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Issue 22 | APRIL 2012



Energy and water | construction | green it | eco-leisure | Green Business Publication Publication licensed licensed byby IMPZ IMPZ


APRIL 2012


18 News

Green Business


News: The latest developments world wide


Climate Bonds in context


Really?! Truth can be stranger than fiction


Ethical Investments: an overview of business trends in renewable energy markets

energy and water



Case in Point: BGreen highlights energy-efficient lighting case studies



Victorian Terraces go green




Earth Hour in the UAE


The Green Spy on energy- harvesting clothing


Diary dates

40 46



All Aboard: A look at rail projects in the GCC


Jourdan Younis: Green Military Facilities


Michael Kramer: eMobility in the UAE


Road to Doha: Towards Sustainable Transportation


Omar Al Jaddou: Save the World

Green IT


Solar Hang-ups: barriers for solar phones




Enhancing Marine Life: a look at the role of artificial reefs in replenishing the UAE’s marine ecosytem

52 April 2012


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Editor’s letter

Desert Express I

t’s the image of idealism: a shiny fifteen-carriage train

this month’s Special Feature: a closer look at the highly-

shimmering under the desert sun, cutting across the

anticipated GCC Rail network. This issue also presents the

undulating golden landscape, while an oryx or two graze

latest legislative measures and masterplans in place regarding

by the tracks.Realising this mass transportation model may

water and electricity conservation, UAE-based case studies on

take years, but with designs drawn, bids won and tenders

energy-efficient lighting, and the potential climate bonds may

dealt, we don’t see the harm in indulging in the dream with

have in financing renewable energy projects in the region.

April 2012 Issue

Praseeda Nair Editor

Director Business Development Rhiannon Downie

Publisher Dominic De Sousa

Marketing and PR Executive Carole McCarthy

Associate Publisher Liam Williams

Team Administrator Leila El Madalla

COO Nadeem Hood

Editorial Director Melanie Mingas

Editor Praseeda Nair Reporter Ben Watts Designer/Photographer Marlou Delaben Photographer Cris Mejorada

Webmasters Troy Maagma Jerus King Bation Erik Briones Joel Azcuna Printed by Printwell Printing Press LLC Published by

Head Office PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 440 9100 Fax: +971 4 447 2409 Web:

© Copyright 2012 CPI. All rights reserved. While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.

April 2012


News | UAE

WETEX Roundup DEWA financially healthy The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) announced that it would repay a Dh1.2 billion securitisation this year ahead of time. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, and Chief Executive Officer of DEWA, said they would use internal resources to repay the securitisation before the November maturity date. Al Tayer said if there were a need to raise external finance, DEWA would raise it from export credit agencies. UAE-Iran power grid project at standstill Dubai has developed a strategic plan to have a power grid with Iran, however no proper response from Iran has been received yet, Al Tayer said. “Dubai and Iran developed the feasibility study three years ago for phase one of a power grid project between the two countries at a Dh4 million cost and with the assistance of international consultants. “This project is very useful for the two countries since they have different peak hours and different weather; however, the project has been frozen at this point,” Al Tayer added at WETEX. Dubai to shift FROM fossil fuels According to Al Tayer said 71 per cent of power generation over the next 30 years would be through natural gas. Under a new strategy, DEWA plans to diversify energy sources so that alternative energy would account for one per cent of Dubai’s total energy by 2020. By 2030, alternative energy power generation will reach five per cent, with 12 per cent from nuclear energy, 12 per cent from clean coal and the remainder from gas. “The strategy will implement the measures of reducing energy demand, assessing its consumption, enhancing its efficiency, identifying areas of high consumption, and applying and assessing technologies for reducing demand for electricity, water and fuel,” said Al Tayer.

April 2012

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance and President of DEWA, told the media that Dubai is currently healthy enough to see through the various planned energy and water solutions in line with the country’s vision for a sustainable future. “Dubai has a 30 per cent energy surplus (and) the completion of the M station for power generation and water desalination plant in Jebel Ali, will increase the power generation capacity (in) the emirates,” he added. The M station for power generation and water desalination at Jebel Ali, will have a production capacity of 2,000 megawatts (MW) and produce 140 million gallons of desalinated water per day, at a cost of more than Dh10 billion. It will constitute one of the main pillars of DEWA’s production capacity, he said. It is expected that the M station’s full production capacity, after being fully commissioned, will reach about 10,000 MWthis year. DEWA reportedly recorded a 4 per cent increase in the number of consumers to 630,000, adding 22,000 new accounts. While only 25 per cent of the new accounts are commercial, the corresponding consumption on average is significantly higher than of residential accounts. “Electricity and water consumption are linked to economic

growth, and this is expected to rise in 2012,” Al Tayer said. “We are building a water storage with a capacity of 170 million gallons for emergency cases,” he added, referring to the reservoir project in Al Gafat as a possible solution. This capacity represents two days worth of water consumption in the city, but can last 30 days in an emergency. Dubai Global Energy Forum announced for 2013 Organised by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, the Dubai Global Energy Forum 2013 will be held from 15 to 16 April during WETEX next year. DGEF brings together global energy experts to exchange perspectives on issues such as clean energy and sustainability. The forum in its second edition will promote and propel discussions and analyses that will lead to real and sustained improvement in the energy sector worldwide. Emirates Energy Awards (EEA), recognising best practices in energy and resource management, will take place on 16 April, during DEFG. It will be organised every two years from 2013.

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News | UAE

UAE utilities ‘beats’ US, EU

At World Smart Grid Conference Middle East 2012, Al Tayer announced that the UAE has “surpassed top ten utilities in America and Europe in terms of availability, reliability and efficiency” “Our network line losses are only 3.49 percent, the Customer Minutes Lost per year are only 5.8 minutes, and DEWA’s Gross Efficiency improvement in production is 20 percent, calculated based on our readings for 2011,” he said. Using smart grids systems in accordance with DEWA’s environmental strategy to mitigate climate change reportedly includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible; ideally, through an environmentally-friendly and secure energy supply mix. “This is just the start. DEWA is building on the significant achievements in our efforts to implement smart grids. We are implementing smarter solutions at almost every layer of our network, from power generation and desalination to the consumer end; thereby generating numerous benefits across each level of the value chain in the energy and water sectors,” he added. The ultimate objectives of this project include upgrading and automation of DEWA’s Electricity and Water metering with interoperable communication systems, remote operation, tamper

April 2012

detection, max demand control and monitoring. In addition, DEWA has already implemented a number of smart technology measures on its electricity networks such as using the latest SCADA systems, intelligent asset monitoring, control and automation. DEWA has improved distribution network efficiency by converting the 6.6 kV network to the more efficient 11kV network resulting in a significant reduction in electricity network losses. “DEWA is now working on a Smart Grid strategy to identify breakthrough opportunities and challenges through the integration of its Smart Grid applications and initiatives. Nonetheless, we understand that utilities are still facing additional barriers: such as the needs to change consumer behavior, ensure costeffectiveness, and to overcome financial constraints, perceived infrastructure complexity, and necessary advances in technologies. The interconnectivity of smart electricity and water technologies and participation of various types of domestic, commercial and industrial users in the smart grid network also shows the need for governance and security. Policies, regulations and international technical standards are still being formulated and updated continuously. Cyber security and risk management strategies for the prevention, detection and effective response and recovery are also still under development. Yet with all the challenges we face, future Smart Grids will take the power and water infrastructure to an advanced new level of control and management, which will present new opportunities for technological advances. For example, Smart transportation technology – in the form of Electric Vehicles and Plug-In-Hybrid Vehicles – will play an important role in future Smart Grids and this will require clear grid integration strategies.”

EAD master plan for water shortage Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) has developed a strategic plan for the management of the Emirate’s water resources to combat the threat of severe shortages in future. The master plan calls for the adoption of stringent eco-friendly measures to increase water production in Abu Dhabi and urges government implementation of water policies to reduce wastage. Dr. Mohamed Dawoud, EAD’s Water Resources Manager, said Abu Dhabi has one of the highest per capita water consumptions in the world, with an average consumption of 550 litres of water per person per day. “This consumption, combined with the predicted population growth in Abu Dhabi to 3.5 million in 2030, means we could face severe water shortages in the future, and need to rethink about water usage efficiency now,” said Dr. Dawoud. “Governments are making efforts to improve water usage efficiency in agriculture through four main pillars - policy and strategy, technologies, legislations and regulations, and education and awareness - to increase the economic value of water and efficient use by farm owners,” he said. He said investment in the latest agricultural technologies and automated irrigation methods, such greenhouses using hydroponic systems, can save up to 40 per cent of water in agriculture, and deliver healthier produce.

WORLD | News

Airtel Africa Incheon to bid launches ‘green for UN Green network’ Climate Fund Mobile operator Airtel Africa announced its drive to reduce its carbon footprint in the continent by building a “green” network. By 2013, the company aims to wean itself off of diesel as the primary source of energy powering its network. Over the past year, it has reduced the number of telecom sites running solely on diesel by more than 50% by overcoming the lack of grid connectivity through the use of innovative models such as the Hybrid Battery Bank. Hybrid Battery Banks collect the excess energy produced by the diesel-powered generator in a battery that works when the generator in switched off. This has helped reduce the use of diesel by up to 14 hours a day. Close to 60% of Bharti Airtel’s telecom sites in Africa are now powered using the Hybrid model, resulting in major reduction in emissions and operating costs for the company. The Company is targeting over 70% of its sites to be powered by the Hybrid model by end of 2013. It added that is also working on the use of solar and wind power in the future. Bharti Airtel said that it has already made significant strides in using solar panels to power sites in select markets. Over the last two months, 105 solar sites have already been set up in Niger reducing the use of diesel generators from 24 hours a day down to 3 to 4 hours. If all the key initiatives - increased grid connectivity, battery hybrid and solar/wind power - are successfully implemented, Airtel will be using 35% less diesel on average to power each site.

Incheon has been selected by the South Korean Ministry of Finance and Strategy as a candidate for the location of the UN Green Climate Fund’s secretariat. The Green Climate Fund or GCF is a UN-operated fund that supports developing countries’ efforts to fight climate change. The location of the GCF’s headquarters will be decided by the 24-member board, and finalised at the climate change conference in Qatar at the end of the year. The board consists of representatives from 12 developed and 12 developing nations. “Being chosen as the location of the UNGCF will provide the opportunity for Songdo International City to become the mecca of low-carbon, green growth,” Incheon Mayor Song Young-gil said in a statement. Songdo International City is a planned urban area in Incheon. Song added that Incheon will also try to host the Global Green Growth Institute and the Green Technology Center, and requested public support for the city’s bids. So far, China, Germany, Mexico and Switzerland have announced that they hope to establish the GCF secretariat in their cities. Being based in Asia is expected to help Incheon’s bid as it will help balance international environmental organisations, which are mostly based in Europe and North America. Incheon will be formally entered as a candidate for the site of the GCF headquarters by April 15.

Aviation Summit calls for unified approach to emissions reductions The sixth Aviation and Environment Summit held at the end of March discussed the contribution of the aviation industry to sustainable development. The Summit concluded with the adoption of an industry declaration titled “Aviation Benefits Beyond Boundaries,” as a joint message to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). The Summit, which convened in Geneva, brought together over 350 participants including representatives from the aviation industry, civil society, governments and suppliers. In a keynote address, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism, South Africa, called on Europe to suspend the integration of civil aviation into its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for two years, in order to give time for the development of a global framework under the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). In the “Aviation Benefits Beyond Boundaries” declaration, industry leaders commit to continue to deliver on its shortterm promise to increase fuel efficiency by 1.5%per year through 2020, and broaden their commitment towards sustainable development by capping net aircraft carbon emissions from 2020 and reducing net carbon emissions by 50 per cent from 2005 levels, by 2050.

April 2012



News | REALLY?!

BGreen presents some of the world’s most surprising green news

Blood Lighting Netherlands-based designer Mike Thompson explores a new type of renewable source for lighting, challenging our rising demand for energy in light of depleting natural resources


owered by blood, Mike Thompson’s project, “Blood Lamp,” is an environmentally-focused social experiment aimed at measuring the value of generated power. “The average American consumes 3383kwh of energy per year. That’s equivalent to leaving the light on in four rooms for a whole year. The simple flick of a switch allows us to power appliances and gadgets 24/7 without a thought to where it comes from and the cost to the environment,” Thompson explains.

April 2012

Taking the meaning of ‘scarce resources’ to another level, the project involves a glass container and a chemical concoction that can only be activated by blood. The glass decanter’s top needs to be broken, then powder needs to be mixed in, and finally, a few drops of blood are required to activate the mix. The solution in the glass decanter contains luminol, a chemical used by forensic scientists to detect traces of blood, which reacts with iron in red blood cells to give off a neon blue glow. This blood-powered lamp is only

for one-time use, which, according to Thompson, is the entire point of the project. “By creating a lamp that can only be used once, the user must consider when light is needed the most, forcing them to rethink how wasteful they are with energy, and how precious it is.” Thompson’s project is more a poetic statement about scarcity and human behaviour than a marketable innovation. His portfolio illustrates his views on sustainability, biotechnology and psychology of the individual and society as a whole.

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Going Green in the UAE BGreen singles out the best of the best green initiatives with our seal of approval

in the PUMA Creative Factory T7 Workshop at their HQ in Dubai. Open to the public across Iran, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, designs are selected based on online votes. The most popular contributors get an all-expenses paid trip to Dubai, where their design can be made into a reality with the help of selected artists, filmmakers, musicians, fashion bloggers and designers from the region who have been flown in to participate in the project.

The world’s first recycled jacket to get redesigned in Dubai Made of 100 per cent recycled polyester, PUMA’s iconic T7 Jacket is open to a customised facelift through their recently launched “Built for one” competition. Participants are encouraged to log on to a Facebook application to create their own virtual T7 jacket design, varying colours and stamps, before 8 April. Those with winning designs are selected to participate

April 2012

PUMA’s Clever Little Innovation Another green initiative undertaken by PUMA is the launch of the Clever Little Bag in its stores. PUMA’s new packaging system saves more than 65% of paper and 60% water, energy and fuel consumption annually. Using less packaging, fewer raw materials and less water and energy in production than traditional shoeboxes, this bag translates to annual reductions of 8,500 tonnes of paper, 20 megajoules of electricity and 1 million litres of fuel and water annually. The Clever Little Bag has been highly successfully in its stores across Europe and America since its launch in 2010, and was displayed for the first time in Dubai at the last EPIC Sustainable Living Expo.

Jumeirah Emirates Towers gets Green Globe Certified Following a recent sustainability audit, the five-star Jumeirah Emirates Towers is the first of the Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts to be accredited with Green Globe Certification (GGC). GGC is the premier worldwide sustainability stamp for the tourism industry, with only roughly 800 businesses in 50 countries having met the 349 standards to date. In the UAE, Farnek Avireal holds exclusive rights to utilise the Green Globe brand for hotels in 20 different countries across the Middle East. Jumeirah Emirates Towers achieved a compliance score of 85% against the Green Globe Standard for Sustainable Travel & Tourism. Actions taken to improve sustainability performance already resulted in substantial cost savings for the hotel. The hotel now has an ambitious goal for 2012: to reduce energy use by 5% through initiatives such as LED light implementation and energyefficient coolers. In addition to the recent GGC certification, Jumeirah Emirates Towers is also recognised for its broad CSR programme which includes energy and water reductions throughout the hotel, a Sustainability Management Plan, an integrated room automation system and a Building Management System which monitors and controls the air conditioning and electrical devices when guests enter or leave their room. Jumeirah Emirates Towers also launched a ‘Daily Environmental Package’ for meetings, offering customers the opportunity to choose a greener and more affordable option than a regular ‘Daily Delegate Package’; it includes, for example, filtered water placed in carafes on the tables throughout a meeting instead of offering individual 300 ml plastic bottles to each participant.

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Climate Change Warriors BGreen shines light on The CArboun Initiative

BGreen: Although recently launched, Carboun seems to have a strong and unified vision for the future. What do you think catalysed the formation of the initiative? Karim Elgendy: The initial catalyst behind Carboun was a fundamental belief in the global need to transition to a more sustainable development model for our cities and a desire to reverse the adverse impacts that the Middle East’s prevalent development models have had on its economic development. Carboun was also born out of a personal concern regarding the scarcity of information about the region, especially where it relates to the built environment. This concern helped shape Carboun’s mission to include creating a body of regional knowledge that others can build on. Wissam Yassine: I think this is related to Carboun’s pace of development. The founders of the initiative were very careful not to expand its activities too fast to ensure that the initiative’s vision and objectives were maintained. They initially launched the initiative at a small scale without much of a fanfare and focused on developing quality content that would raised awareness and attract likeminded people to the initiative. This worked out very well that when the initiative decided to expand it was very successful in attracting talented individuals who believed in and shared Carboun’s objective of promoting sustainability and environmental conservation in the Middle East.

April 2012

BGreen: How do you see Carboun developing in the coming months? Are there any particular milestones you wish to cross? KE: In addition to the exciting projects we are currently working on, we also have plans for growth for the coming few month. We have recently debuted our Carboun Ambassador and Carboun Student Ambassador programs in Lebanon and Jordan, where they received an overwhelmingly positive response. Our plan is to roll these programs into other countries and to initiative advocacy work into a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt.  WY: Having the UNFCCC’s Conference of Parties (at which major climate change negotiations take place) in Doha is an unmatched opportunity to raise awareness of climate change issues in the Middle East. For that reasons we have decided to focus our attention and efforts on this objective through the Road to Doha project. We are also working on several other projects in parallel such as the Lebanon 24/7 Electricity project and the Storytelling Sustainability project in Jordan. We hope we will share updates on these exciting projects soon. BGreen: How did the “Road to Doha” project come about and how is it being coordinated across countries? KE: The credit for the initial idea goes to our National Coordinator in the UAE, Wissam Yassine. His initial proposal was unanimously welcomed by the entire team, who saw the presence of such a global event in the region for the first time a great opportunity to raise awareness of climate change in the region. We believe issues relating to climate change and its impacts are not sufficiently covered in the region and thus took it upon ourselves to bring the global debate to the region and to advocate for a sustainable future for its people. WY: Well, we were having one of our regular conference calls earlier this year, and were discussing the fact that the COP

18 would be held in Doha and it seemed obvious that this is a great opportunity to promote sustainability and climate change awareness in the region. Thus we decided to launch a year-long project which would run up to the conference in late November, and to culminate our project with live conference coverage. The project will include country analyses of 10 representative MENA countries, looking at the source of their greenhouse gas emissions, how they are impacted by climate change, steps they have been taking to mitigate or adapt to climate change and future steps to be taken. Our national coordinators around the MENA region carry out these country analyses. BGreen: Wissam, how are you finding your role as the UAE National Coordinator so far? Any exciting new plans in the pipeline? WY: Volunteering with Carboun has been a very rewarding and challenging endeavour. Being the UAE National coordinator is a really special role because of the vision and the leadership the UAE has demonstrated in adopting sustainable development practices and strategies. The country is home to many of the most significant sustainability initiatives in the MENA region. Masdar city, housing the IRENA headquarters, the Estidama program in Abu Dhabi and the green building code in Dubai, the construction of Noor 1 and Shams 1 solar power stations, and launching the nuclear energy program, are but a few examples. Keeping up with all of these development requires great effort, but I think we are doing a good job.  As for our upcoming plans, we are currently preparing for a series of film screenings and discussion sessions, focusing on global warming and its impacts on the MENA region. The sessions will be part of the Road to Doha project. We are currently finalising the details and hope to hold the first session in early May.

To read this month’s installment of Road to Doha: Towards Sustainable Transportation, please turn to page 38.


Operation Sustainability: Green Military Facilities Jourdan Younis investigates the issue of sustainability in the context of military bases


hile you may be forgiven for not thinking of the US military as a green and “tree huggerish” organisation, Old Ironsides is actually one of the leading forces in the development and deployment of sustainable technologies. In fact, when one digs a bit deeper, the reasons for this interest become all too apparent. With personnel nearly double the population of Dubai and a fleet of over 500,000 vehicles, the US Department of Defense (DoD) is a sprawling and energyhungry organisation. As the world’s largest consumer of energy, the DoD allocates over US$15 billion per year towards energy procurement. Even when only judged by this stark data, the DoD is in a natural position to take the lead in the implementation of sustainable technologies. When this is added to the strategic and risk heavy components of logistics transport security (80% of convoys are fuel trucks and 40% of all combat causalities are logistics related), it is no wonder that the military is taking aim at these issues and is investing heavily in clean renewable fuels, water efficiency and waste reclamation measures. According to Dr Ash Carter, the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, “protecting large convoys (fuel, water, food) imposes a huge burden on combat forces” and “reducing these demands would move the department more towards an efficient force structure by enabling more combat forces supported by fewer logistics assets, reducing operating costs, and mitigating budget effects caused by commodity price volatility.” Essentially, it is expensive in terms of both financial and human commitments to keep military bases, especially forward operating bases, stocked

with water and fuel. Therefore, in a similar although more urgent manner to what we experience in the civilian sector, sustainability is a force multiplier and it makes pure economic sense for the military to develop its green credentials. In late 2010 the DoD and Department of Energy (DOE) signed an agreement to identify a framework for cooperation and partnership in the development and testing of sustainable energy technologies. Since then the Pentagon has committed to investing US$10 billion per year in Cleantech deployment, the Airforce has committed to obtaining 60% of its liquid fuel requirements from bio-derived sources, and 20 Army bases have been signed up as net zero pilot projects. Of the 20 currently operating Army installations, six have been identified in each of the energy, water and waste categories and two integrated installations are striving for net zero (in all three categories) by 2020. Each of these bases, in their respective categories, will only consume as much energy or water as they produce and will eliminate solid waste sent to landfills. Interestingly enough, the DoD began investing in renewable energy in the early 1980s with a 270-megawatt geothermal power plant at the China Lake Naval Air

Weapons Station (California) which supplies power for the entire base, and more recently with a 0.6 square km solar farm at Nellis Air Force base (Nevada) which is the second largest solar installation in the US. What does this mean for the broader population? Because military bases often function as fully operational towns, the lessons learned and the approaches applied there could be applied more broadly in civilian towns and cities. In addition when looked at from the perspective of remote forward operating bases which are typically off grid, there is potential of harnessing some of these technologies in the developing world where the infrastructure is not as robust and the local population is in need of technologies which will enable them to “leapfrog” energy and water availability in a similar nature to cell phones leapfrogging landline distribution infrastructure. As with the investment in the technologies behind the Internet and the military research that served as the basis for the civilian nuclear power industry, the military challenges solved through innovation at the DoD’s sustainable laboratories is expected to yield spin-off technologies that will benefit the civilian and community as well. Next on the horizon, the hybrid hydrogen fuel-cell Abrams tanks…

Jourdan Younis is the Managing Director for Alpin Limited, Masdar City - Abu Dhabi, an instructor for LEED at American University of Sharjah and an instructor for Estidama at the Urban Planning Council – Abu Dhabi. His background spans London Business School, California Polytechnic University, and several international sustainability consulting operations including Sowwah Square in Abu Dhabi and the Energy Foundation in San Francisco. Contact him at

April 2012



Energy & Water

Case in point:

Energy-Saving Lighting

Salaam Street, Abu Dhabi Ruud Lighting Arabia

April 2012

Energy & Water

Phasing out inefficient lighting is one of the most effortless moves building owners and developers can adopt to cut costs, carbon emissions, and combat climate change. BGreen presents our top picks among the growing number of energy-saving lighting case studies in the UAE

Case Study: Salaam Street, Abu Dhabi Product: BetaLED Ruud Lighting Arabia In efforts to revamp the capital’s infrastructure, Abu Dhabi has been extensively working on its main vein, Salaam Street since October 2007. BetaLED luminaires were chosen by the Abu Dhabi Municipality to replace high-pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures along the 18 km stretch of road. Each 1000watt HPS fixture from the original design was replaced by two 277-watt BetaLED luminaires with 240 LEDs each. A total of 658 BetaLED street lights were used along the road. The Salaam Street renovation project includes the Salaam Tunnel, a 2.6 km-long, 8-lane, two-tube tunnel, which aims to double existing traffic capacity to approximately 6,000 cars per hour. By December 2011, the government of Abu Dhabi had successfully completed the installation of 5,016 interior zone Cree LED luminaires in the tunnel, using Ruud Lighting Arabi’s BetaLED technology. Savings: BetaLED luminaires can potentially last upwards of 15 years with nearly zero maintenance, adding to long-term savings. The Salaam Street retrofit has led to a 50 per cent reduction in energy consumption. A portion of the original lighting design of the Salaam Tunnel suggested the use of two 58-watt fluorescent luminaires. The one-to-one replacement using 48-watt units resulted in a marked reduction of 60 per cent. The technology also allows for an estimated 80,000 hours of use, compared to HPS fixtures that provide roughly 10,000 burning hours. Case Study: AlDar HQ, Abu Dhabi Product: Tetra Contour LED GE Lighting As a LEED-certified building, AlDar HQ along Al Raha Beach, is known for its energy and water saving construction principles. For lighting its facade, more than 600 metres of GE Lighting’s Tetra Contour LED architectural lighting were installed around the disc-shaped exterior of the building. GE’s Contour system is a flexible LED light that can be moulded to take on nearly any shape.

April 2012



Energy & Water AlDar HQ, Abu Dhabi GE Lighting

Below: Atkins Ring Road, Abu Dhabi

SolarOne Solutions and Gargash Lighting Systems

Savings: The lighting system has a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours, or more than five years of continuous use. As an alternative to the more breakable neon glass lighting, the Tetra Contour LED system is weather-resistant. Case Study: Meydan Bridge Product: e Colour Graze Power Core Philips The bright blue wave-shaped bridge that links the Meydan Race Course and Meydan Hotel to the main road has become iconic over the years, overlooking one of Dubai’s busiest highways and framing part of the Business Bay skyline off Al Khail Road. The Meydan Bridge is made up of the VIP Bridge and its extension, the Royal Bridge, allowing members of the Royal family and other dignitaries access to the grounds, especially during events like the annual Dubai World Cup. The bridge resembles an undulating wave, and Philips was commissioned to illuminate

this structure to add to its aesthetic appeal with a maintenance-free linear continuous projector. The Philips’ eW Graze Power Core was selected for the project, but the designed called for blue LEDs, which led to the development of a new product—Philips e Colour Graze Power Core. This modified design allows for various colour options. Savings: The maintenance-free outdoor solution used LED technology to provide 100 per cent energy efficiency, with an extended lifespan. Each 2-feet-long unit has a maximum of 35-watts at full output. Continuous interconnection of the units enabled quick installation of the entire system.

Case Study: Atkins Ring Road, Masdar City Product: LOS (Shoebox Series), LCS (Canopy Series) SolarOne Solutions; Gargash Lighting Systems (GLS) Prior to selecting SolarOne as their provider for outdoor lighting, Masdar evaluated Solar‐powered fixtures for their durability and performance in adverse desert conditions when visibility is markedly low. SolarOne and GLS first worked closely with Masdar and their contractors to develop a lighting plan that would illuminate the incoming roadway and parking areas around the site offices. Through a combination of SolarOne’s LOS (Shoebox Series) fixture for the parking lots and roadways, and the LCS (Canopy Series) lighting system, the designated areas are illuminated to an average of over 6 lux during peak hours. For lighting the Atkins Ring Road that encircles most of the 6.3 square-km expanse of land, a combination of dual and single‐fixture LOS systems (using light engines at 50 or 60-watts) were to provide an average of 15 Lux along the road.

Meydan Bridge, Dubai Philips

April 2012

Washing machines


Consumption per kg laundry (hot/colours 60°C)

Consumption per kg laundry (cotton, cupboard dry, rotation speed: 1,000 rpm)

Energy consumption*

Energy consumption*

Water consumption*

0.26 kWh

0.13 kWh

13.0 Litres

7.0 Litres





up to

–50 %

0.61 kWh

0.23 kWh



up to

–46 %

*Based on a normal programme setting, comparison of consumption values for the Siemens WM14S743 Washing Machine from 2011 with values for a comparable standard Siemens appliance from 1996 during a standard 60°C whites/coloureds cycle with a full load.

up to

–62 %

*Based on a normal programme setting, comparison of consumption values for the Siemens WT 46W562 Condensation Dryer from 2011 with values for a comparable standard Siemens appliance from 1996.

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consumption in all categories, while continuing to be Germany’s number 1 choice. Exclusive agents: UAE: Better Life (Dubai), Gulf Technical Company (Abu Dhabi). Kuwait: Ali Abdulwahab, Sons & Co. Qatar: Almana & Partners W.L.L. Bahrain: Khalaifat Co. W.L.L. Oman: Khimji Ramdas.

Siemens. The future moving in.


Energy & Water Left: Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dubai ETAP

SolarOne solar powered lighting systems use high efficiency 6500 Kelvin white LEDs with a broad-spectrum. Savings: The LED lamps themselves are IP65 Rated, eliminating the need for protective secondary lenses. As a result, the SolarOne system is able to reduce energy consumption by only using a fraction of the lumens needed by other light sources. This translates to smaller solar panels, fewer batteries and lower cost. SolarOne’s patent-pending SO-Bright technology employs maximum power point tracking, temperature compensation and Battery SOC algorithms to manage the fixture’s light output and adapt to low power input conditions such as cloudy days, and sandstorms. At installation, the units are more expensive than their counterparts as the lights are effectively equipped with their own “power plant.” These costs are quickly offset as the solar units do not need power lines to be trenched, and underground cabling and ducting can be completely avoided. Unlike conventional lighting, the systems become operational the moment that they are put in place. The Masdar site office area was illuminated within a week of unpacking the equipment and the roadway was illuminated within 3 weeks. Case Study: Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry Product: Hexagonal (HaloOptics) Diffusers, D4 LED Downlights, Flare LED Spots, R4 Suspended Luminaires, U5 Recessed Luminaires ETAP Towards the end of 2010 the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry started renovation works on its headquarters in

April 2012

Bani Yas Street. As the first building in the region to earn a LEED EB2.0 sustainbility certificate, it was a top priority for Dubai Chamber to retrofit several departments and common areas with energy-efficient lighting solutions. 72 tailor-made hexagonal diffusors, 302 D4 LED downlights, 199 Flare LED spots, 19 R4 suspended luminaires, and18 U5 recessed luminaires were used in the renovation project. The interior honeycomb ceiling was retrofitted with a hexagonal luminaire with a diameter of 1.35 metres with three 14-watt fluorescent lamps and a HaloOptics diffuser. Savings: The LED luminaires have a long life span, are low in maintenance and environmentally friendly and thus fit perfectly in the sustainability concept of the Dubai Chamber. The retrofit led to 75 per cent reduction in energy consumption. Between 1998 and 2008, Dubai Chamber’s energy and water efficient intiatives have led to a drop in energy consumption by 47 per cent, and water consumption by 77 per cent. Thanks to these measures the Chamber was able to save about US$1.93 million in that 10-year timeframe. Case Study: Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa Product: OPTILED SUPER STAR MR16 Laser and Electronics Middle East In August last year, Laser and Electronics Middle East took on a retrofitting project, installing 700 Cree LED lights in the previously halogen-lit guest corridors of the Armani Hotel. The 50W Halogen lamps that were replaced would operate 24 hours a day, racking up massive figures in terms of power consumption and subsequent electricity bills. The installing of the 3.5W

OPTILED SUPERSTAR has reportedly led to saving over 2000 lamp changes each year. Savings: Laser and Electronics projects a return on investment in less than a year. Low heat emissions from these units are also projected to reduce the load on airconditioning requirements. Their product performance study indicates that the hotel’s total power consumption has dramatically reduced by 21,873.6 kWh per month. The bottom line figures suggest massive annual savings of Dh 112,328.53 since the retrofit. This energy-saving move has also saved the hotel a projected figure of over 140 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. Case Study: Grand Hyatt Dubai Product: Illume LED SpotOn Ecobility The Grand Hyatt replaced 1,500 halogen light bulbs in 2010 , with the same number of energy-efficicent SpotOn LED bulbs from the Illume lighting range. The retrofit was applied to common areas like corridors and elevators. Each unit consumes 5-watts of power, compared to energy-draining halogen counterparts. Savings: The timeline for return on investment, according to Grand Hyatt, was within 10 months of installment. The retrofit reportedly cut down emissions by 630 tonnes, with energy savings of up to 90 per cent. The SpotOn line has 20 times the lifespan of halogen lamps at 40,000 hours, which translates to 4.5 years when used 24 hours a day.

Grand Hyatt, Dubai

Laser and Electronics Middle East


The Victorian Terrace and BASF

BRE’s staff and its partners celebrating the official opening of the Victorian Terrace back in 2010.

A Victorian showcase BGreen travels to the UK to visit the sustainable wonders on display at the Building Research Establishment’s (BRE) headquarters, including a Victorian-era terrace, which has been renovated to demonstrate energy-saving solutions in older buildings

UK Prime Minister David Cameron (right) visited the site to find out more about the latest innovations in sustainable construction.

April 2012


estled between the urban sprawl of suburban London and the UK capital’s orbital motorway is hidden a building innovation centre that houses more than its fair share of surprises. Among the highlights of the Building Research Establishment’s (BRE) Innovation Park are a sustainable modular home, the coveted low-tech Prince’s House, and a healthcare campus designed

to help people manage their conditions more independently in their own homes. The centre is a mishmash of buildings from decades past and one of its foremost historical features is the recently-refurbished Victorian Terrace, within which the global chemicals giant BASF is among a number of partner companies showcasing various energy-saving construction solutions.

The Victorian Terrace and BASF

BRE renovated a disused 1850’s stable block and transformed it into three energy-efficient terraced homes”

of the Victorian Terrace close to 90 per cent of the original building was retained, including the roof. “The building is more than 155 years old and every single aspect of the building was analysed to see what we could keep and what really had to be replaced,” he adds.

The interior of BASF’s presentation room on the ground floor of the property.

Writing the rulebook BRE, a former government-funded organisation, is responsible for bringing BREEAM — Britain’s leading green building rating system — to fruition. Today, as a private organisation, BRE continues to carry out a broad range of research projects as a UKAS Accredited Testing Laboratory, alongside a variety of commercial programmes and contracted work. In the Victorian Terrace, BRE renovated a disused 1850’s stable block and transformed it into three energy-efficient terraced homes, which have each built to emit lower levels of carbon dioxide and provide sustainable alternatives to traditional or popular construction methods. The first phase of the project was completed in 2010 and upgraded significant parts of the timeworn building from an energy performance rating of band F to one capable of achieving grades in bands A and B. BRE Group marketing and communications head Peter White says: “We tried to keep as much of the original building as we could, because that is part of the story, and in the case

Interactive inspiration As a leading player within the construction industry supply chain, BASF has been able to utilise its research resources and global industry experience to bring to market a broad range of sustainable construction formulations and energy-efficient systems. Teaming up with both customers and designers from different markets


Spraying away the cold Walltite is a closed-cell foam insulation system that can be sprayed directly onto its target area. The foam was applied to the south wall of BASF’s presentation room in the Victorian Terrace, onto a wall that was previously unstable. Following a number of structural repairs to the wall and the removal of the previous insulation material, Walltite was sprayed directly onto a rough, bare-brick substrate to a thickness of 100mm. One of the key time-saving properties of this product is that there is no need to use a primer or levelling coat and its strength has played a key role in strengthening a previously unsound surface. The structure of the chemicals within the mix controls the movement of vapour and moisture throughout the building, which in turn reduces the risk of mould and condensation.

The Victorian Terrace was originally built in 1855 and has undergone several refurbishments during its long history.

across the world, BASF has been able to demonstrate how energy efficiency in buildings can be achieved and, as a leading partner of BRE and its renovation of the Victorian Terrace, the company has found a classic building in which it can highlight the abilities of it products. “One of the difficulties we have at BASF is in trying to get people to understand were we fit in within the sustainable construction industry, but this building has helped us do that in an interactive manner,” says BASF construction market development manager for the UK and Ireland Deryn Gilbey.

April 2012



The Victorian Terrace and BASF BRE Innovation Park The BRE Innovation Park is a ground-breaking demonstration development, designed to give a glimpse of how the future delivery of sustainable buildings and communities can be achieved. The park is part museum, part research facility, with buildings dating from various eras of British construction sat alongside modern testing facilities. The park provides an educational resource for construction industry professionals who want to learn about the latest innovative techniques being implemented at project sites across the UK and beyond. Working with some of the leading players from within the construction sector, many of the site’s buildings have been designed to showcase the latest modern methods of construction. This remarkable site features more than 400 innovative products and emerging technologies.

ABOVE: The renovated Victorian Terrace at BRE Innovation Park on the outskirts of London. RIGHT: A phase change Micronal PCM ceiling is one of the standout features within BASF’s presentation room.

The company’s ground floor presentation area showcases sustainable thermal insulation solutions and uses modern building materials that could provide affordable and low-carbon solutions to older buildings. Among the products on display are BASF’s unique phase change Micronal PCM ceiling panels, its Walltite spray foam wall insulation, and its distinctive Neopor foam. “In applying these products you can save energy and reduce your carbon footprint,” says Gilbey. “The ease of use of our Walltite spray foam product certainly set it apart from its competitors,” he remarks. “It’s fast, there’s less waste than from traditional insulation materials, and we use guaranteed applicators called ‘foammasters’ who have been preapproved by BASF.” BASF’s phase change Micronal PCM is able to absorb the heat from a room and return it when the room begins to cool. “When the temperature rises within a room, the PCM is activated and absorbs

April 2012

the latent heat,” says Gilbey. “It goes from a solid to a liquid during a process that contains the heat within a capsule,” he explains. When the temperature drops at night it again goes through a phase change by releasing the trapped heat back into the room, thereby taking the load off traditional heating and ventilation systems that would normally control the temperature of the room.” The Victorian Terrace has become one of the star attractions at BRE’s headquarters and, with the UK’s housing stock releasing close to 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, the organisation is demonstrating how upgraded old buildings could play a crucial role in reducing the country’s emission levels. By focusing on internal and external insulation solutions, such as those being demonstrated on the ground floor of the terrace, BRE is introducing innovative solutions to the next generation of construction experts in an interactive and inspirational way.


GREAT GRANULES Composed of small black beads of polystyrene (EPS) granules, BASF’s Neopor insulation solution contains a blowing agent that makes it expandable. The product can be processed into a wide array of shapes and sizes, and can be used as an insulating material for a range of different applications, proving a popular choice in both new builds and renovated properties. Neopor foams contain graphite, which considerably increases its insulation performance, while the small black beads are foamed by converters on conventional EPS machines, before being processed into silver-grey foam blocks and moulded parts.



The Victorian Terrace and BASF

New Careers Section Powered by

This month, the BGreen Website is getting a major overhaul.

Kickstart your career at the BGreen Career Section, where you can find the latest job listings across sustainable industries. Visit and click on Careers Section April 2012

KRAMER | Comment

e-Mobility in the UAE Dr. Michael Krämer, Senior Associate at international law firm Taylor Wessing, shares his experience with his electric vehicle in Dubai.


he German government aims to have a million electric vehicles on German streets by 2020. Around 4,500 were registered by the end of 2011, so there are just another 995,500 to go… It is safe to say that people are somewhat sceptical when it comes to using electric vehicles in daily life. This is reason enough to take a look at what electric driving is really like. I have been driving a Tazzari Zero since October 2010 and have since clocked up around 12,000 kilometers of purely electrical driving. My car has a realistic range of 80 to 100 km and a top speed of 100 km/h. I recharge it in our garage at home overnight using a household 13A power outlet. In essence, driving an electric vehicle is not much different from driving a conventional car. Electric vehicles have an engine, four wheels and a steering wheel, so basically everything is the same as we are used to in “normal” cars. Electric vehicles only have two gears, however; one for forward and the other one to reverse. That is it—and it is perfectly sufficient. So what distinguishes electric from conventional driving? Driving an electric vehicle requires a bit more planning than driving a petrol engined car. The range is limited and the “tank” cannot simply be filled at one of the many petrol stations

around. This rules out the spontaneous trip to Fujairah, but is perfectly sufficient for about 95% of all travel. I am using the car for my daily commute to and from work, and occasionally a trip to visit friends at night. The distance I need to travel on a daily basis is rarely longer than what my vehicle is able to provide. The remaining 5% of longer trips do require another car, which means that owning an electric car alone is not enough. If attention is what you are after, there is nothing better than an electric car. Never before in my life have I felt more popular. People that I have never seen before take pictures or even video record me (or could it be the car?) on Sheikh Zayed Road, very much to the dismay of the proud owner of a stock Ferrari or pimped up Chevy Silverado next to me. How about servicing? Many things can be done by your normal mechanic. After all, even electric cars are just cars. Problems with the engine or batteries should be taken care of by a trustworthy electrician, but even batteries and electric engines have been around for decades, so you don’t need a rocket scientist to get these parts fixed. Is it more environmentally friendly? This depends, really. If the car is charged with electricity that is generated by burning fossil fuels it might be more

I am currently working on getting a solar roof installation approved by DEWA”

environmentally friendly to drive a fuel efficient diesel powered car (of which there are none around in the UAE). Electric vehicles are really “green” only if powered by electricity from renewable sources, which is why I am currently working on getting a solar rooftop installation approved by the Dubai Energy and Water Authority. Would I buy another electric car? Yes, but I think I might opt either for a Tesla Model S with a longer range of up to 450 km. Or I might opt for a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt or Fisker Karma, both of which have a petrol engine on board that generates the required electricity once the batteries are out of charge. Having a car that is good for 95% of all travel is good, but the remaining 5% can become an issue sometimes. Contact Dr Krämer at

April 2012



Special Feature

From left to right: GCC Rail Network route; Etihad Rail Network Route and expected cargo; Projected Haramain High-speed Rail Station

All Aboard! In 40 years, it is projected that the global population will exceed nine billion, with two out of every three people living in cities. Accelerating urbanisation, depleting fossil fuels and climate change have created a formidable challenge for urban planning and public transportation. BGreen reviews where the region stands and if there really is a light at the end of the tunnel for the massive GCC Rail Network that has been in the pipeline for years


hile podcars and jetpacks might still retain their futuristic appeal, the GCC is rapidly realising that the real future lies in developing mass public transportation systems to sustainably serve the region’s growing urban population. 2011 saw a series of multibillion-dollar contract awards for massive railway projects—from the first phase of the UAE’s US$11 billion national railway to the US$7.9 billion Haramain high-speed railway in Saudi Arabia. The long-brewing interest in railway systems is gaining momentum, and is

April 2012

expected to grow in the coming months, following last year’s lead. THE GCC RAIL NETWORK According to a report released in Q4 of 2011 by Kuwait-based investment bank, Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz), a total of $79 bn has been set for investment in new railway projects in the region until 2020, including the $30 bn GCC Rail Network that has been in its planning stages for years. The network will include one rail line of 1,970 km connecting all GCC countries and Qatar via a bridge. The second line of 1,984 km will stretch between Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and end in Oman. Land acquisition expenditures for the project are estimated at $3.1 bn, while the cost of purchasing trains and locomotives is budgeted at $1.8 bn. Work on the railway will ideally start this year following the completion of feasibility studies. The consortium of consultants for the project include Canrail, Khatib and Alami and Partners, Systra (feasibility study), and Booz & Company – Middle East. Starting from Kuwait, the route

will pass through the east of Saudi Arabia through Dammam, connecting to Bahrain through a bridge that runs parallel to the King Fahd Causeway, before reaching Qatar via Salwa. UAE and Saudi Arabia will be connected through another line that will run through Bathaa. The line will also run through Abu Dhabi and Al Ain to reach Oman through Sahar and Muscat. Qatar and Bahrain will close the loop by a road-rail bridge connection. Once completed, the master plan includes a potential link to the railways of Jordan, Syria and Turkey for a massive pan-Arabia network. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES The Etihad Rail network is being developed in three stages. Stage One focuses on the development of the Western Region route between Shah, Habshan. For this stage, Etihad Rail has signed a formal agreement with their first customer, ADNOC, to transport sulphur from its sources in Shah and Habshan to its point of export at Ruwais. This route, running through Shah, Mezaira’a, Madinat

Special Feature

Etihad Rail’s network will span a total of 1,200km across the Emirates”

Zayed, Habshan, Mirfa and Ruwais, will cover a distance of 266 km. With the implementation of the subsequent stage of the Etihad Rail network, the railway will also run to Sila, Tarif and Ghweifat and cover a total distance in the Western Region of 416 km. Later stages will also see the Western Region connected by rail to the rest of the Emirates and the GCC. By the end of project construction on all three stages, Etihad Rail’s network will span a total of 1,200 km across the Emirates and connect urban and remote communities, facilitating trade, opening up communication channels and fostering economic development. The network will also form a vital part of the GCC Railway Network - linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west, and Oman via Al Ain in the east. According to Etihad’s Business Development Manager Nooh Al Hammadi, the growing demand for rail networks in the region is mostly due to the effectiveness of mass transport systems, both economically and environmentally, comparing the capacity between a fully loaded train and the current road model of using lorries and freight trucks. Speaking at a community outreach seminar at Madinat Zayed, representatives like Al Hammadi outlined

Etihad’s progress so far and plans for the future. He estimates that the capacity of 300 lorries can be replaced in one train journey, leading to an 80 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions as well. Barriers between the rail tracks and the environment have been planned to protect wildlife from crossing the route. Mohammed Al Mansoori, a representative of the project management team, highlighted the project’s efforts to lessen negative environmental impact by taking the fragility of the desert ecosystem into consideration. The rail route will allow for natural streams and waterways by building passages underneath the rail system at six-kilometre intervals. The civil and track works for the first phase of the project was awarded to a consortium of companies (Saipem, Tecnimonth and Dodsal Engineering and Construction) in October last year, totalling $898 mn. This year will see the actual carrying out of the design process, the procurement of materials and construction of the rudimentary railway infrastructure, as well as testing and commissioning the route. The phase will also include the earth works and track site grading, bridge structures, communication systems and the

development of a depot at Mirfa. Following this phase, construction of phase two should move swiftly towards the end of the year. The later stages of construction will link the domestic rail network to the rest of the GCC. SAUDI ARABIA The final construction contract for phase two of the Haramain High-Speed Railway along the Medina-Jeddah-Mecca route, was awarded in late 2011 to Al– Shoula Consortium that comprises a number of Saudi and Spanish Companies, including Renfe, Adif and Talgo. This Phase of the project includes the construction of railway tracks, installation of signaling and telecommunication systems, electrification, operational control centre, the procurement of 35 high-speed trainsets, and the operation and maintenance for a period of 12 years. Talgo will provide 34 high-speed passenger trainsets from its Talgo 350 series, which will be based on trains already proved on service in Spain since 2003. An added VIP trainset will be

A total of $79 bn has been set for investment in new railway projects in the region until 2020, including the $30 bn GCC Rail Network”

April 2012



Special Feature

provided for the exclusive use of the royal family. Each trainset will have 12 coaches, with seats for 400-500 passengers, and a top speed of 300 km per hour. With a total length of 449 km, the Haramain Rail Link will be the second High-Speed railway line in Middle East after Turkey’s railway system, and it will serve five main stations: Medina, King Abdullah Economic City - Rabigh, King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah and Mecca. The Mecca Mass Railway Transit (MMRT) system is currently in its planning stages, with Mecca Municipality having appointed Ernst & Young and Ashurst as advisers for the project in 2011. Furthermore, feasibility studies for a light rail system in Jeddah were conducted in August, adding to the kingdom’s move for mass public transportation. QATAR In September 2011, Parsons Brinckerhoff were appointed as the strategic programme manager for the $35 bn Qatar Integrated Rail Programme. In April, invitations to tender will be

Qatar Integrated Rail encompasses four metro lines, a tramway and a peoplemover serving two new cities, commuter railways, and links to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia”

Projected design for the Haramain High-speed Railway station

issued for four tunnelling packages worth $2 bn to $3 bn each for the first sections of a planned 213 km metro route in Doha. These projects are to kickstart the $35bn integrated rail programme across Qatar in time for the FIFA World Cup in ten years. The project encompasses four metro lines, a tramway and a peoplemover serving two new cities, extensive commuter railways, a high-speed link along a planned causeway to Bahrain, and a mixed-traffic link to Saudi Arabia.  The tunnelling contracts are expected to be awarded in October, and the first TBM drive is planned to start in late 2013 or early 2014. These contracts form part of the 75.4 km Phase 1a, which would run mostly underground and serve 26 stations.  As the Qatari government has confirmed its intention to bid for the 2020 Olympic games, Phase 1a is to be completed ahead of this deadline, with the above-ground Phase 1b completing the initial metro network in time for the World Cup in 2022. 

ROAD BLOCKS The GCC’s rail projects are ultimately intended to link the six member states for mass, time-effective transportation of goods and people, which in theory, has received full support from all of the involved parties. The delays in realising this large-scale project can be accounted for by financial hiccups and general political uncertainty. In Kuwait, the railway advisory contract was finally awarded after months of delay to Booz & Company, Kuwaiti NBK Capital, Wilbur Smith and Allen & Overy. Last July saw a delay in Oman for the prequalification of companies for design and project management consultancy for its national railway project due to an environment of uncertainty. In November, prequalified consultants were invited to submit bids in for design. The project also changed hands within the government, with the Transport Ministry taking over from the Supreme Committee for Town Planning, adding to the slight delay.

Country Project UAE Etihad Rail

Cost ($US) 11 bn

Length (km) Completion 1,200 2014 (Phase 1)


Haramain High Speed Rail Project

7.9 bn


2014 (Phase 2)

Fuel Diesel; accommodating electrification for future Electric


Qatar Integrated Rail

35 bn (budget)


Estimated Q2 2020

Mixed, depending on project

Use Heavy freight, trade commodities, hydrocarbons, passengers Estimated 3 mn passengers a year (Mecca, Medina) Passenger

(Includes 4 metro lines, a tramway, commuter railways, a high speed roadrail causeway to Bahrain, and a mixed-traffic link to KSA

April 2012


the BGreen online Directory This month, the BGreen Website is getting a major overhaul

BGreen Magazine’s comprehensive online directory, serves as a one-stop resource featuring corporations who offer sustainable solutions and services in the MENA region and beyond. The directory also lists government bodies, media sources, NGOs and Charities that embody the green values that drive our magazine. To ensure your company stands out within our directory of thousands, please contact a member of the BGreen Sales team, rhiannon@cpidubai or, who will assist you with costing and duration for a featured listing.

Visit and click on BGreen Online Directory


Special Feature

The Metro Model The success of the Dubai Metro has set a precedent in the region for mass transit railway systems. catalysing Abu Dhabi’s long-standing vision for a metro system.

105,000 cars to be replaced by the metro by 2030

April 2012


bu Dhabi’s Department of Transport (DoT) had planned for a wide-reaching mass transit solution for the populous city. Lack of financing put the project on hold for a while, but January 2012 heralded a new beginning for the ambitious master plan. The mostly underground metro network will mainly connect the proposed Central Business District with Sowwah Island, Reem Island, Saadiyat Island, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi International Airport, Masdar, Capital City District, Emerald Gateway, Zayed Sports City and ADNEC. The additional monorail project is projected to be 31 km long, with each station ideally averaging 1,000 commuters. The monorail will be made accidents that can be up of 15 two-coach trains, prevented each year, with 5-minute intervals with a saving of between each service. Dh414 million. These ambitious plans are vestiges of the pre-credit crunch days, and have since been revised to accommodate other road and transport The Abu Dhabi Metro Model priorities within the capital. As of January, Timeline the first sections of the metro have been 2016: Circular Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) given the financial green light, with the system to serve Sowwah Island, Central Executive Council announcing their Market, the Cultural Foundation and funding approval. The first phase should Abu Dhabi Municipality. ideally be operational within 5 years. 2018: Two 40 km light-rail transit lines: A joint venture of AECOM, PBII and one from Marina Mall, Electra Street, DB is currently undertaking feasibility Sowwah Island and Reem Island; the studies for the metro, which are due to be other serving the central bus station, completed by mid-year. A recently released DoT study estimates Eid prayer ground on 15th Street, the Corniche Hospital on Salaam Street and that by 2015, the annual cost of time wasted in traffic would total Dh2.5 billion, Saadiyat Island. 2020: 18 km of the metro line, serving rising to Dh5.9bn by 2030. The metro main bus depot at Al Wahda, North network is expected to save 102 million Island (running from Al Saada Street hours of travelling time a year, or Dh3.8 to the Corniche, including Reem, Lulu, bn, according to the study.


Special Feature

823,000 passengers per day by 2030

400,000 Sowwah islands), Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and Zayed Sports City. The original plan included a line to Mohammed bin Zayed City, Abu Dhabi International Airport, to Shamkah at the east end of the city. An east end tram was to connect Khalifa City, Masdar, Al Reef and Yas Island, and the airport. The city’s south end was to be connected provide access to Industrial City. LEAN, GREEN, TRANSPORT MACHINES Metropolitan railways have evolved almost beyond recognition since the first of its kind was launched in 1890 in London. The metro, through its combination of electrical traction and

daily road trips avoided by 2030

high capacity, is the most efficient transport mode in terms of energy consumption and space occupancy. Calculations posited by the RĂŠgie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) shows that in order to transport 50,000 passengers per hour and direction, metro trains need a right-ofway measuring 9 m in width, compared to the requirements of buses and cars of 35 m and 175 m respectively. The same projection shows that one kg equivalent of petrol will allow a single person to travel more than 48 km by metro, but only 38 km by bus and 19 km by car. A large drain on energy for automotives lies in the braking process. This energy

drain is significantly reduced in metro trains, as its high level of traction allows it to recover energy during braking. Running mostly underground or above ground on viaducts (as in Dubai), the metro frees surface space for other urban developments, or for the preservation of the natural environment. Another green stripe on its lapel is that metro trains do not emit any pollutants or greenhouse gases. Its contribution to climate change is limited to the effects linked to conventional electricity production. If the metro were to harness the power of renewable energy sources, then this model would be a global failsafe for a sustainable future.

April 2012



Green IT

Solar hang-ups Considering the amount of positive press solar energy has been receiving in the past year, it seems that most of our portable gadgets ought to be running on light by now. BGreen examines what’s keeping solarpowered cell phones from sweeping the market

T Nokia’s solar phone prototype: “Lokki”

April 2012

aming the tides of green tech, mobile phone giant, Nokia, have recently reported research findings on the viability of solely solar-powered cellphones. After months of research, Nokia says that the green tech market may have to wait a little longer for solely solar powered phones. Nokia launched the solar phone project by developing a prototype, nicknamed “Lokki,” featuring a solar charging panel fitted onto the back cover. Variables for the experiment included test subjects in different parts of the world as far apart as the Arctic Circle and Kenya. The testers also had diverse

professions and backgrounds, which meant different expectations and requirements from their phones. The findings Factors that affect the amount of energy generated include more than just the weather conditions and amount of sunlight available. The angle of sunlight matters, as does the testers’ lifestyles. The greatest amount of charge was generated in Kenya, where the sun stays high in the sky for most of the day. The tester, Amos Omondi, works as a security guard, which means that he has to remain stationary

for long periods of time, using his phone extensively for calls and the radio. The aim of the experiment was initially to target nations like Kenya, where access to electricity is sporadic at best, owing to the lack of a central electrical grid. In Kenya, 85 per cent of the population still live without electricity according to figures from the United Nations. Mobile phones take on multiple uses there, allowing for money transfers, staying in touch across vast expanses of land and entertainment when used as a radio. Most Kenyans who live in rural communities end up having to deposit their

Green IT n Charging ahead

While solar phones may need tweaking, charging devices powered by the sun have been in the market for close to 10 years, successfully charging conventional phone and laptop batteries on the go.

Solio BOLT On average, a smartphone goes from zero to full in just under three hours. The 1Amp output of the BOLT charges target devices at the same rate as a typical wall charger.

After 17 hours of charging, the basic phones could only deliver about 1 hour of talk time�

Features: USB outlet allows for charging any handheld device with the appropriate connection. Small in size, lightweight and portable. It takes 8 to 10 hours to fully charge the BOLT under sunlight, with a maximum wattage of 5 watts.

Voltaic Systems Solar Power Backpack The Voltaic Converter Solar Backpack is a streamlined bag for commuting and short trips. With 4 Watts of power, it will quickly charge handheld electronics. Larger packs with wider solar panels are available to charge heavy duty electronics like laptops.

phones at towns to charge over night, which is not a feasible long term solution. Kenya’s varied terrain and topography translates to erratic weather conditions as well. Temperatures across the country can vary drastically depending on location, but sunshine is the primary factor determining the success of Lokki. In the Arctic Circle, the experiment proved less effective in summer as the Midnight Sun provided little charge, owing to its low intensity and position in the sky. World, hold on The findings suggest that solar-powered cell phones are possible, but still have a long way to go before replacing batteries entirely, according to Nokia. The biggest challenge to creating a completely solar-powered phone is the fact that the solar cells are too small to harvest a significant amount of energy. The Lokki only harvested enough solar power to keep the phone charged on standby, but could not successfully provide power for substantial talk time. After 17 hours of charging, the basic phones could only deliver about 1 hour of talk time. Energy-heavy smart phones would require a lot more to provide users with internet access and other features.

Features: Waterproof, lightweight and built to withstand rough handling.1 hour in sun stores 4 watts of solar power, translating to 3 hours talk time. Its capacity extends to handle up to 19 hours of talk time or 48 hours of music playback after 7 hours under direct sunlight. The larger backpacks offer correspondingly larger energy storage. The bag itself is made of recycled PET bottles. PowerFilm Rollable Charger This charger is essentially a thin film solar panel with a high level of flexibility that it can be stowed away when rolled up. Features: Extremely durable, lightweight, waterproof, absorbs sunlight effectively even in low light

April 2012



Comment | ROAD TO DOHA

Towards Sustainable Transportation Karim Elgendy and Wissam Yassine present the second installment in the Road to Doha series leading up to COP 18 in Doha, examining the scope for sustainable transportation in the region in light of climate change.


n the Middle East, the transportation sector is challenged on both fronts. On one hand, its underdeveloped and inefficient networks continue to hinder economic development. In addition, the transportation sector represents a major consumer of energy in the region and a primary contributor to carbon emissions. In 2008, the transportation sector was estimated to be responsible for 31% of the region’s total energy use - a relatively high proportion compared to the global average of 27% while the road sub-sector alone was responsible for 18% of energy use - compared to 14% globally. Drivers and trends of transportation in the Middle East. Over the last few decades, the Middle East and North Africa region witnessed rapid population growth, with its population swelling from 97 million in 1960 to 351 million in 2009. The region also witnessed a process of rapid urbanisation during the same period. While only 30% of the region’s population lived in cities and towns in 1960 -compared to 32% globally- the urban proportion of the Middle East has almost doubled to 57% and exceeded the world average which currently stands at 50%. These trends have exerted great pressures on the transportation networks of the region’s cities and town, resulting in high traffic volumes and congestion. Policy responses to these pressures have typically been directed towards upgrading and expanding road networks, which encouraged further urbanization and personal vehicle use, that in turn led to additional traffic volumes and congestion. In effect, road upgrading policies have helped compound the challenges it sought to resolve, creating a negative and costly feedback loop. Public spending into road networks has also come at the expense of public transportation networks,

April 2012

which remained underfunded, inefficient, and unreliable. This, together with the region-wide policy of subsidising car fuels which is effectively a subsidy on private vehicle ownership - have further entrenched the dominance of private vehicle transportation over public transportation. These developments also had energy and environmental costs. In the nine years between 1999 and 2008, total energy use in transportation almost doubled, while the share of transportation in Middle East’s energy use grew from 23% to 31%. The region’s high proportion of energy use in transportation can be partly attributed to the lack of fuel efficiency standards and regulations,

and the existence of an aging vehicle fleet in most of region (except for GCC countries) which, according to the Arab Environment Green Economy report, have an average age of 15 years. Yet this very fact has also contributed to the region having the highest transport sector greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP of any other region in the world, standing at 150 tonnes of CO2 per million dollar of GDP according to World Bank estimates. Towards Sustainable Transportation for the region Sustainable transport is best defined as a system that allows the basic access and development needs to be met safely, promises equity for

ROAD TO DOHA | Comment

between 1999 and 2008, total energy use in transportation almost doubled, while the share of transportation in Middle East’s energy use grew from 23% to 31%”

But plans for public transportation networks are not limited to the GCC. Across the Middle East and North Africa there are currently 28,200 kilometers of proposed and planned rail projects - almost doubling the existing network size- and approximately 2,000 kilometers of proposed and planned Metro, light rail, and monorail projects -a tenfold increase over the existing size. And while these projects vary in their degree of development and the likelihood of being implemented, the rising regional need by a population expected to grow to 700 million by 2050, and by urbanisation levels expected to reach 67% by 2030, places an added sense of urgency to the need to implement these projects at local, national, and regional levels.

successive generations operates fairly and efficiently, offers choice of transport mode, limits emissions and waste, and is affordable Thus for a region such as the Middle East to achieve a true sustainable development, its first step should be to break out of the current road-dominated transportation system, and to adopt a multi-modal, efficient, and reliable public transportation network. Judging by the number of public transportation projects that are currently in the works across the GCC countries, one can confidently suggest that this change in vision seems to be taking place in one sub-region at least. From GCCwide projects such as the GCC railway (in planning) through national projects such as Etihad Rail in the UAE (Phase 1 under construction), to local projects such as Haramain Rail and Mecca Holy Sites Metro in Saudi Arabia (both under construction), the GCC appears to be in the beginnings of a major change to its transportation system.

Dubai as a Case Study At the local level, Dubai is arguably home to the most advanced public transportation system in the region, and is home to the world’s longest fully automated metro system. Since its operation in 2009 the metro has been a success, carrying 250,000 people daily within two years of operation. The Dubai Metro has also become a node for an integrated multi-modal system, with a network of feeder buses serving local areas around the main metro stations, and bicycle parking spaces currently being fitted into the metro stations to encourage cycling to and from the stations. In addition, Dubai has developed an extensive network of bus routes covering even the most remote areas of the city. According to the Road and Transportation Authority (RTA), 1500 buses operate in Dubai at peak times, running on 79 different routes and carrying 310,000 passengers daily. This multi-modal network was accompanied by the development of an online public information tool named “Wojhati”, which helps users plan their journeys ahead of time across all public transportation networks and using real time information. The development of public transportation systems was accompanied by measures such as road tolls, designed to increase the cost of personal vehicle use

relative to public transport alternatives. In 2007, Dubai was the first city in the region to introduce toll gate systems on some of its major roads. However, despite these initiatives by the authorities in Dubai, the RTA estimates that only 11% of Dubai residents used public transportation in 2010. A review of reasons behind such a low rate of utilisation revealed that many city residents were reluctant to use public transportation as long as it is not considerably cheaper than personal transportation. With energy subsidies maintaining petrol (gasoline) and diesel in the UAE artificially cheap, this economic balance is unlikely to happen soon. Personal transportation should therefore be discouraged by removing subsidies on fuel prices and introducing intelligent toll zones, if Dubai’s stateof-the-art infrastructure is to be fully utilised. Other opportunities for improving road transportation also exist through community planning and controlling traffic demand at the community level. Making sure that needed goods and services are catered for locally can go a long way in significantly reducing traffic demand. In dealing with many of the region’s common transportation challenges, the Dubai experience has a lot to teach other cities of the region. A future of sustainable transport in the region can be created by investing in a modern public transport systems and by carefully enacting the right policies to ensure a smooth transition away from private transportation.

Karim Elgendy is a senior architect and sustainability consultant based in London. He is also the Founder and Coordinator of the Carboun Initiative. Contact him at Wissam Yassine is a Senior Sustainability Engineer and a candidate for a Masters in Sustainability at Harvard University Extension School. Wissam is also the UAE National Coordinator for the Carboun Initiative. Contact him at at wissam@

April 2012




Enhancing marine life


The statistics are staggering: 70 per cent of original reef cover in the Arabian Gulf can be written off as lost, and an additional 27 per cent is currently at critical stages of degradation, according to a report published by the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health. Over recent years, measures to mitigate these worrying figures have included the creation of artificial reefs to stimulate marine life. BGreen speaks to John Burt, Marine Biologist and Assistant Professor of Biology at New York University—Abu Dhabi, on the effectiveness of these measures in rebalancing the region’s fragile marine ecosystem

April 2012

t is estimated that more than 90 per cent of marine species are directly or indirectly dependent on coral reefs, yet with nearly 60 per cent of the world’s remaining reefs at risk of being lost in the next three decades, there has been a rising impetus to replenish reefs with artificial structures underwater. Coral reefs start off as rocky substrates that provide a base for corals, sponges and other life to encrust, in time attracting a wider assortment of sea life. The creation of artificial reefs goes back to the 17th century when Japanese fisherman placed oyster shell structures underwater to lure in fish. Nowadays artificial reefs are generally castaway objects: abandoned cars, out-of-commission oil rigs, and more legitimately, specially-designed concrete structures known as ‘reef balls’. What is it that makes these alien structures underwater such fish magnets? “Fish tend to aggregate around three dimensional structures that can provide shelter, so technically most forms of solid structures thrown into the marine environment can attract life,” according to John Burt, marine biologist and Assistant Professor of Biology at New York University—Abu Dhabi. In light of the flagging condition of coral reefs in the region, this could be good news in that artificial reef projects could replenish the waning fish population. “Not necessarily,” says Burt. “As a biologist I have a lot of scepticism of the ecological value of artificial reefs. For one thing, they are much smaller in comparison to natural rocky substrates. Their limited volume translates to minimal impact in the larger scheme of things. Additionally, in terms of ecological value, artificial reefs are incapable at wholly replacing natural reefs.” The types of communities found in artificial reefs differ from what can


If the artificial reefs are implemented for the purpose of stimulating eco-tourism, then that’s fine, as they can serve that role more than adequately”

Al Boom divers placing reef balls

be seen in natural reefs. Even though artificial attract large amounts of marine life, they are mainly dominated by three species in Dubai, which is extremely limited compared to the 20 to 25 species found at natural reefs in Jebel Ali. Materials matter With the popularity of artificial reefs steadily growing, Burt conducted a study in 2009 to assess the effectiveness of various material in attracting coral. “We basically used standard-size tiles of materials used in the construction of breakwaters and artificial reefs, such as granite, concrete, and terracotta. We also used gabbro, which is rock from Masafi and the mountains of Fujairah,” Burt explains. These tiles were immersed at natural reef sites in Dubai over the course of a year to see if there was a preference when colonised by different type of marine life.

Their findings suggest that even though concrete is the most commonly used material in the building of artificial reefs, it had the lowest density of coral, while natural rock had the highest density. “This is because coral choose to colonise structures based on their geochemistry. Through chemo-sensation, coral taste objects they feel is most suitable to settle onto, based on its pH values, texture, and its reducing or oxidising properties. Natural rock had the best combination of properties.” At the time, Burt and team did not see the need to test plastic as it is not one of the more commonly used materials in artificial reef structures, owing to the possibility that plastic could leak chemicals into the marine environment. In the case of treated plastic that is not harmful for the environment, the structures are still lightweight by nature, which is not ideal for something that needs to house numerous fish and coral. “In a storm or hurricane, plastic reefs would move around underwater, possibly dislodging natural reefs and coral nearby. The 2007 hurricane is a prime example of the kind of events plastic reefs would not be able to withstand. The waves offshore Fujairah reached around 10 metres in

height, and boats and trees kilometres inland from the coast of Fujairah and Kalba, Oman, were affected by the sheer force.” Eco-tourism and fishing “If the artificial reefs are implemented for the purpose of stimulating eco-tourism, then that’s fine, as they can serve that role more than adequately. It’s a fantastic tool for educating the public as artificial reefs do attract a lot fish that can make for interesting dive sites,” Burt adds. The most notable artificial reef project in the UAE is based off the coast of Fujairah. Implemented by Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort in 2009, the hollow reef balls were made of a specially formulated pH-neutral concrete and gravel mix, ensuring that their implementation will not change the water’s acidity. They were placed underwater with the expertise of divers from Al Boom Diving, taking location and tide levels into account. More recently, Nakheel Developments announced their plans to fortify their coastal developments with 500 artificial reefs to stimulate sustainable fishing. “Historically, fishing was an important industry and a way of life for the local

April 2012




Coral choose to colonise structures based on their geochemistry. Through chemo-sensation, coral taste objects they feel is most suitable to settle onto, based on its pH values, texture, and its reducing or oxidising properties”

have been many cases where people have laid fish traps near breakwaters, which can lead to overfishing. It gives them an unfair advantage as fish are always inclined to amass around these structures. This can quickly depopulate species,” he says.

Rising temperatures

people of Dubai. Today fishing is still an important industry and even for non-fishing residents of the community, the availability of locally caught fresh seafood is one of the attractions in Dubai. The construction of the Palms and other developments along the Dubai coastline has involved the loss of traditional fishing grounds and no commercial fishing is currently permitted at Nakheel developments,” according to Nakheel. “We are confident that the implementation of a sustainably managed Human-made Reef Project will enhance fisheries resources and improve habitat for reef fishes in Dubai waters,”Ali Rashid Lootah, Chairman of Nakheel, said in a statement issued at the end of November last year. Using caprock stones, the developers are planning to set up artificial reefs in areas like the northwest coast of Palm Jebel Ali, near the Waterfront and The World islands. “At an early stage of the project, a consultation exercise will be conducted involving key

April 2012

stakeholders, including fishers, to help with choice of human-made reef structures and the selection of deployment sites,” Nakheel added. Nakheel emphasised their intention to ensure that only a small percentage of these areas will be open for fishing to ensure fisheries are not be over-exploited. In Burt’s expert opinion, fishing near artificial reefs and breakwaters may not be the best idea, considering the need to rehabilitate and sustain existing reefs. “There

“Nakheel Developments announced their plans to fortify their coastal developments with 500 artificial reefs to stimulate sustainable fishing”

The waters of the Arabian Gulf already reach extreme temperatures of 36 degrees Celsius on average. To put this in a global perspective, most species can only survive in water that is less than 32 degrees Celsius, which explains why only 15 to 20 per cent of the coral species in the Indian Ocean are found in the Arabian Gulf. “Coral species found here are relatively tolerant to harsh environmental conditions, surviving temperatures that the rest of the world doesn’t expect to see in another century,” Burt says. “The region can be seen as a natural laboratory to study the effects of climate change projected elsewhere.” Explaining the concept of coral bleaching, Burt highlights the resilience of regional coral species. Coral are essentially made of translucent tissue, deriving nourishment and energy from a symbiotic relationship with colourful algae that live inside the organism. The algae photosynthesise sunlight to produce glucose for sustaining the coral. As temperatures rise with excess sunlight, the algae may produce more glucose than the coral can handle, causing it to eject the algae from its system. This bleached state leaves the coral without a source of nourishment, which it can only survive for a few days. “There have been many instances where mass coral beaching has occurred in coral communities here. Still, these communities recover quickly, which suggests that these coral are more resilient to extreme temperatures,” Burt adds. This doesn’t mean that coral species here are exempt by the same threats that face coral all over the world. If anything, the coral communities in the Arabian Gulf are in an even more vulnerable position, as an increase of water temperatures by a few more degrees could push these species to their limit.

NOMInATIONS OPEN SOON This month, the BGreen Website is getting a major overhaul.


The BGreen Awards, held at the end of every calendar year, is the biggest event in our portfolio, recognising the contributions of thought-leaders in sustainable construction and its subsidiary industries, architecture and design. Submit your nominations online to make your mark in this arena.

Visit and click on the logo


Comment | Al Jaddou

Save the World Omar Al Jaddou, Director of Special Projects at Advanced Global Trading, outlines how small changes in consumer behaviour can lead to larger environmental benefits in the long run


ooking at the state of the world today, there seems to be precious little optimism for the future. Wars, revolutions, natural disasters and instability might have preoccupied our minds over the past decade or so but our ecology has continued its rapid decline with reckless abandon. It is said that time and tide wait for no man, with the heavy impact that our lifestyles and industrial development continue to have on our planet’s fragile eco-system, salvaging an environmentally sustainable future will be a herculean task. The dire future that is painted for us as consumers often engenders a helplessness that leaves one wondering, what can I do to change this? Obviously the impact of solitary contributions on their own will be miniscule, but with trends that reengineer consumer behaviour and attitudes towards the environment, it is often the smallest of choices that create the largest impact. • Light bulbs: Replace any old light bulbs with long-life CFL bulbs, which will use around 70% less electricity and last 10 times longer, more than worth their marginally extra cost. • Recycle: Always make use of recycling facilities offered by local government drives. Whether it is

April 2012

household waste or old clothing, set an example for your family to imbue your children with environmental values. Filter Water: Examine the options for installing an in-home filtration system to provide drinking water. Technology in this field has evolved dramatically over the last few years. Switch it off: Avoid leaving your household appliances on ‘Standby’ mode − turn it off. Ceiling Fans: These can help minimise your use of air conditioning, particularly in the cooler months. Buy Local: Locally produced fruit, water and other goods have a far lower carbon footprint. Also fruit and vegetables that are in season do not require carbon emission-intensive refrigeration and transport. Buy Green: Ensure that any appliances you buy are environmentally friendly. Look for the Energy Star rating, even if they are more expensive it will pay for itself in the long run. Get Online: Read your favorite newspaper online, this will save trees and avoid emissions caused in printing.

Driving: Keep your car in working order, ensuring the tyres are at the optimal pressure. Remove any unnecessary baggage or roof racks, and keep your engine tuned to minimise your vehicles emissions. Use high gears and stick to the speed limit.

Consumer choice is perhaps the strongest of the tools available to the people of the world today to incentivise companies to become more environmentally sustainable, but at the same time minor changes to your daily behavior will have major benefits for our planet, particularly for the future. Adopting a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle need not impact your quality life, in fact by doing so you will probably find yourself saving money, safe in the knowledge that you are doing your part to help avoid a major cataclysm. Last issue, BGreen printed the following statement: “Saudi Arabia’s now defunct campaign for wheat self sufficiency which consumed 80-90% of the GCC’s water yet contributed 2.3% to the GCC’s GDP”. To clarify, the author’s intended statement was to say that agriculture as a sector consumed 80-90% of the GCC’s water and contributed 2.3% to the GCC’s GDP.

Protect our natural heritage.

With the help of your business, we can do ours. Make a change as corporate member with EWS-WWF and help us in our mission to conserve and protect our natural environment. Together, we can make a difference.


Green Business

Breaking the cost barrier BGreen looks at the effectiveness of green bonds in financing climate change investments and projects, especially in light of the recent formation of a Shari’ah compliant financing solution in the Middle East

We already have seen a weakening of the idea of ‘carbon offsets’ because of a lack of standards about acceptable schemes.”

April 2012


ith technology successfully chugging along the green path, there are now many ways to cut emissions while powering cities, commuting or harvesting crops, but the great cost barrier remains just as rigid now as it was at the advent of these green alternatives. According to the International Energy Agency, low carbon energy solutions need approximately US$1 trillion of investment each year in clean energy and climate change adaptation to hit reduction targets by 2050, roughly the estimated year when most of the world’s fossil fuel reserves hit bottom. Enter climate bonds. They can be issued by governments, corporations or banks, to finance climate change solutions, such as greenhouse gas emission reduction projects


like enhancing carbon sinks globally, or climate change climate change bonds adaptation already been issued measures like internationally damming glacial lakes. The issuing body guarantees to repay the bond over a certain period of time with a return, as is the case with normal bonds. Most climate bonds are asset-backed, ensuring that funds are only channelled to specific climate-related assets. About US$12 billion of bonds backed by investments related to climate change solutions have already been issued internationally, according to the Climate Bonds Initiative

Green Business

This group will help investors more easily identify Shari’ah compliant, clean energy investment opportunities”

Aaron Bielenberg of the Clean Energy Business Council. Green sukuks are Shari’ah compliant investment securities that finance projects meeting eligibility criteria developed by the International Climate Bond Standards scheme. The first meeting of the newly formed Green Sukuk Working Group was held in March in Dubai. “There is an urgent need to mobilise finance for both renewable Issuance List. Growing this “green debt” Alternative means investments in clean energy and climate market will provide institutional investors of Shari’ah compliant with opportunities to switch from carbon financing for energy and climate adaptation projects in intensive to low-carbon investments – and renewable change adaptation both the Middle East and in other developing fuel the growth of the low-carbon economy. energy needed each Muslim countries such “We already have seen a weakening projects year as Bangladesh and Pakistan. of the idea of ‘carbon offsets’ because in the the number of Green sukuks are ideally for the of a lack of standards about acceptable Middle bonds issued by financing of many of these investments,” schemes. In the current market poor the World Bank announced Nick Silver of the Climate quality offsets are, for most buyers, since 2008 Bonds Initiative. not readily distinguishable from East The scheme also has an industry high quality offsets. In such have the roughly working group that provides input into circumstances the poorer entered estimated year the formulation of eligibility criteria, with quality will come to dominate the scene with the when most of the participation from organisations such as for price or availability world’s first Green the International Finance Corporation reasons, sparking a race to the Sukuk Working world’s fossil fuel (IFC), Standard & Poor’s, Aviva bottom, or an abandoning of Group. Initiated reserves hit Investors and KPMG. the sector,” according to investorby CBI, the Clean bottom “Interest in both Shari’ah compliant focused not-for-profit financing Energy Business Council and ethical investing is on the rise. solution, Climate Bond Initiative (CBI). of the Middle East and Green sukuks can support this trend by The company promotes large-scale North Africa and The Gulf Bond and expanding the range of available financial investment in the low-carbon economy Sukuk Association, the working group instruments.  Green sukuks also support by developing standards for evaluating aims to channel market expertise to national development strategies by and monitoring green financing. develop best practices and promote the offering longer term finance for essential The first body to launch green bonds issuance of sukuks for the financing of infrastructure,” Michael Grifferty of was the World Bank in 2008, issuing climate change investments. “There are The Gulf Bond and Sukuk Association over US$2 billion in bonds through a significant and growing number of said at the announcement of the group’s approximately 41 transactions as of the projects, for example renewable energy successful formation. last fiscal year. in the Middle East, that are ideally The eligibility criteria in terms of In the GCC, most green projects suited to sukuk investors. This group climate change solutions are derived are driven by the public sector and are will help investors more easily identify from the International Climate Bond understandably funded by the wellShari’ah compliant, clean energy heeled governments within the region. investment opportunities,” according to Standards scheme.

US$1 trillion



April 2012


Green Business

Ethical Investment

Investment Roundup UAE’s Microsol acquires US based SOLON SE UAE cell manufacturing company, Microsol, has acquired essential components of SOLON SE and its subsidiaries, including U.S. based SOLON Corporation. An integrated solar solutions provider “SOLON Energy GmbH” has been formed in its place as the core of the new group. About 600 jobs worldwide have been transferred from SOLON SE to the new SOLON Energy GmbH and the other affiliates. The main sites in BerlinAdlershof (Germany), Tucson (USA) and Carmignano di Brenta (Italy) will be maintained. Microsol has around 325 employees in Fujairah. Prior to the acquisition, Microsol focused on core Arab and Asian markets. The acquisition of SOLON allows extension and access to the European and North American markets. Solar power systems will continue to be produced in Germany and the U.S., and production facilities will come on line

at Microsol’s home base in Fujairah (UAE) in the course of this year. “This is a joining of two ideal partners. As shareholders, we will pursue an international growth strategy together with SOLON, which will open up enormous market potential,” said Anjan Turlapati, chairman of Microsol. India will be a key growth market for the SOLON group. “Because of the favorable political and economic circumstances, there is great potential for the power plant businesses. Microsol’s market access combined with SOLON’s module, balance of system, and power plant expertise provide us with excellent prospects in India,” said Turlapati. Siemens nets $34 million deal for DEWA substation Siemens announced on the opening day of WETEX in Dubai it has been awarded a contract by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) to build a turnkey 132 kV/33 kV high

voltage substation in Mushrif, that will replace existing DEWA infrastructure and provide electricity to strategic customers including the Dubai Royal Air Wing terminal and major shopping malls in the area. “We have the necessary know-how and project experience for creating turnkey high-voltage installations. Depending on the project specifications we take on responsibility for the whole project; from planning, erection to commissioning and handover to the customer,” said Wolfgang Braun, Head of Power Transmission Middle East at Siemens LLC. Siemens has more than 20 years of history with DEWA, with the first gas-insulated switchgear delivered in 1991. Pakistan allots land to wind projects Chief Minister of the province of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, has recently approved allotment of 347,434 acres of

April 2012



Ethical Investment

The European Union imposed the carbon tax on airlines with effect from 1 January, but carriers will begin receiving bills only in 2013”

More than 25 other countries, including Russia and the United States, have opposed the EU move, saying it violates international law. According to Reuters, Chinese officials have denied moving to block new Airbus orders. A spokeswoman for the Civil Aviation Administration of China said recently that the government “will respect the views of the airlines” in ordering planes. She added that the Chinese government hopes to reach a resolution through negotiation. Under the EU program, any airline operating at an EU airport must hold special credits to offset its carbon-dioxide emissions since the start of this year. Airlines have said









land for nine wind power projects. The revenue department has also granted 30 years land lease to all fast track wind power projects through investment under the Renewable Energy Policy of 2006. According to the Chairman of the Sindh Board of Investment, Muhammad Zubair Motiwala, the projects can generate of more than 1,000 MW of energy. If properly utilised, wind energy can generate more than 50,000 MW in Sindh alone, with the Wind Corridor (GharoJhampir) leading the drive. The Corridor is 60 kilometres wide and 180 km long, with an average wind speed of 8 metres per second. So far, the province has approved 26 wind projects, which would be commissioned within next one year. Under these commitments, a total of 797.4 MW could be generated by the end of March 2013. China reacts to EU aviation carbon tax China has blocked purchases of Airbus planes by Chinese companies in reaction

April 2012

to a disputed European carbon tax, according to the head of the Airbus parent company EADS. “Airbus is subjected to retaliation measures,” EADS Chief Executive Louis Gallois said at a press conference on the company’s annual results. “The Chinese government rejects to approve airlines’ orders for long range airplanes.” The European Union imposed the carbon tax on airlines with effect from 1 January, but Land alLotted for carriers will begin their inclusion in what is known wind projects in receiving bills as the Emissions Trading Scheme pakistan only in 2013 after (ETS), which already covered many this year’s carbon EU industries, will cost them billions emissions have been of dollars annually. assessed. Chinese customers stand to forfeit hefty The EU has says the tax will help it down payments if they cancel the orders. achieve a goal of cutting carbon emissions Airbus has warned that the loss of the by 20 percent by 2020 and that it will not Chinese orders puts 1,000 jobs at risk as well back down on the plan. as a similar number at its suppliers.

347,434 acres


Society | EARTH HOUR

An hour to unite the world

M More than 5,200 cities in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour this year in hopes of uniting through the common goal for action against climate change. BGreen covers Earth Hour highlights in the UAE

April 2012

ost of the UAE’s major landmarks, from the Burj Khalifa in Dubai to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, powered off for one hour on 31 March in support of Earth Hour, the green movement that has swept the world in recent years. “Earth Hour is not about turning off your lights for one hour, but an opportunity for all of us to reflect on how our everyday actions impact our environment,” according to Ida Tillisch, the Acting Director General of the Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS-WWF). More than a worldwide act of solidarity, Earth Hour 2012 in the UAE has mobilised the public with a range of activities aimed at driving home the point behind the hour-long initiative. Here are our top picks of Earth Hour celebrations across the country.

EARTH HOUR | Society

Where: Burj Park Downtown, Dubai What: Candlelight march Organised by: Dubai Electricity and Water Authority The candlelight march saw scores of people dotting the route along Burj Park Downtown with their candles, gathering to watch the imposing structure of Burj Khalifa disappear into the darkness at 8.30 pm.

Where: Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi What: Cycling Drive Organised by: Fairmont Bab Al Bahr For 24 hours (from 10.30am on 31 March to the same time on 1 April) Fairmont Bab Al Bahr’s lobby featured stationary bicycles for the community to use in order to renewably generate enough electricity to power an LED lighting structure representing the Fairmont’s iconic façade.

Where: Dubai Internet City What: Lamp lighting Organised by: Canon Middle East Shutting down all non-essential lights at its offices during this hour, Canon’s employees and their families led the way in lighting lamps outside the Canon office building in Internet City for Earth Hour, pledging to adopt green practices in their daily lives for a sustainable future. Leading up to the day, Canon announced a public photo competition, themed “My Earth, My Lens”, where participants are encouraged to capture what best symbolises what the environment means to them.

Where: Al Majaz Park, Sharjah What: Family Fun Day Organised by: Environment and Protected Areas of Sharjah From musical performances to environmental competitions, the Earth Hour Family Fun Day featured many games and activities, starting from 6 pm.

Where: Sahil Al Maydan Corniche, Abu Dhabi What: Drumming show Organised by: Abu Dhabi Festival 7pm till 9.30 pm, the capital’s thriving Corniche featured an intense drumming show aimed at raising awareness to passersby.

Where: Outside Municipality Building, Fujairah What: Floating lanterns Organised by: Fujairah Municipality Starting at 8.30 pm, residents gathered outside the municipality building to light candles and set floating lanterns off into the night to mark Earth Hour.

Where: Al Manar Mall, Ras Al Khaimah What: Musical Performance Organised by: Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority Residents were treated to a live musical performance by musical act, Fusion Again, at 8.30 pm.

Personal Challenges The theme for this year’s Earth Hour in the UAE was ‘I will if you will’, encouraging the public to set themselves personal challenges to beat, in effort to carry on the movement’s message of Earth Hour beyond that single hour. Pledges have been made public, and even gone viral online via Youtube’s Earth Hour channel. The most notable pledges include UAE celebrity, Ask Ali’s Ali Al Saloom, who pledged to go without any of his three cellphones for three days if 10,000 people give up plastic bags across the country. On a more introspective note, the ‘Green Sheikh’ His Highness Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi, has pledged to fast for six days outside of Ramadan if 6,000 people in six weeks from 1 April pledge to recycle unused medication by giving them to those in need.

April 2012


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Green Spy | Society

Throw on a sweater and do a little jig This month, our Green Spy discovers the limitless potential of energy-harvesting clothing


or the shopping-averse (yes, we do exist in Dubai!), the burden of making your wardrobe over really only comes twice a year when the weather changes from scorching to mildly cold. I, for one, have little interest in milling around malls, basing my choices on the ebb and flow of seasonal fashion trends. However, a recent development in the field of ecouture might make a fashionista out of me yet—that is, only if technology ever catches up to what it promises in energy-harvesting couture. My top secret sources (clearly members of the fashion police) say that scientists at the University of Southampton are working on an energy-harvesting film that could make charging portable gadgets as easy as swinging your arm or moonwalking across a rug. The research team at the university’s School of Electronics and Computer Science are using a combination of rapid printing processes and active-printed inks to screen this magic film directly onto fabric. Batteries won’t be required, either, since the film is designed to convert ambient energy in the environment—including motion and heat—into electricity, which doesn’t require recharging or replacement.

Although energy harvesters currently do not generate enough power for heavyduty gadgets, it can still hoard enough energy to charge portable devices like MP3 players. Simple human movements that are considered large in amplitude and low in frequency (like walking) can generate an estimated 67 watts of energy per step. The energy-harvesting film is set to provide a low-cost and adaptable means to store energy literally on the go—and this is only the beginning! The university’s research team has until 2015 to cross barriers and obstacles still standing in the way of this technology hitting boutiques. Firstly, the film’s effectiveness in storing and supplying energy needs to be tested across a range of fabrics, and secondly, the film needs to be able to weather tempestuous washing machines and/or dryers. If this technology makes it to the mainstream, human movement, the most renewable energy source of them all, could power a range of portable devices, from wireless health monitoring systems to laptops for struggling writers on deadline day. The basic technology will be ready by the end of November 2012, my sources project.

My sources have also confirmed that storing energy from body heat has a lot of potential as well. Back in 1998, Seiko had launched a thermic wristwatch, the world’s first watch powered by the temperature gradient between skin and the surrounding air. That was a good 14 years ago and technology has raced ahead since those dark days before Youtube and carbon offsetting. While waiting for newer green developments to hit our sandy shores, I’ll be hooking my clothes up to a power grid if you need me. Till next month, go green and prosper.

April 2012



Save the Date BGreen highlights events and conferences taking place in the coming months

Dubai International Wood and Wood Machinery Show 3-5 April, Dubai Touted as the ultimate showplace for the latest innovations & technologies, this year’s Wood Show will feature exhibition stands, specialised trade visitors, and other key contacts in the world of wood and woodworking. Sustainable Development and Inclusive Growth Congress 10 April, Sharjah This day-long conference covers topics such as Energy, Food Security, Intellectual property, Demographic Change, Infrastructure improvements and more. World Eco Construct 22-25 April, Abu Dhabi The international exhibition on

sustainable built environments is accompanied by 12 days of global summits, workshops and training courses. Construction Machinery Show 22-25 April, Jeddah The show will be the largest heavy construction machinery event in the region. There are plans for a live auction and demonstration area for visitors to get a thorough idea of the capabilities of each equipment. Green Age Symposium 26-27 April, Istanbul Covering topics ranging from ecotechnologies to environmental rehabilitation, this symposium brings together academics and the representatives of key sectors to engage in workshops and an exhibition.

Project Qatar 30 April -3 May, Doha This show is in its 9th year, presenting the latest in trade construction, building, environmental technology and materials. The Office Exhibition 15-17 May, Dubai The 11th edition of this exhibition will feature a series of workshops on sustainable design and build, as well as on other pressing issues in commercial interior design MENASOL 2012 16-17 May, Abu Dhabi The 4th edition of this event provides industry networking experience for the MENA Solar industry with over 300 VIP attendees involved in the CSP and PV sector.

April 2012




Stealing time O

ne of the oldest recorded timekeeping devices next to sundials is the water clock, known to the ancient Greeks as clepsydra (literally “water thief�), designed to measure time according to the regulated flow of water into a vessel where it can be measured in units. The oldest water clock of which there is physical evidence dates to around the 16th century BC in Egypt and Babylon. The concept was reworked as it travelled across countries, with the ancient Greeks, Romans, Indians, Persians and Chinese modifying the prototype to include self-chiming clocks and simple automata over the millennia that followed. A tomb inscription of the 16th century BC Egyptian court official Amenemhet is the oldest recorded documentation of the water clock, identifying the deceased as its inventor. The simple Egyptian water clock was essentially made of stone vessels with sloping sides that allowed water to drip at a nearly constant rate from a small hole near the bottom. There were twelve separate columns with consistently spaced markings on the inside to measure the passage of hours as the water level reached them.

April 2012

Each column represented each of the twelve calendar months to allow for variations in daylight depending on season. Priests, to keep time at night when sundials were of no use, used these water clocks the most. When the Greeks adapted this concept, they introduced chimes, ringing bells, moving puppets and mechanical songbirds. The Romans modified the design by creating more elaborate water clocks that were built structures, regulating water pressure and precision for both timekeeping and astronomy.

In China, the water clock served a similar purpose in recording astronomical events. Before reaching China, in ancient Persia and India, the water clocks were initially used for time-released distribution of water from common reservoirs to specific agricultural areas. Later on, the technology was adopted for marking holy days and timing the yearly calendar. These Persian clocks were called fenjaan, and are still considered one of the most accurate timekeeping devices of the ancient world.

BGreen Magazine April 2012  

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