastic and litter left in the desert by people. One little boy is trying to make a difference and save these animals that have helped the region’s inhabitants for so long. Read about his mission and join his quest at www.cameronscamelcampaign.com. After years of ensuring our survival, it’s time to help ensure theirs.
Published on Aug 1, 2011
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