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Issue 19 | JANUARY 2012

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Energy and water




green it




green business

Publication Publication licensed licensed byby IMPZ IMPZ









News: The latest developments world wide


Really? The stories that are too good to be true

energy and water


World Future Energy Summit special: sustainable start-ups, a handy map and calls to find the “Steve Jobs of cleantech”

46 48 50


Lighting the way forward

Getaway in the garden city Are Dubai’s hotels the world’s worst energy offenders? Plug in and drive


52 53




Ask Ali... Nick Hayes and Paul Foster of EC Harris on the corporate challenge Green parking: paving the way



The growing pains of climate change

Green IT

38 42


57 59 60

The Green Spy’s quest for eco-superiority Arabs in a green world



Diary dates

Energy efficient data centres Green gadgets

44 3


Editor’s letter


Good intentions for 2012 and beyond N

ew Year’s resolutions always seem so hard to keep. Many people at this time of the year set themselves goals with good intentions of achieving them. However, most people reading this editorial would relate to the dissapointing reality that they have also typically lost the motivation to continue to fulfil their goals as the year progresses. And the problem of failing to stick to resolutions also seemed to have plagued delegates at the United Nations’ COP 17 summit held in Durban, South Africa last month. Canada, after signing up to the Kyoto protocol in 1997, decided to pull out of the agreement amid its concerns that the penalties for not meeting 1990 levels of carbon emissions was too expensive, and also because the country’s representatives felt that developing countries have not played an equal part when it comes to carbon emission cuts. Furthermore, the deadline for the Kyoto protocol were essentially extended from the end of 2012 to the end of 2017. In the meantime, China continues to race ahead of its global peers, both in terms of economic growth and its carbon footprint, and it’s not hard to see why preventing climate change is becoming increasingly challenging in 2012 and beyond. Yet, there was a small glimmer of hope at the summit in the subtropical South African city, as an agreement to sign

up all countries to be legally bound to reducing Co2 emissions was achieved. If implemented in years to come, the agreement could rope in countries such as those of the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) to play an equal part to that of the West in terms of helping to prevent climate change. It also means that all countries that commit to the new resolutions will have to pay equal penalties to that of their developed trading partners if they fail to meet carbon emission targets. Of course, not everybody is happy about this agreement as countries such as India reluctantly accepted this latest resolution. To find out more about what took place at Durban, you can turn to page 32.

Meanwhile, 2012 kicks off with the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. The focus of this year’s event is ‘innovation’, as a range of startups are to showcase their services and products for this sector. To find out more about this year’s event, you can turn to page 18 to read the feature. There is also a handy floor plan for those who have a copy of BGreen at the event. The year 2012 is further set to be another big year for BGreen magazine as it continues to cover the events and issues surrounding sustainability in the Middle East. The editorial team at BGreen wish all our readers a happy new year!

Publisher Dominic De Sousa Associate Publisher Liam Williams COO Nadeem Hood Director Business Development Rhiannon Downie Marketing and PR Executive Carole McCarthy Editorial Director Melanie Mingas

Acting Editor Gareth van Zyl Writers Alice Hartley Anoop K Menon Dan McAlister Designer/Photographer Marlou Delaben Photographer Cris Mejorada Webmasters Troy Maagma Jerus King Bation Erik Briones

The BGreen Editorial Team

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

© Copyright 2011 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.




Philips takes lead in phasing out incandescent bulbs Electronics company Phillips has said it is to discontinue the sale of 75-watt incandescent lamps as of January in the GCC. The move comes after Philips phased out its 100watt and higher phase-out of energy inefficient light bulbs in September 2010. Moreover, the company has said it will replace the incandescent lamps with energy-efficient alternatives, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and energy-saving halogens and LED bulbs. “Homes are currently dominated by incandescent bulbs, and approximately two third of the world’s lighting solutions in use are based on old, less energy efficient technologies,” said Paolo Cervini – general manager of Philips Lighting Middle East & Turkey. “Making a switch to energy efficient lighting solutions is simple and easy, with a remarkable effect.”

Philips invented the energy saving light bulb in 1980, and has continued to develop energy efficient lighting solutions as a part of its efforts and commitment to sustainability and the environment. Lighting accounts for 19 per cent of the world’s electricity consumption, where up to 90 per cent of the energy used through an incandescent light bulb is wasted as heat. Compact fluorescent energy savers are more efficient than incandescent lamps, as they use five times less energy to generate the same amount of light. Philips CFLs last on average eight times longer than incandescent lamps, needing less frequent replacements, according to the company. The manufacturer is also promoting its Genie 14W range, an alternative to incandescent 75-watt light bulbs that use less energy while offering a lifetime of 8,000 hours.

German President Tours Masdar

German president, Christian Wulff, visited Abu Dhabi’s Masdar green city last month last to recognize the strides the Emirate is making in terms of its green energy development. The president was received by Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, chief executive officer of Masdar, and was provided with a comprehensive presentation of Masdar’s innovative approach to developing scalable and

commercially viable clean technologies and renewable energy. The briefing covered all aspects of the value chain in the renewable energy sector including education; research and development; investment in clean technology; renewable energy power generation, carbon capture and storage, as well as sustainable and urban developments. German companies such as Siemens have partnered with Masdar, and Mr Wulff used this example to highlight the commitment the two countries have towards the project. “German companies and academic institutions should look for ways to collaborate with Masdar. The long-term strategic partnership with Siemens is an example of how cooperation between our nations can be successful. Similarly, academic institutions should find ways to partner with the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology on innovative research and development projects,” he said. The President applauded Masdar’s bold

strides and its successes in promoting the development, deployment and adoption of renewable energy, both internationally and locally. He also stressed the important role Masdar is playing in strengthening ties and building bridges between the two nations. Germany is pursuing one of the world’s most ambitious renewable energy targets. In the first half of 2011 the country produced 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy. Germany also recently announced new targets of 35 per cent by 2020 and at least 50 per cent by 2030.  The UAE and Germany have multiple collaborative projects including partnerships with Siemens and E.ON. Siemens and Masdar have been working together since 2010 on a long-term strategic partnership, which includes Siemens moving their regional headquarters to the UAE capital’s Masdar City, accommodating more than 2,000 full-time staff.

January 2012



Torresol aims to build new power plant in Abu Dhabi A solar venture between Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City and the Spanish family-owned company Sener, is working on the preliminary design of a 50 to 100-megawatt solar plant and hopes to pitch the idea to the emirate, The National newspaper has reported. In July, Torresol’s Gemasolar plant in Andalusia, Spain, began producing power day and night with the help of molten salts that hold enough heat for power production for 15 hours. “We are optimistic,” said Pedro Mugarra, the managing

director of Sener in Abu Dhabi. “Obviously, Masdar, as a partner of Sener, is willing.” Gemasolar, at 20 megawatts, is a fraction of the production of the first large-scale solar plant under construction in Abu Dhabi, the 100 megawatt Shams One project. The Gemasolar technology would have to be scaled up to meet Abu Dhabi’s needs and could take five to 10 years to advance from drawing board to electricity delivery, said Mr Mugarra. Mr Mugarra said it was too

early to estimate the cost of a solar tower in Abu Dhabi. Torresol’s three plants in Spain, including Gemasolar, cost a total of about €1 billion (Dh4.78bn) and were not affected by Spain’s subsidy rollback last December, he said. He was optimistic about the ability of such a project to attract financing in today’s difficult economic climate. In March, Shams One garnered US$600 million (Dh2.2bn) of bank loans, the largest financing package to date for a renewables project in the Middle East.

Dubai’s Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel accredited by Green Globe The Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, managed by Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, is the latest five-star property in the Middle East to be accredited by the internationally-recognized Green Globe programme. The programme provides premier worldwide certification specifically for the travel and tourism industry. The 396-room business and leisure hotel underwent a comprehensive sustainability audit, and scored consistently across an extensive series of operational criteria. The programme noted that it has marked this milestone achievement in just its first full year of operation. “Hotels are, on occasion, unfairly accused of ‘talking the talk’ when it comes to sustainability, so receiving a stamp of approval from an impartial and credible international organisation is very pleasing,” said Philippe Bonnot, general manager, Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel. “Our aim is to spearhead positive change by implementing long-term environmental initiatives that will hopefully inspire others to push their own

January 2011

green envelope,” he said. The hotel has developed a multi-level sustainability programme designed to impact the entire operation from back-of-house areas to guestrooms and public spaces. Its owners have also invested in groundbreaking INNcontrol II software, which is designed to help the hospitality industry maximise on energy efficiency and make substantial cost savings through a highly individualised hotel-specific programme. “The system allows us to measure the temperature in each guest room, rather than per section or floor, with the ability

to monitor consumption via a live update that shows which rooms are performing at peak operational efficiency as well as highlighting problem areas,” said Rohit Salunke, director of engineering. “This helps us set specific airconditioning parameters for each room, and initiate target temperatures to ensure that we are controlling air-conditioning demand, and thus controlling our energy costs,” he added. The hi-tech system also tracks annual energy savings by charting actual consumption against a ‘worse case’ scenario in the absence of an effective energy management system, as well as tracking guest room user trends. Paper, plastic, aluminium and waste cooking oil are all recycled with hazardous waste material collected by a specialist recycling company in Dubai. The hotel also organises regular outdoor cleaning drives and has taken the unique step of siting a used clothing recycling bank within the property, in association with Gulf State Recycling.





Sustainable suburb almost sold out Dubai development catches wealthy investors’ attention


n eco-friendly residential development in Dubai is experiencing strong sales at a time when the Emirate’s property market is struggling. Property prices in Dubai have fallen by as much as 50 per cent since 2009, owing to the global economic crisis and a supply of units that has outstripped existing demand. But business for the Emirate’s first sustainable residential project, Al Barari (meaning ‘wilderness’ in Arabic) near Nad Al Sheba, is healthy, according to its developer. The unique development

Al Barari features 189 plots on an area where 80 per cent of the land is dedicated to open space.

has caught investors’ attention because its 189 villas are on a plot where 80 per cent of the land is dedicated to open space, making this eco-friendly project among the Middle East’s lowest density developments. “Approximately 90 per cent of our villas are occupied by the

January 2012

actual owners, which underlines the strategy and approach we set out to achieve from the start; building a high quality development that offers a combination of luxury living and sustainability within a unique tranquil setting,” said Mohammed Zaal, chief executive of Al Barari. “With the current economic climate and the many challenges that the real estate industry has faced in Dubai, the Al Barari development is a true local success story in terms of commercial achievement,” he added. Phase one of the project has been completed and, apart from the villas, it also includes a concept restaurant using locally sourced organic foods and the region’s largest privately owned plant nursery covering 1,937,503 square feet with 1,800 plant varieties. Phase two of the project is to feature a six star boutique hotel, lifestyle apartments and a spa. Meanwhile, Al Barari has caught the interest of

wealthy international property investors, as it was the only eco-friendly development from the Middle East to exhibit at the London Luxury property show last year. The company was one of the event’s main sponsors, using it as a platform to showcase the unique eco-friendly development to potential investors looking to relocate to Dubai or to even purchase a second home in the Emirate. And the development is proving popular with international home buyers. “The fact that over three quarters of Al Barari is made up of green, open spaces is also a huge plus point for families looking to have a home in a community that reminds them of home,” said David Terry, luxury sales manager at real estate agent Luxhabitat, which has Al Barari as client. “Developments such as Al Barari have succeeded in continuing to attract investors and end users looking for completed, high-end developments of villas with the proper infrastructure, superior quality villas and community facilities that make it an attractive place to live,” he said.


News around the world

Apple’s Spaceship Campus Technology company readies to construct unique green building A spaceship of sorts is scheduled to soon land at Cupertino City, California. Apple’s campus, designed to convey a vision of interplanetary travel with its glass curvature, creating a full sphere, holds hopes that once complete, will vie for the most innovative, green office building yet built. This massive facility, currently named Apple Campus 2 Project, was pitched to the Cupertino City Council by the late Steve Jobs mere months before his death. About 13,000 employees will be housed within the 2.8 million square foot integrated office building, surrounded by green space. The stateof-the-art office and research and development facilities include initiatives to minimize energy demand, reduce car travel and increase the use of reclaimed water. Photovoltaic solar panels will cover the roof, making Apple’s campus one of the

largest solar power generators in the U.S, and an on-site power plant will supply the majority of the power needed for the campus. Private jogging paths and a fitness center will go some way to looking after the health of employees. In the meantime, Apple is waiting to receive the needed approvals for construction to begin in 2012, with prospective plans to open the facility in 2015. Since June of 2010, Cupertino City has been developing a draft Green Building Ordinance. The aim of the ordinance is to support the utilisation of healthy building materials and construction methods, promote resource efficiency and conservation through the design, construction, retrofit, operation and demolition of new buildings and existing buildings undergoing renovations. Here’s to 2015 for one heck of an Apple landing.

Eco-friendly houses in Russia More property seekers are buying energy efficient homes country The construction of eco-friendly houses is becoming more popular in Russia. Russians are taking to energy saving technologies used in houses that enable them to reduce costs on water supply and electricity by 35 per cent and on heating by up to 40 per cent. Businessmen regard their investments in the construction of eco-friendly houses as long term projects, the head of the Promo Estate company’s project Alexander Korolyev has said in a report. “People start to use energy saving solutions in construction of business facilities because they start to count money,” he said. “They understand although they invest more now this will pay off very soon.” Although the idea of the ecofriendly construction in Russia has been supported for quite a while by the country’s government and businesses,

January 2012

ordinary people are only beginning to show interest in it now. Analysts claim that the current popularity in these homes is due to the fact that such projects are still a new trend Russia. And the success of the construction of the homes is beginning to be felt in other parts of the construction secotor in the country as pilot projects in eco-friendly construction are now being implemented in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics and in Skolkovo innovative centre in the city of Moscow. By now, more than 50 facilities have been registered in Russia, which are to receive “green” international standard certificates and in the coming years their number will significantly increase, a member of the managing board of the Russian Council on Eco-friendly construction Alexei Polyakov has said:

“More business owners, construction companies, investors will become aware of the advantages the eco-friendly construction provides and use them. The environment-friendly ideology will be actively promoted on the levels of the government, business and population. Professional training for architects and engineers will be organized in this field. This will be the most promising field in the near future.” The construction of eco-friendly houses implies the use of solar energy or wind energy depending on a local climate. Stone and wood are the only materials used in construction. Ecofriendly houses also have autonomous sewage treatment system, air renewal system and special windows.

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Recycled Island Life

An island made of re-used waste could be set afloat on the Pacific Ocean in years to come.


n Architectural firm is proposing to build a habitable island out of recycled plastic that will be the size of Hawaii. WHIM, which is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, wants its 10,000 square kilometre project to float in the North Pacific Gyre, an area close to the North East of Hawaii, where there is a large concentration of plastic waste. BGreen reporter Alice Hartley spoke to the company’s architect, Ramon Knoester, about the project. Q. What can be achieved with joint aims of reduced carbon footprint, recycling, lowered energy output and consumer satisfaction? A. Recycled island is a reaction to the worldwide plastic pollution in our oceans and on our coastlines. I would like to promote a new way of thinking where we do not pollute anymore and where all waste is re-used. Recycled island, in any dimension, could set an example in this. With current technology

January 2012

able to create zero emission buildings, this should become the new standard. The first prototypes of buildings constructed from waste materials are now also a fact, it is only a matter of time before building zero emission houses or offices from waste products become the standard.

my own proposal. This all started with a project for the growing amount of young urban singles. This became later a project for the growing percentage of senior citizens. Now it is the worldwide plastic pollution, that I link to the rising sea level and the growing scarcity of fertile land.

Q. Ingenuity seems to be hallmark of your sustainable projects. Where does your drive to create stem from?

Q. What measures of success have you put in place?

A. Curiosity is what drives me mainly. If I see a subject that touches me and where I believe it should interact with my profession, then I research. When I have found enough data and not an adequate reaction in architecture, I start to draw

A. It takes a very long time to reach the success I aim for. However by bringing the plastic pollution issue to a wider public, incremental success is realised. The Recycled Island project is published worldwide and will certainly change people in their way of thinking in the use of plastics and the potential of recycling. Being published will hopefully be the conduit to project execution. Other satisfactory results will lie in business-partnership collaborations and new sustainable projects. Q. How do you ensure that what you set out to achieve (in terms of energy-output parameters) is reached by the end-user/ companies/governments you collaborate with? A. What the benefits of our design are, and how this will result in sustainable solution, must be owned by clients. Mostly the explanation for the reason of our design stimulates our clients to make the correct choice. If you want to contact WHIM, you can send them an email at



Energy & Water

Sustainable start-ups on show Entrepreneurs are to show off the green industry’s latest technology innovations at the World Energy Future Summit 2012.


oogle, Facebook and Twitter are examples of technologies created by start ups that have made dramatic impacts on societies around the world. Now, opportunities for environmental entrepreneurs to deliver similar groundbreaking changes exist in the sustainable energy sector, as this year’s World Energy Future Summit introduces an innovation segment to the event. The clean-tech industry is ripe for new products and services as global investments in 2010 stood at US $243bn, a 30 per cent increase on 2009, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “We are in the early stages of a technology revolution that will fundamentally change energy economics,”

January 2012


Energy & Water

There’s no ‘silver bullet’ to achieving 100 per cent clean, sustainable energy to power our world before the end of this century. But if we find and encourage the Steve Jobs of cleantech... I’m convinced this dream will soon be a reality,” Terry Tamminen, former secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency said Tommy Iglesby, a principal at McKinsey & Company’s energy practice speaking at the Harvard Business School Energy conference. “Clean technologies are on the road to disrupting multibillion dollar markets,” he said. Start up companies specialising in new clean technologies – which include solar, wind, water and smart grids, to bio-fuels, lighting, transport and energy storage – are to show off their products and services at ‘Innovate @ WFES’. Up to 35 of these companies are expected to participate from countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Korea, Japan, Switzerland, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates. The businesses on show at Innovate @ WFES could also have the chance to form partnerships and gain access to capital, and raise their profiles on the global stage. And the Middle East is a good point of departure for innovation as the region is experiencing higher growth in the sustainable industry as compared to the rest of the world. Countries across the Middle East are ramping up renewable energy investment, with some states aiming to have renewable sources account for more than 40 per cent of their energy mix by 2020.  Ten Arab states are setting quotas for renewable power generation ranging between 5 and 42 per cent, creating a closer alignment between the public and private sector to achieve these objectives. Further, analysts estimate that delivering on these goals will require a three-fold increase in renewable energy capacity across the Middle East and North Africa to at least 27,000 megawatts.  Even countries that have not set targets are still investing in large-scale renewable energy projects, such as Saudi Arabia, which in 2010 unveiled

January 2012


Energy & Water

Below: UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon, speaking at WFES last year

The need for a clean energy future is no longer in question,” Frederic Theux, president, Reed Exhibitions a 2-megawatt rooftop solar power installation at the Jeddah-based research institute KAUST. “WFES 2012 will be a valuable platform for all stakeholders committed to seeing such an important industry take root in the region, from investors


to technology providers to policy makers,” said WFES Exhibition Director Naji El Haddad. “Bringing about a domestic renewable energy sector in the region is about creating jobs and economic diversification as well as generating more power from sustainable sources,” he said.

January 2012

“There’s no ‘silver bullet’ to achieving 100 per cent clean, sustainable energy to power our world before the end of this century,” said Terry Tamminen, former secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency and the former special advisor to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “But if we find and encourage the Steve Jobs of cleantech, wherever he or she may be today, I’m convinced this dream will soon be a reality,” he said.

In addition to showing off the latest innovations, the show is to be a major point for networking as over 26,000 attendees, including 3,000 delegates, 650 exhibiting companies, and 20 national pavilions, are expected to participate at WFES 2012. The world’s most influential leaders in renewable energy, including heads of state, policy makers, government officials, business leaders, and academics, will gather in Abu Dhabi, the emerging global hub for renewable energy, to discuss, promote and debate the challenges and solutions of the world’s energy requirements at the World Future Energy Summit 2012. Held under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAEArmed Forces, and hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted renewable energy company, the WFES 2012 will examine the role of innovation in speeding the adoption and deployment of renewable energy and the importance of maintaining the significant progress that is being made in improving energy efficiency.



Energy & Water

January 2012


Energy & Water

Left: The map layout of WFES 2012. Right: A breakdown of where the delegates who attended last year’s event came from. Visitors from the GCC and Middle East and North Africa region continue to come to the show in large numbers as sustainable industries in these regions continue to experience strong growth.

To ensure that the real challenges in renewable energy and sustainability are discussed, the WFES 2012 programme will highlight the impact current economic challenges and reduced government subsidies in many countries may have on future growth in the sector. Moreover, the event will focus on innovation as the critical factor in mitigating future energy challenges. Innovation is seen as key to making clean energy technologies commercially viable and achieving energy efficiency. According to the International Energy Agency, more than 50 per cent of projected energy demand between the years1970 and 2010 was saved through energy efficiency measures. Advanced clean technologies showcased at WFES aim to continue this trend, as countries and corporations across the globe come under increaing pressure to be more sustainable. Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Managing Director and CEO of Masdar, said, “Through the World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi seeks to build bridges and create a platform

for open dialogue. Our work is at a crucial stage - momentum has to be maintained in our endeavor to find solutions to future energy needs. WFES is the place for like-minded countries, companies and individuals to discuss this important topic and to encourage and action innovation.” Now in its fifth year, the World Future Energy Summit is the world’s foremost annual meeting committed to promoting advancement of future energy, energy efficiency and clean technologies by engaging political, business, finance, academic and industry leaders to drive innovation, business and investment opportunities in response to the growing need for sustainable energy. Established as one of the main events on the global future energy calendar, the summit brings project owners and solution providers together with investors and buyers from across the public and private sectors. The theme of ‘Powering Sustainable Innovation’ will be the central topic addressed by more than 150 international speakers representing all viewpoints in the energy and sustainability debate. Alongside the international conference, WFES 2012 hosts a large-scale exhibition with companies from all over the world promoting their latest products and services. This year, in line with its theme, the summit will include ‘Innovate@WFES’, a new platform targeting startup companies developing clean technologies in solar, wind, water, smart grids, bio-fuels, lighting, transport and energy storage. Commenting on the significance of the fifth

World Future Energy Summit, Frederic Theux, president of Reed Exhibitions, organisers of WFES, said, “The need for a clean energy future is no longer in question. The only question is how we achieve it. The World Future Energy Summit continues to play a valuable role in engaging the global community in driving innovation, trade and investment opportunities. WFES is a dedicated platform for real debate and the development of ideas and relationships that will enable knowledge sharing and the realization of a sustainable energy future for generations to come.”

January 2012


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And the winner goes to... Achievements of those in the construction and sustainability industries were recognised in December at the Big Project and BGreen Awards 2011 that took place at the Armani Hotel in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa tower.

January 2012

he Big Project and BGreen awards were attended by 400 of the industry’s biggest names, including Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi, a member of the ruling family of the Emirate of Ajman; well-known as the “Green Sheikh”. The awards were presented in recognition of achievements in both the construction and sustainability industries, and among the winners were Dubai’s RTA for Dubai Metro Green Line; DAMAC for their track record of completing luxury developments and Hyder Consulting for water conservation initiatives. “The ceremony was an incredible success thanks to the support of our in house team, key sponsors and expert judging panel,” said Liam Williams, associate publisher of The Big Project magazine and associate publisher and founder of BGreen magazine. “On behalf of the whole team I would like to personally congratulate all the winners, especially in light of the calibre of nominations received. We can’t wait for next year,” Mr Williams added. The awards were judged by Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president DAMAC Properties; Adel Mohamed Mokhtar, senior architectural engineer and member of the Green Building Committee, Dubai Municipality; Salah Al Mashad, mechanical engineer and Member of the Green Building Committee, Dubai Municipality; Thierry Paret, president, American Institute of Architecture; Gerard Couturier, chairman of BuildingSMART and branch director, Oger Abu Dhabi; Mohammed Al Rais, senior vice president and managing director of Middle East Projects, Hill International; and Mohamed Al Noori, director general, The Environmental Centre for Arab Towns.

The Floor is Yours

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost, 1874-1963

Desso’s Cradle to Cradle® approach In signing a partnership agreement with the Hamburg-based Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency, Desso has become the first carpet manufacturer to adopt Cradle to Cradle® design for the entire carpet tile. It marks Desso’s radical decision to move beyond ‘mere’ sustainability in producing its carpets and artificial grass, making a fundamental, sweeping advance in its already impressive environmental credentials. Cradle to Cradle® is a giant step forward, from Eco Efficiency to Eco Effectiveness. Cradle to Cradle® design is about creating continuous cycles of both biological and technical ‘nutrients’. This means that products are made from pure components that are easy to disassemble, in order to create new products. They will have been produced using manufacturing processes which rely on renewable energy, and which seek to conserve water, and to embrace social responsibility. Customers can be sure that our products are made from environmentally friendly pure materials that are good for human health and are designed so that at their end of their useful lives, they can be biologically or technically recycled. For more information about Desso’s Cradle to Cradle approach, please visit our website




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January 2012


Construction The Winners Outstanding Development of the Year – Abu Dhabi Ports Company Infrastructure Project of the Year – RTA The Green Line, Dubai Metro Retrofit Project of the Year – Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry Developer of the Year – DAMAC Best Water Conservation Initiative – Hyder Architecture Firm of the Year – RW Armstrong Green Building Project of the Year – WMS Metal Industries LLC Energy Efficiency Project of the Year – Abu Dhabi Ports Company Sustainable Supplier of the Year – Mapei Contractor of the Year – Arabtec Construction LLC Product Supplier of the Year – LG Electronics Heavy Machinery Company of the Year – FAMCO (Al-Futtaim Auto & Machinery Company) Middle East Construction Software Application of the Year – CCS Sustainable Interior Design Project of the Year – Blanchard FZ LLC

Commercial Interior Design Firm of the Year – Al Aqili Special Recognition award for Support & Contribution to Sustainable Communications presented to — du

January 2012



Industry experts and representives, along with the team from CPI Publishers Big Project and BGreen teams gathered at the Armani Hotel in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa tower for the magazines’ first ever awards ceremony. Highlights of the evening included Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi (pictured right), a member of the ruling family of the Emirate of Ajman; well-known as the “Green Sheikh”, entertaining the crowd with a moving speech about the importance of being eco-friendly in what has been one of the fastest developing countries in the world over the last few years.

January 2012

YOUR ONE-STOP GUIDE TO CONSTRUCTION DEVELOPMENTS IN THE REGION... The Big Project is the Middle East’s leading monthly B2B magazine for the construction industry.

40,880 readers per month AVERAGE PROJECTED READERSHIP

CONTACT DETAILS Associate publisher Liam Williams TEL: +971 (0)4 440 9158

Editor Melanie Mingas TEL: +971 (0)4 440 9117 GSM: +971 (0)56 758 7834

Assistant editor Dan McAlister TEL: +971 (0)4 440 9118


Special Feature

Above: World leaders from developed and developing nations gathered at last month’s UN climate change summit conference

The growing pains of climate change The economic emergence of China, Russia and India has resulted in the only legal instrument that has addressed climate change, the Kyoto protocol, to be amended. BGreen explores how developing nations are to be held more accountable for their carbon emissions in coming years, following agreements made at last month’s COP17 summit.

Global warming is a global challenge,” Dr Krämer, Taylor Wessing January 2012


n 2006, China surpassed the US to become the world’s largest carbon emitter, a result that would signal the beginning of environmentalists’ increased focus on developing countries’ contribution toward climate change. Newly built coal power stations, booming car sales and

mega-construction projects were factors that resulted in the Asian powerhouse taking the top spot on that infamous list. However, like developed countries in Europe, China also agreed to the terms of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which called on nations to decrease their carbon emissions to that of five per cent

below 1990 levels. But unlike governments in the West who signed the agreement, China has never been held legally accountable to the same extent because of its developing status. Policy makers at the 1997 Kyoto protocol also did not take into account that, more than a decade later, emerging powers


Special Feature

We’ve managed to bring the major emitters like the US, India and China into a roadmap which will secure an overarching global deal,” UK energy and climate secretary Chris Huhne such as Russia and India would feature prominently in the globe’s top ten carbon emission rankings. So, it came as no surprise then that world leaders, gathering at the United Nations COP17 environmental conference in Durban last month, would call for amendments to be made to the Kyoto protocol, so as to get developed as well developing nations to be equally held to task for not meeting carbon emission objectives. Some 190 countries agreed to a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, which will run from January 1, 2013 until the end of 2017. The countries also signed a mandate to get all nations in 2015 to sign a deal that would force them to cut their

emissions by no later than 2020. The move to hold all countries accountable has been seen as positive, as environmentalists stress the importance of preventing a 2 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures. “Global warming does not stop at the borders of any particular country,” said Dr. Michael Krämer, a senior associate at Taylor Wessing in the UAE. “Global warming is, in fact, a global challenge and will have to be tackled by all nations, not only a few,” he said. However, not all countries were happy to sign the new agreement. India’s Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, who reportedly gave an

impassioned speech to the conference denouncing what she said was unfair pressure on Delhi to compromise, said her country had only reluctantly agreed to the accord. “We’ve had very intense discussions,” she said. “We were not happy with reopening the text but in the spirit of flexibility and accommodation shown by all, we have shown our flexibility... we agree to adopt it,” she added. Meanwhile, small island states said they had gone along with a deal as well, and Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, head of the Africa Group, said at the conference, “It’s a middle ground, we meet mid-way. Of course we are not completely happy about the outcome, it lacks

January 2012


Special Feature


It’s a middle ground, we meet midway,” Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, head of the Africa Group

balance, but we believe it is starting to go into the right direction.” The latest agreement in Durban not only had developing countries on board, but it also secured commitments from the United States, which has never signed up to the Kyoto Protocol. Britain’s Energy and Climate Secretary Chris Huhne told Reuters that this result in particular was “a great success for European diplomacy.” “We’ve managed to bring the major emitters like the US, India and China into a roadmap which will secure an overarching global deal,” he said. US climate envoy Todd Stern in a statement said that Washington was also satisfied with the outcome, “We got the kind of symmetry that we had been focused on since the beginning of the Obama administration. This had all the elements that we were looking for.” While there have been more serious moves from the likes of the US to implement measures to prevent climate

January 2012

change, question marks arose about other developed countries commitment to the Kyoto protocol. Just one day after countries signed the new agreement of the Kyoto protocol in Durban, Canada announced that it was pulling out of the Kyoto protocol. Canada is ranked eigth in the world, just after Iran and Germany, in terms of the level of its carbon emissions. The country still has a legal obligation under United Nations rules to cut its emissions despite its pullout from the Kyoto Protocol, according the U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres. But the North American country’s move was a blow to the Kyoto agreement. The nation is a major energy producer, which critics say is becoming a climate renegade. Yet, its withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol also came as no surprise as it has a long history of

China, despite its massive carbon output, has been heavily investing in the generation of renewable energy in the recent past. The country, for example, has largely been responsible for driving down international prices of solar panels, as a result of it boosting production of the devices for its burgeoning ‘sun farms’. And the country has also announced that it is planning to invest another USD $ 738 billion into renewable energy generation over the next 10 years, which is proof that economic growth and sustainability can co-exist.

complaining about Kyoto being unworkable, because it has excluded so many significant emitters. Industrialised countries whose emissions have risen significantly since 1990, like Canada, remain in a weaker position to call on developing countries to limit their emissions. The Canadian government said it would be subject to penalties equivalent to US $13.6 billion, under the terms of the treaty for not cutting emissions by the required amount by 2012. The amount of the fine would be significant, especially as the West grapples with slow economic growth in the midst of an economic recession and is increasingly dependent on the East for trade. However, despite the problems the Kyoto protocol faces, it is the only agreement of its kind to attempt to prevent climate change for the time being capable of coordinating international efforts to fight global warming.

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QUICK summary ABOUT the agreements REACHED at THE UN COP17 Summit: “I do believe that the Kyoto protocol is a pretty good tool, which is evidenced by the fact that it has been signed and ratified by almost all countries on earth apart from the US, Afghanistan, South Sudan and now Canada,” said Dr. Michael Krämer “The Kyoto protocol will have to constantly be updated over time, however, in order for it to adapt to the challenges at hand. I would compare the Kyoto protocol to the EU vehicle emissions regulations. Once the legislative infrastructure is in place it becomes possible to implement continuously stricter emission levels. To me the Kyoto protocol is such legislative infrastructure, so why reinvent the wheel if we can build on what is already in place?”

January 2012

Extension of the Kyoto Protocol The second commitment period will run from January 1, 2013 until the end of 2017. Legal Form Delegates agreed to start negotiations for a new legally binding treaty to be decided by 2015 and to come into force by 2020. The process for doing so, called the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, would “develop a new protocol, another legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force that will be applicable to all Parties to the UN climate convention,” under a working group. Ambition Delegates decided the process towards developing a new legal instrument would “raise levels of ambition” in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At the request of the EU and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the delegates agreed to launch a work plan to identify options for closing the “ambition gap” between countries’ current emissions reduction pledges for 2020 and the goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Transparency The Durban Package brings into operation new arrangements for making more transparent the actions taken by both developed and developing countries to address their emissions. Finance Poor nations are most in need of finance to help pay for adapting to global warming and introducing low emission energy and industrial processes. Against the backdrop of a sovereign debt crisis, developed nations are also ill-placed to commit money beyond short-term financing that runs out at the end of next year.The Durban talks made headway on agreeing the design of Green Climate Fund to channel up to $100 billion a year by 2020 to poorer nations. New Market Mechnisms The EU wants any new market mechanisms to cut greenhouse gas emissions outside of Kyoto anchored in international law, in order to avoid fragmentation of the international carbon market. Parties will now work on developing a framework for new mechanisms over the next 12 months with a view to making recommendations at a summit in Qatar at the end of 2012. Carbon Capture and Storage The Durban talks ended six years of debate over whether and how the technology of carbon capture and storage could qualify for carbon offsets under the ‘Clean Development Mechanism’.The Kyoto scheme rewards governments or companies who invest in clean energy projects in developing countries with carbon credits, which they can trade and sell for profit. The new rules force project developers to put five per cent of the carbon credits earned in a reserve, to be awarded to them only after site monitors have proved that no carbon dioxide has leaked from the underground store 20 years after the end of the crediting period. Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) Delegates agreed to consider private funding and market-based mechanisms as options to finance the program on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, paving the way for billions of dollars of private investment. Joint Implementation The Durban meeting failed to ratify Kyoto’s Joint Implementation (JI) mechanism, as negotiators once again did not decide on whether to allow emission reduction projects to earn carbon credits under the scheme beyond 2012. Delegates agreed to delay a decision on whether to decouple the future of JI from that of Kyoto until later this year.

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Green IT

Data-centre energy efficiency The data-centre industry in the Middle East is booming. But as this sector expands, there are concerns about how this energy-intensive infrastructure will impact on the region’s environment.


ata-centres around the globe are likely to consume 19 per cent more energy next year than in 2011, according to a report from DatacenterDynamics. And an increasing number of these facilities are set to be based in the Middle East. Europe and the US house 70 per cent of the world’s computerised data-centres, according to research group, The Uptime Institute. But the Middle East is seeking to be more self-reliant, as DatacenterDynamics, based in the UK, forecasts that the region will increase investment in its facilities by 46 per cent next year to US$2.12bn (Dh 7.78bn). Telecommunications, information and communications technology (ICT), and the banking and finance industries in the Middle East are among those spending more on upgrading their existing infrastructure, as well as building new centres.

January 2012

And so, the energy efficiency of data-centres, though, is an issue businesses in the region are becoming more conscious of according to Olivier Delepine, VP Gulf, IT Business at Schneider Electric. “As the Middle-East market grows and matures, energy efficiency is becoming key in the discussion not only with hosting companies and IT managers

but also with CEO and CFO,” he said. Data-centre’s accounted for between 1.1 per cent and 1.5 per cent of the world’s total energy consumption in 2010, according to Stanford consulting professor Jonathan Koomey. And it is not just energy efficiency that is a big concern, but also saving money on electricity bills.


As the Middle-East market grows and matures, energy efficiency is becoming key in the discussion” Olivier Delepine, VP at Schneider Electric

total spending on infrastructure, which includes the upgrading of servers, is to increase by 18.6 per cent next year to $630 million. Further, the research predicted that the number of new data centres in the region next year would increase by 6 per cent to 6,400. The four sectors with the most data centres are ICT with a 20.5 per cent share, telecommunications with a 13.2 per cent share, the public sector with a 16.8 per cent share, and banking and financial services with a 7.3 per cent share. Improvements to infrastructure in the region are increasing data centres’ processing power and energy efficiency while reducing actual size compared with those in the West, according to Mr Delepine. “We saw in Europe a long journey in the progression of the technology and improvement in the technology. Here there is no journey; we are jumping directly to state-of-the-art,” he said. The rapid development of data centres in the Middle East, however, is also part of a global trend of developing countries catching up to developed countries in technical infrastructure. However, Mr Delepine offers other tips for businesses looking to manage their datacentres energy efficiency.


“All companies would rather invest money in their core business than in their electricity bills,” he said. Nevertheless, businesses in the region are spending more money on these facilities. The DatacenterDynamics census last year, which surveyed 5,400 data-centre executives around the world, said the Middle East’s

Electricity usage costs have become an increasing fraction of the total cost of ownership (TCO) for data centers. It is possible to dramatically reduce the electrical consumption of typical data centers through appropriate design of the data-centre physical infrastructure and through the design of the IT architecture. As a general rule, approximately half of the energy used in a data-centre goes to the IT loads. The other half goes to the data-centre physical infrastructure (DCPI) equipment including power equipment. This means that for each kW of IT load the 10 year electricity cost is approximately US

$20,000. For example, a 200 kW data center would have a 10 year electricity cost of US $4,000,000. Clearly the primary driver of power consumption is the power draw of the IT equipment. IT equipment power consumption directly contributes to the electrical bill, and it indirectly contributes by requiring various power and cooling equipment that also consume comparable amounts of electricity. The reduction of power consumption of IT systems consists of several approaches: • Operational actions: retiring systems, operating existing systems in an efficient manner, and migrating to more energy efficient platforms • Planning actions: virtualisation and standardisation The reduction of energy consumption of DCPI equipment is accomplished using the following techniques: right-sizing the DCPI system to the load, using efficient DCPI devices, and designing an energy-efficient system.

RIGHT SIZING: Of all of the techniques available to users, right-sizing the DCPI system to the load has the most impact on DCPI electrical consumption. Most users do not understand that there are fixed losses in the power and cooling systems that are present whether the IT load is present or not, and that these losses are proportional to the overall power rating of the system. These fixed losses are the dominant form of DCPI electrical consumption in typical installations. In installations that have light IT loads, the fixed losses of the DCPI equipment commonly exceed the IT load.

EFFICIENT DESIGN: Here are examples of system design issues that reduce the efficiency of data-centres to a much lower value than would be expected

January 2012


Green IT

All companies would rather invest money in their core business than in their electricity bills” by summing the losses of the individual parts: • Power distribution units and / or transformers operating well below their full load capacities. • Air conditioners running with low output temperatures, continuously dehumidifying the air which must then be continuously re-humidified using a humidifier.


Air conditioners that are actually heating while others in the same room are cooling. Air conditioners forced to consume excessive power to drive air against high pressures over long distances.

EFFICIENT DCPI DEVICES: There is a substantial variation in the electrical losses between DCPI


devices of the same type operated under the same conditions. For example, in a December, 2005 paper by the US Electric Power Research Institute, it was found that different UPS systems operated at 30 per cent of load rating varied in losses from 4 per cent to 22 per cent. It is important to note that this variation cannot be ascertained from the specification sheets for these products.

Limitations • Savings are greater for redundant systems

Right-size DCPI

10 – 30% • Using a modular, scalable power and cooling architecture

Virtualize servers

More efficient air conditioner architecture

Economizer modes of air conditioners

More efficient floor layout More efficient power equipment

• Not technically a physical infrastructure solution but has radical impact 1 0– 40% • Involves consolidation of applications onto fewer servers, typically blade servers • Also frees up power and cooling capacity for expansion

Locate vented floor tiles correctly

• Row-oriented cooling has higher efficiency for high density • Shorter air paths require less fan power • CRAC supply and return temperatures are higher, increasing efficiency, capacity, and preventing dehumidification thereby greatly reducing humidification costs

4 – 15%

Many air conditioners offer economizer options • This can offer substantial energy savings, depending on geographic location • Some data centers have air conditioners with economizer modes, but economizer operation is disabled

5 – 12%

• Floor layout has a large effect on the efficiency of the air conditioning system • Involves hot-aisle / cold-aisle arrangement with suitable air conditioner locations

4 – 10%

• New best-in-class UPS systems have 70 per cent less losses than legacy UPS at typical • For new designs or retrofits loads • Light load efficiency is the key parameter, NOT the full load efficiency • Don’t forget that UPS losses must be cooled, doubling their costs

0 – 10%

• Many data centers have multiple air conditioners that actually fight each other • One may actually heat while another cools • One may dehumidify while another humidifies • The result is gross waste • May require a professional assessment to diagnose

1 -6%

Many vented tiles are located incorrectly in the average data centre or the wrong number are installed • Correct locations are NOT intuitively obvious • A professional assessment can ensure an optimal result • Side benefit – reduced hot spots

Install energy efficient lighting

1 – 3%

• Turn off some or all lights based on time of day or motion • Use more efficient lighting technology • Don’t forget that lighting power also must be cooled, doubling the cost • Benefit is larger on low density or partly filled data centers

Install blanking panels

1 – 2%

• Decrease server inlet temperature • Also saves on energy by increasing the CRAC return air temperature • Cheap and easy with new snap-in blanking panels

January 2012

• To achieve savings in an existing facility some power and cooling devices may need to be turned off • For new designs

7 – 15%

Coordinate air conditioners

• For new designs and some expansions • Requires major IT process changes

• Benefits are limited to high density designs

• For new designs • Difficult to retrofit

• For new designs • Difficult to retrofit

• For any data center with multiple air conditioners

• Only for data-centres using a raised floor • Easy, but requires expert guidance to achieve best result

• Most data centers can benefit

• For any data-centre, old or new


Green IT

Green gadgets Call yourself a green geek? This issue BGreen brings you the hottest solar powered gizmos.

Notebook achieves net zero carbon emissions Computer manufacturer ASUS has built the first notebook in the world to achieve net zero carbon emissions throughout its product lifecycle. The manufacturer has met the requirements of the PAS 2060:2010 Standard for Carbon Neutrality with the U53SD Bamboo Notebook. ASUS analysed the carbon footprint patterns caused by human activities, and devised a plan to reduce and offset these emissions to carbon neutrality status without net increase in the global emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHG) to the atmosphere. To achieve this, ASUS reduced the U53SD’s carbon footprint by up to 10 per cent using bamboo instead of plastics for parts of the notebook chassis, as well as developing energy-saving hardware and software.

Frank Lin, chief quality officer, said, “ASUS supports all available strategies to mitigate climate change. Aside from reducing carbon emissions at enterprise level, we also follow the Integrated Product Policy (IPP) to develop energy-saving technologies that reduce the carbon footprint of our products through our Eco design concepts.” The Bamboo Series ASUS Bamboo Series notebooks features bamboo on the exterior instead of the usual plastics found in most notebooks. The bamboo has been lightly-treated to retain its look and feel, giving this eco-tech marvel a warm, natural texture. Inside, the Bamboo Series comes with the Super Hybrid Engine (SHE) technology which significantly lowers energy consumption by up to 20 per cent through a clever combination of hardware and software. The Bamboo Series also employ the use of 100 per cent natural and recyclable bamboo paper and non-woven cloth in its packaging, further reducing the environmental impact of this range of notebooks.

Changers solar panel charging system Countries in the Middle East such as the UAE have plenty of year-round sun. However, its people are also known worldwide to own lots of electronic gadgets such as the latest smartphones and tablets. So those in the region who happen to like both these two things will be happy to hear that there is now a charger that uses the sun’s energy to charge gadgets ranging from an iPad to a mobile phone and, in fact, any device that has a USB connection. And in so doing, the charger also aims to diminish its users’ carbon footprint and contribute towards the decreasing of global warming. A Berlin-based startup called ‘Changers’ has launched the solar charging system by giving its solar charging battery and its accompanying

January 2012

solar panel the near-incomprehensible names of ‘Kalhuohfummi’ and ‘Maroshi’ respectively. The solar battery provides up to what its makers claim is four watts of power in ideal sunlight conditions. This is enough to fully charge the battery of a device within four hours its makers say. Moreover, the solar battery can save and track the amount of energy you save on the gadget to collate it into a score that counts how much you have saved on your carbon footprint. Your total score cam then be tweeted to your followers on the social network Twitter to tell them how energy-conscious you have been. Also, your score can be added up in ‘Changers Social Energy Marketplace’ so that you can then accumulate points that can be used as credits to redeem products. The Changers system costs US $149.



Lighting the way forward LED lamps are pricey, but they save on electricity bills over the long term. BGreen speaks to UAE-based Laser and Electronics Middle East LLC executive directors Sanuj Kohli and Rishi Kohli about their retrofit projects for telecommunications company du and The Ritz Carlton hotel, DIFC

How did you get involved in the lighting business in the UAE? Sanuj Kohli: We’ve been established for six years. We were actually involved in the design and development of circuit boards until we started off the LED lighting division. The LED division has been established only for about the last year or so, and what we mainly do is specialise in retrofit lighting projects. When we talk about retrofit, we go into hotels, hospitals, schools, commercial entities, retail as well. What we do is when we walk into a property we do sort of an energy audit, so what we’ll say is, right, you use ‘x’ amount of these in your thousand square foot. This is how much power you’re consuming; this is your current electricity bill. If you change it to retrofit LED lamps, this is how much you’re going to save and this how much your return in investment will be in comparison to what we sell to you. On average we try to save 35 to a maximum of 90 per cent in power consumption.

January 2012

How much does it cost to implement this system?

basically work as a company is we work on ROIs... .But what is that going to do in the long run for you: it’s going to bring down your power consumption, which is a massive cost; your maintenance - an LED will last for about 35,000 hours, which is about 12 years of light compared to halogen lighting, which only lasts for 3,000 hours, about one month. Fluroscent lighting only lasts for about 7,000 hours, which is about two months. Within the comparison, your ROI can be achieved within 12 to 24 months.

Sanuj Kohli: You’re probably looking to an investment of about 40 per cent more but that depends on the type of lamp you’re trying to replace. So, for example, if you try to replace halogen, it will probably cost you sixty per cent more. If you’re trying to replace fluroscent, it’s probably going to cost you about 40 per cent more. How we

Rishi Kohli: You’ll immediately see an impact on your bills; you’ll see that instantly. We carry a five year warranty; we carry a brand called OptiLED, which is from Hong Kong. LED is all about the chip, which is Cree - Cree is the market leader in LED chips; it is the number one chip you can find... .We can replace anything and everything,

Commercial is usually only about 35, but with hotels it’s definitely 90 per cent. Rishi Kohli: The thing with LEDs is that a lot of people want to phase them in and then you see the results way down the line, whereas they (a hotel client of theirs) did it in one hit and they started to see the results immediately, but the ROI will be obviously quicker because you’ve done it straight away.



Everybody wants to talk LED now; I think there’s too many peddlers now. You can go to Dragonmart and pick up an LED for Dhs 20 or Dhs 30, but the point is you plug it in and it’s not giving you the right output,” Rishi Kohli of Lighting and Electric. moment, our key target market over the last eight months and the most successful target market has been hotels.

Sanuj Kohli and Rishi Kohli

Who do you then target with these products? Sanuj Kohli: Hotels, hospitals, schools, retail and commercial properties like warehouses and factories, where companies have lines and lines of tube lights. At the

Sanuj Kohli: If anything goes wrong with lighting anywhere in the world, it’s never the lamp, it’s the transformer, it’s the power supply behind that. Very few manufacturers give a warranty on the power supply through to the lamp. In LED, a lot of people talk about hours - we’ll warranty this for fifty thousand hours and we’ll warranty this for sixty thousand hours. To be honest with you we warranty it for 35,000 hours, but your transformer and your lamp replacement, we cover you for five years. So, if anything goes wrong with LED luminary within the first five years, we completely change it. Do you think that the market in the

UAE is energy-conscious enough at this stage to take on the products that you offer and, furthermore, what are the biggest challenges you face in the UAE when it comes to running an ecofriendly business? Sanuj Kohli and Rishi Kohli: Changing mentalities. Rishi Kohli: The belief has to be from the client. They must believe ‘I am energy-conscious’, ‘I want to save money on power’, ‘I want to reduce usage’. You’re not only reducing your electricity bills through what you’re consuming using light, your air-conditioning goes down; there’s a knock-on effect. Your cooling comes down... .That’s a major hurdle; if that belief is not there, that’s the challenge. The other challenge is over-saturation now. Everybody wants to talk LED now; I think there are too many peddlers now. You can go to Dragonmart and pick up an LED for Dh 20 or Dh 30, but the point is you plug it in and it’s not giving you the right output.The problem is those Dragonmart boys and the Deira boys, which are your market traders are bringing in cheaper stuff directly from countries such as China, where there’s hundreds of these factories and assembly plants. You’ll be surprised, we’ve actually seen five star hotels stocking these Dragonmart bulbs in there. Sanuj Kohli: Everything we provide when we sell the product comes with quality standards,

January 2012



Getaway in the garden city

Alice Hartley

A bus trip to Abu Dhabi, an ayurveda spa-treatment, and a sustainable restaurant eating experience made for a green weekend away, writes Alice Hartley.


Every time I think of a new ingredient, I ask whether it’s sustainably or responsibly sourced,” Thierry Gallas, chef of Le Bistro” January 2012

t was high time that I took myself on an urban sustainable weekend break. So, I hit the Le Meridien hotel in Abu Dhabi in a bid to reduce my carbon footprint so as not to compromise on my travel desires. Abu Dhabi has a reputation for being the ‘Garden City’ of the UAE, as it is the greenest of the seven Emirates. Situated on an area which is surrounded by over 200 other islands, visiting Abu Dhabi is unique, as the city literally floats on sand banks. Like the city’s green credentials, the Le Meridian hotel also boasts lush gardens, bistros, cafes, pubs and restaurants all perfectly proportioned and cocooned within a welcoming courtyard. The private beach was the deal-maker, making it the ideal choice for me, tourists and the business traveler. Crucially, the hotel is just a mere 10 dirham taxi fare from the capital’s Bus Depot. You see, I took a Dubai metro ride to get to my Abu Dhabi bound public bus, making this city adventure an eco-journey every step of the way. And the journey took a mere hour and a half, so, at the end of my long journey I was ready for my spa treatment.

Eden Spa The Eden Spa and Heath Club offers swimming pools, a private beach with fabulous views of stylishly lit buildings on the near-horizon, floodlit tennis courts, squash courts, Turkish

Hammam, Aqua medic pool, fitness centre, steam bath, indoor waterfall pool, and three (no less) jacuzzis of varying temperatures. But, best of all, the Spa boasts a medically-trained and compassionate ayurvedic practitioner, there to guide the needy guest. Ayurveda is a science of health and healthy living. This 5000 year old path is meant for relieving people from their misery. The day I visited, my moans were all about tight temple muscles and bunchedup shoulders (blame the computer) to which Umesh, my practitioner, recommended the hour long Shirodhara. Umesh then explained how we would proceed. Therapy commences with a head massage, and I was required to sit upright, and be showered with short, swift finger massage, the scalp benefiting from minty, medicated oil which caused my eyelids to lower and shoulders to release their intrinsic tension. State of bliss coming right up… The neck receives knot-dissolving rubs next. And once I am at the point of nodding off, Umesh instructed me to lie on my back for the long strokes specifically intended to direct blood flow to my extremities. The result was rejuvenated circulation. Finally, to end the session, I experienced something that I have only dreamt about: with head tilted back, and well supported, warmed oil is slowly poured over my forehead



and temples. Siphoned through a gently swinging vessel, a moving stream of in total 2 liters of oil - the temperature of which is 3 degrees higher than body temperature - took me to a faraway place. In fact, I found the corners of my mouth curving up in a smile that remained until the very last drop of oil anointed my forehead. I was actually smiling. My eyes were closed and bathed in the aroma of peppermint, and my third eye (or Pineal Gland for those of us trained at western universities) was at peace. Shiro-dhara (Sanskrit meaning “head” and “stream”) did as was promised: mental stress is relieved; anxiety dissolved, low-grade headache lifted, overall state of happiness reinstated. Now a word of warning, your hair is literally dripping in oil once we are done. Two litres of the stuff is repeatedly warmed and reapplied, and Umesh does his best to wring it out, and recommends a visit to the sauna before Jacuzzis and showering. Now I loved this sensation; however, you may not. Umesh has been administering Ayurvedic treatments at Eden Spa for 8 years, before which time he worked at an Indian Ayurvedic Hospital. The verdict: Thoroughly enjoyed and a hghly recommended experience.

Le Bistrot restaurant A handful of UAE eateries claim that they are ‘green’ in one way or another.

Some restaurants in the Emirates have adopted responsible food sourcing while other establishments have made tablecloths out of recycled paper. But the chef of Le Bistrot, Frenchman Thierry Gallas, is also playing his part among these eateries by offering locally sourced organic foodstuff. However, the dishing up of sustainable cuisine is only the beginning of the green experience at Le Bistrot. Gallas and his team have also refitted energy-saving light bulbs, chose chairs made from reclaimed timber, and used linen instead of water-hungry cotton for aprons. Even the menu is printed on Forest Stewardship Council certified paper and table cloths that are 100% biodegradable. “Every week we look to our suppliers for their latest locally-farmed and raised produce,” he told me “We have literally partnered with our purveyors, to bring the best of regional ingredients from farm to tabletop,” he added.

Eight months ago the decision was made to convert the then French restaurant into its present incarnation. The inspiration for change came from, of all places, the Food and Wine Lovers Society of Abu Dhabi, who chose Le Bistrot for their meeting venue - a collaboration that saw a refocusing to sustainability. The organic herb garden on the terrace of the restaurant has mint, basil and thyme. The vegetables and fruits served are produced by Abu Dhabi Organic Farms and poultries come from Al Ain. Even the seafood options are nonthreatened species. “Every time I think of a new ingredient, I ask whether it’s sustainably or responsibly sourced,” Gallas says. “I think about its carbon footprint. I choose Omani lobster rather than procure from Europe, for example. My team and I visit the farms. I get to know the growers. I encourage my guests to pair their meal with organic wines,” he said. The next plan is for Le Bistrot to get the support of local interest groups, food-lover’s clubs and host live cooking demonstrations, all within the context of using well-thought out, responsibly sourced ingredients, a practice that easily translates into the home kitchen.

January 2012

Photos by Alice Hartley

Organic food is on Le Bistrot’s menu



Dubai hotels ‘waste’ energy The Emirate’s prestige hotels are using more than twice the amount of energy as compared to establishments in other parts of the world, says an energy management software company.

Customers can calculate their CO2 emissions,” Markus Oberlin, Farnek Avireal general manager

January 2012


ive-star city hotels in Dubai are using up to 225% more energy than their European counterparts, according to a recent study conducted by the company Farnek Avireal. And the company has suggested that more of these establishments should use hotel optimiser software to help effectively manage and reduce both the costs and consumption of energy, water and waste. “With energy saving directly related to cost saving, the findings have highlighted significant savings for hotels in Dubai and throughout the region, thereby potentially boosting bottom line performance,” said Markus Oberlin, general manager, Farnek Avireal. The study, which benchmarked Dubai hotel average consumption against comparable European properties, revealed that hotels in the emirate use up to 1,250 litres of water per guest compared to 350 litres in Germany. Furthermore, the study found power usage among UAE hotels on average were 275-325 kWh per square metre versus 100 kWh in German hotels. The company suggests that hotels should use software such as its own to manage power usage. “As a market leader in sustainability, we have been helping hotels and resorts to reduce their carbon footprint through our exclusive

association with Green Globe, the international sustainability certification programme for the tourism and hospitality industry, and the Hotel Optimizer software is a complementary product that enables our environmentally-focused clients to make significant cost savings of between 15 to 20 per cent across key areas of their operation,” remarked Oberlin. “Using our advanced technology, customers can calculate their CO2 emissions including the real cost of wasteful energy and water consumption, as well as non-recyclable waste production,” he added. According to the company, Hotel Optimizer functionality enables hotels to easily identify cost-saving opportunities and set realistic annual targets at the click of a button, as well as download unbiased overviews of operational water and energy costs. Farnek Avireal also launched the next generation edition of Hotel Optimizer software at the World Green Tourism last month, with programme upgrades including detailed analytics and cost saving indications, a month-on-month comparison chart spanning four years that allows users to track progress, and the ability to add property-specific commentary. “We have also refined the actual graphic display to enhance functionality and make it even more user-friendly,” said Oberlin.

The Global Centre of Future Energy

Masdar City is an emerging clean technology hub in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Organisations and institutions from around the world are coming here to pioneer solutions to the global energy challenge. With access to key international markets, funding and investment, and a skilled, specialist talent pool, Masdar City creates an environment where innovation and entrepreneurialism flourish. To learn how partnering with us can transform your business and change the world, email or visit us online at


Eco-leisure — Green Car

Plug in and drive A Dubai-based business has setup the Middle East’s first solar system charging point as it rents luxury electric and hybrid cars

Everybody is fully concerned with the environment,” Mazen Al Toukhi, Green Car Rental Dubai


upercars are known for being fuel-guzzling machines that are not environmentally friendly. However, a company called ‘Green Car Rental Dubai’ has garnered attention in the UAE for renting out an electric version of the Tesla Roadster, one of the world’s only ecofriendly sport cars. The business also offers a fleet of hybrid and electrically powered cars ranging from the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, to high-end luxury vehicles such as the BMW X6 for rent. Rental prices ranges from Dh 300 to 3000 per day, depending on the type of car. And drivers can save up to 85 per cent on fuel costs using a hybrid car that can cut down on Co2 emissions by as much as 53 per cent.

January 2012

But for those wanting to be 100 per cent green with these electric or hybrid cars, they can also use the region’s first solar recharging station, which has been setup on Shaikh Zayed Road near Financial Centre Metro Station. Another unit will be installed in Emirates Hills soon according to Mazen Al Toukhi, managing director of Green Car Rental Duabi. He also hopes to set up between 30 and 40 electric car charging stations across the city soon.

“Nowadays, everybody is fully concerned with the environment and how it suffers severely from the pollution especially that caused by cars. From here we got the idea of renting green cars. We care to fulfil what our customers desire, whether hybrid or electrical, commercial or luxurious. Also for the first time in the region we have charging system that works by transferring the solar energy to electric to charge the 100 per cent electric cars,” said Mr Al Toukhi.

For those who cannot get to the station, the cars can be recharged easily at home, at malls and in schools. This just involves plugging the cable of the car battery into any regular socket, then unplugging it to set off and enjoy the ride. The business has been established to also give people the opportunity to try out an electric vehicle before committing to buying one. And if adopted en masse, the cars could have big benefits for the environment.


Eco-leisure — Green Car

We have charging system that works by transferring the solar energy to electric to charge the 100 per cent electric cars” Al Toukhi said if all car rental companies in the region adopt this technology, the benefits of a much-reduced carbon dioxide (Co2) level can be experienced in the Middle

fromzero to 80 kilometres and they can use petrol from 80 kilometres up to the maximum (speed). Furthermore, as it is running with petrol, this fuel recharges its electricity.

East five years from now. Driving 36,000 kilometres in a petrol-powered car produces around 6.8 metric tonnes of Co2, while a hybrid car emits only half of that or about 3.7 metric tonnes of Co2 over the same distance. Electric cars emit nothing as it runs 100 per cent by electricity. Even when you take its manufacturing into account, you will reduce your carbon footprint by 53 per cent.” Hybrid cars are powered by a combination of petrol and electricity, while electric cars run on electricity alone, without combustion engine and pollution because it has zero carbon emission. Hybrid cars use electricity from accelerating

Several electric and hybrid makers in the USA and Europe are offering to supply Mr Al Toukhi and make it their distributor in the Middle East. He said that this new unique fleet of cars would easily catch the attention of residents because it will give them big savings. A motorist could spend Dh8,500 to drive a petrol-powered car for 36,000 kilometres. But, in a  hybrid car, he will spend only Dh3,200 or he makes a saving of Dh5,300 or 63 per cent, according to Mr Al Toukhi. An electric car couldl help the motorist save Dh7,250 as driving it for the same distance only costs him Dh1,250. The initiative, however, is not the first of

its kind in the world. Autolib, a project built on the success of the French city of Paris’ bike-rental scheme, was launched last month. While many world cities have been developing greener alternatives to carbonemitting vehicles, Paris says its programme is the biggest of its kind as 250 vehicles hit the road on Monday; 2,000 are expected by next summer and 3,000 are planned within the next two years. The four-seat compact Bluecar – even though it’s really grey – is an example of one of the cars used in the Paris scheme. The car was designed by Pininfarina and Frenchconglomerate Groupe Bollore, who have used a Lithium Metal Polymer battery to power the car. Prospective users need a valid ID, driver’s licence and credit card before signing up online or by a videoconference with a customer service representative at one of 40 special glassed-in shelters in Paris and dozens of suburban towns also taking part. Moreover, electric stations are also becoming more common around the world. The Taiwanese government is planning to build 60 battery exchange stations, starting next February, as part of a pilot project to encourage the use of green vehicles. In northern Taiwan, the project will be managed by City Power Taiwan Co., which will receive a government subsidy of US$1.48 million to set up 30 battery exchange stations in the Banciao District and to provide 600 electric motorcycles free of charge for use by residents.  In the south, 30 stations will be set up along the Kaohsiung Metro line, in industrial areas and in the Cijin area in the city.  The goal is to provide service for 5,000 electric motorcycles, said Huang Chihshu, general manager at Kentfa Advanced Technology Corp, which will manage the project in the south.  However, for those who want to find out more about Dubai’s Green Car rental fleet, you can visit or call 04 358 8488.

January 2012


Green Business Interview

Ask Ali talks about the environment The Emirati hipster, popular for his weekly column in The National, spoke to Alice Hartley on the sidelines of the recent BGreen Magazine Networking Event


he man behind The National newspaper’s weekly column Ask Ali, which explores issues of Emirati culture, is now applying his knowhow to crucial local environmental issues. Ali Alsaloom is part of an Emirates-made documentary film called ‘The Environment Show with Ask Ali’. As 50 per cent of the UAE population is younger than 25, Mr Alsaloom chooses to use a mix of English and Arabic on the show - a controversial decision, but one that has proven to be a winner when it comes to engaging the next generation of eco-crusaders. His strong environmental ethos encourages locals and foreigners alike not only to explore our natural treasures but to protect them. Furthermore, he has a partnered with Abu Dhabi’s Environmental Agency has afforded Ali a new role of Awareness Ambassador. The Agency itself is vested with the authority to review and approve environmental permits for development, infrastructure and industrial projects. “It is critical that government agencies and society work together to help reduce our environmental impact” Ali said. “My work in education, sustainability, recycling, and conservation is my life’s mission. I recognize with pride from where I come from; from where all Emiratis originate.” BGreen reporter Alice Hartley

January 2012

Ali Alsaloom, known as ‘Ask Ali’, is becoming increasingly known for also being an eco-warrior

spoke to Mr Ali Alsaloom, who recently attended a BGreen networking event, to find out a little more about the man behind the columns in the Emirate’s newspapers and the TV shows. Here are his responses: What is your idea of perfect happiness? When I am in balance and harmonious,spiritually, and day to day. What is your greatest fear? Not having enough time in this life to accomplish my mission and spread my message. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Having no values and being violent toward animals. What is your greatest extravagance? The word does not exist in my vocabulary. Remember, I’m the Emirati without a Maserati! What do you dislike most about your appearance? Are you kidding me – I am blessed! What or who is the greatest love of your life? All my future children inshallah. When and where were you happiest? When my beloved father picked me up from the airport, after returning from the USA with a

Bachelor Degree in hand. Which talent would you most like to have? Mastering more foreign languages. What is your current state of mind? Constantly on fire. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be? To be a bit less of a perfectionist. What do you consider your greatest achievement? To set up my private company, Maestro, without external financial support and to run the business successfully now for 5 years. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Disrespecting any creature – be it a human being, an animal or plant. What is your favourite occupation? I no longer work – I create. What is your most marked characteristic? Being energetic and to inspire others to do good. What do you most value in your friends? Honesty, loyalty and a good sense of humor. Who is your favourite hero of fiction? Spiderman. What is your motto? Be passionately creative.


Rising to a corporate challenge Nick Hayes and Paul Foster of built asset consultancy EC Harris analyse the challenge facing corporations


carbon reduction savings so that the full return on investment from sustainable solutions are recognised. For example, research carried out by academics at the University of Western Sydney (Australia) and Maastricht University (Europe) has shown that more sustainable buildings attain higher rents, occupancy rates, and overall value. What CFO or CEO would not be attracted by those types of results?

cross the Middle East region sustainability is rising up the corporate agenda driven not only by a desire to be more environmentally friendly but also by more pragmatic, economic influences. With some commentators now stating that we’re in the midst of a double-dip recession, CFO’s across the Gulf are under greater pressure to identify ‘quick wins’ and solutions that limit their business’ overall expenditure. From a sustainability perspective this is creating new opportunities particularly for those initiatives that deliver operational efficiencies and which delivering a greater economic return. The business case… Traditionally, there has been a common view that adopting a sustainable approach costs more than maintaining the status quo, yet whilst this may have been the case in the past, it’s no longer so clear-cut. In cash constrained times the industry needs to act more aggressively to address this misconception for unless a re-education process takes place there’s a risk that some worthy initiatives could be overlooked, in spite of the environmental and economic benefits they could help to deliver. In reality carbon is becoming an increasingly important differentiator when it comes to assessing a property’s value particularly in such a competitive real estate market as the Middle East. If a sustainable approach is embedded in the construction phase it can help property assets stand out when they come on to the market as occupiers can see the inherent value of low carbon, energy efficient buildings where lower water and energy use will equates to significant cost savings throughout the duration of their tenancy agreement. From a property owner perspective these types of assets can also keep maintenance costs to a minimum and insulate them


against future regulatory changes that they may see them obliged to comply with environmental mandates. Furthermore, with some analysts suggesting that energy costs could rise by 100% over the next 10 years, the case for owning energy-efficient buildings becomes ever more compelling. In such an environment there is a pressing need to focus on the business case that underpins sustainable initiatives as this will help to secure buy-in at board level. Financial metrics need to be aligned to

Measuring success… A greater emphasis also needs to be placed on the broader ‘value’ of sustainability as opposed to just the associated cost of adopting a greener approach. The reality is that the benefits of acting in a more sustainable manner extend well beyond the bottom line and so by measuring success in purely monetary terms there is a danger of selling short the impact that greener initiatives can have. As an example, recent research from the UK’s Westminster Sustainable Business Forum revealed that adopting a sustainable approach led to improved corporate reputation, increased employee retention and higher productivity levels. The study estimated that when combined, these factors had the potential to deliver over $12bn in additional business return. The cost-return ratio… With liquidity still a major issue across the Middle East, developers continue to struggle to access both capital and debt funding to build new schemes, so the emphasis is often on the need to generate more from both existing budgets and the assets they already own and operate. Where investment set aside for sustainability initiatives is reduced, it is still possible to drive significant cost savings via a more targeted approach. In 2010 the Better Buildings Partnership found that by adopting cost efficient retrofit measures across their global asset portfolio,

January 2012


Green Business

Paving the way for green parking Decreasing the effects of urban heating, water wastage and problems of drainage are the potential benefits of the region’s cities using grass areas as parking bays.


rassy parking areas that use underground irrigation systems could help to reduce air temperatures and water wastage in the Middle East’s urban areas, according to an expert from a specialist irrigation company. Cities are hotter than surrounding rural areas as a result of what is called the ‘urban island heating effect’. Parking bays made out of grass could then be one means of helping to drive down heat levels in these urban centres. However, these green parking areas require high volumes of water, and there is the risk that water supplies could be disrupted if vehicles drive over irrigations pipes. So, a company called Epic Solutions has created an irrigation system, which uses recycled water, and that can be implemented underground. “What our system does is provide that common moisture from the bottom up, so there are no surface lines to break or anything on the surface to hinder the moisture movement or water loss,” said Jonas Sipaila, director of innovation at EPIC Green Solution “One of the main advantages that it has is that we can use a multiple of different water sources to provide the irrigation. So, very often we use what is waste water as the irrigation source,” said Mr Sipaila. The company uses what it calls the ‘environmental passive integrated chamber system’

January 2012

The Murray Field Stadium in Scotland uses green parking

Underground irrigation systems are used by EPIC Solutions

(EPIC system), its underground irrigation mechanism that feeds water to a surface structure of grass that is strong enough to accommodate loads as heavy as trucks and other vehicles. Epic Solutions has not yet built green parking facilities in the Middle East, but the company has already implemented its products in the UK. The Murry Field Stadium in Scotland has used a multi purpose green space outside the stadium that acts as practice fields during the week while it provides for extra parking on game day. Traditionally, parking to accommodate attendees is constructed using asphalt hardscape. Representatives at Epic Solutions say that this may be a simple solution, but it results in the problem of inefficient storm water runoff. Net pave when coupled with the EPIC Chamber, allows for the water to be absorbed, filtered and reused without becoming stagnant, the company’s representatives say. And apart from helping to drive down air temperatures and address water wastage, the products could act as an alternative means of addressing the Middle East’s problem of insufficient drainage in urban areas, said Mr Sipaila.


Green Business

InvestmentUpdate A bank lending money to renewable energy projects is to start operations April this year and Nestle has opened a renewable diesel refinery in Europe...

Green investment bank to start lending

A bank that will start lending money to renewable energy projects is to start operations April next year, according to UK business secretary Vince Cable. The UK government has set aside 3 billion pounds to support the bank until 2015, a sum which is expected to attract an extra 15 billion pounds in private investment to Britain’s nascent renewable energy industry. Offshore wind and waste energy projects are to be a top priority over the first three years for the bank. “The GIB will be a critical component in the UK’s transition to a green economy and its overarching objective will be to catalyse

private investment - not replace it,” said Mr Cable. The bank will employ 50-70 staff in the period to 2015, from when it is also set to start borrowing money on the condition that public sector net debt falls as a percentage of Britain’s GDP. Around 20 locations across the UK, including London, Edinburgh and Manchester, have applied to host the GIB and Cable said he intends to announce the winner in February. Offshore wind farms, energyfrom-waste projects and energy efficiency programmes will receive at least 80 per cent of the 3 billion pounds, or 2.4 billion pounds, over the next three years. However, the start of the bank’s operations depends on EU Commission clearance. The EU parliament of late has, however, put in place a number of green measures, making the bank’s creation likely. European politicians recently voted through an amendment that could pave the way for the first direct intervention in the carbon market,

which has sunk to record lows. Businesses and environmentalists have heaped pressure on the European Commission to find a way of strengthening the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. It should be the bloc’s flagship tool for cutting carbon emissions, but it has collapsed under the burden of a sovereign debt crisis and oversupply, which the amendment would look to tackle by reducing availability of allowances. With prices of less than 7 euros (US $9) per tonne, it is far below the levels deemed necessary to encourage investment in green energy, estimated at anything from 20 to 50 euros. “We have not voted yet, but I expect broad, cross-party support for the compromise amendment,” Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout told Reuters. “A broad majority in the parliament is really concerned about what’s going on with the carbon price.” The vote is not yet binding. If passed it would require a further vote this year as well.

Nestle opens renewable diesel refinery in Rotterdam A renewable diesel refinery has been opened by Nestle Oil in the Port of Rotterdam. The refinery produces premium-quality NExBTL renewable diesel, which is the cleanest and highest-quality renewable diesel on the market today outperforming traditional biodiesels and even the best fossil diesels. T The refinery was completed on-schedule and on-budget and marks a major step forward in Neste Oil’s cleaner traffic strategy. The refinery also employs approximately 150 people, the majority of whom are Dutch.

“Through hard work and cooperation among nearly 15 partners we have built this Europe’s largest and finest renewable diesel refinery in just two years,” said Matti Lievonen, president and chief executive of Neste Oil. “This refinery represents a huge investment in our economy and provides a boost to sustainable growth. It will help the Netherlands realise its ambitions as a leader of the bio-based economy and a major biomass hub in Europe,” said Maxime Verhagen, The Netherlands deputy prime minister and minister for economic affairs, agriculture and innovation.

January 2012



They said

“China has emerged as a renewable energy super power, redefining the global industry by increasing both the supply and demand for new energy sources.” Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, chief executive of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.


“It (the U.N. climate process) is probably one of the worst U.N. processes in terms of U.N. efficiency. The U.N. process can be much better. This is a process which is urgently in need of reform.” Luis Alfonso de Alba, Mexico’s climate special envoy. He is also Mexico’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York. “In some countries the actual energy consumption has gone down because of the financial crisis, and that means it’s even more difficult to develop new projects.” Ditlev Engel, chief executive officer of Vestas, which is the world’s biggest wind turbine maker.

January 2012

“Stabilizing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere requires that our global energy production becomes more than 90 percent carbon-free. Today it is about 15 percent. “US academic Roger Pielke of the University of Colorado, and author of the book “The Climate Fix”

“The progress of renewables has been nothing short of remarkable. You have record investment in the midst of an economic and financial crisis.” United Nations Environment Program Executive Secretary Achim Steiner.


The Green SPY

The quest for eco-superiority •


he creation of products that are not only environmentally friendly but also superior to their polluting incumbents is set to intensify, according to my secret sources. Green consumption is reaching a plateau, as mainstream consumers question buying environmentally friendly products just for the sake of it. As a result, businesses in the sustainable industry are being forced to wear their thinking caps. I’ve popped on my reading spectacles, and have dug out a research source, the Journal of Marketing, GfK Roper, Terrachoice, that backs up this trend: • While 40 per cent of consumers say they are willing to purchase green products, only 4 per cent actually do so when given the choice. • 58 per cent of global consumers think that environmentally friendly

products are too expensive, while 33 per cent think such products do not work as well. While the volume of green products available to US consumers increased by 73 per cent between 2009 and 2010, only 5 per cent of these products did not prefer or include some sort of green-washing claim.

In reaction to these trends, my contacts have told me to expect to see eco-brands switch from purely marketing their products’ sustainability attributes to stressing their superior quality. I am sworn not to name names; however, there are a few eco-superior toilet companies that would be perfect examples in terms of emphasising their brands’ superiority. There are toilet flushing devices on the market that use only three litres of water per flush saving an average family 76,000 litres annually. To put this into perspective, an old-style single flush toilet can use up to 12 litres of water in one flush. Also, it costs US13 cents to flush an average toilet and, therefore, the average person flushes 65 cents per day, $4.55 per week and about $20 per month, down the cistern. If we all took to replacing our traditional single flush toilets with water efficient dual flush versions, we would each save 51 litres per day, and, within a 12 month period, our households would save on water use by 30,000 to 40,000 litres. Want to know by what trading names they goes by? Go on, do some super-sleuthing of your own. And make the decision - replace that loo! Serious eco-results, though, depend on companies ensuring that products and processes are more sustainable without consumers even noticing it, and, if necessary, not leaving much room for us to opt for less sustainable alternatives to begin with. This of course may mean forceful government intervention (law, by-laws, rule and regulations), or some serious corporate gumption

(retrofitting existing buildings), or brilliant, smart design and thinking (industrialists collaborating with eco-scientists, say). Think anything from thoroughly green buildings, to a complete ban on plastic bags and bottles, to strict fishing quotas all of these by default leaves no other choice; no room for complacency and thus makes it a simple decision for consumers and businesses to do the right and necessary thing.  Your Green Spy is flushed with excitement. The Quest continues...

January 2012



Arabs in a Green World Omar Al Jaddou discusses how Islam has much in common with environmentalism. He also questions the motives of the Kyoto protocol...


he Native American Indians have a saying: “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will you realise that one cannot eat money,” and I truly believe that - lost in the swirling fog of history - the Native Indian’s experience at the hands of Western civilisation remains significant in this part of the world and parallels can certainly be drawn between their tribal nomadic values and Arabian heritage. This atavistic warning from the annals of history remains as valid globally

A myriad of ‘green’ financial products have appeared on the markets”

for modern-day industrialists as it was to the frontier men of yesteryear. The rising awareness of the damage being done to the environment has found itself articulated at an international level in carbon-reducing projects funded by various means outlined in international agreements such as the Kyoto protocol. A myriad of ‘green’ financial products have appeared on the markets, such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes; investments in environmentally-sustainable mutual funds or direct investment in solar plant manufacturers and wind farm operators - the list is vast and growing. In terms of Carbon Credits there are three types: VERs, CERs and EUAs, which are all governed by differing regulations and designed for different purposes, but they all share one underlying ethos - to create a mechanism that provides an economic incentive to reduce greenhouse gasses. Chief among the underlying influences on popular opinion in the Arab world, particularly in the Gulf region, is the Bedouin heritage from which the Arabs emerged, with its tendrils of influence reaching across time, forming the foundation of tradition, culture, etiquette and attitudes. The Bedouin carved their lives from the harsh environment in which they existed, moving from one oasis to another, culturally prizing warlike raids on other tribes as a means

of both survival and self-enrichment. The cruelty of the environment in which the Bedouins’ lived bestowed on them an innate charm and nobility - it also rendered trust and water as perhaps equally valuable luxuries. A patriarchal familybased social structure helped ensure the loyalty of all within the tribe, and while guests enjoyed legendary hospitality in the most inhospitable of environments, strangers were greeted with an equally legendary suspicion. As the region evolved, mineral resources proved a relentless catalyst for contact with foreign cultures and nations whose initially amiable nature was rapidly eroded by a continual stream of well documented inequity and indifference spanning from the 1917 Balfour declaration to more recent conflicts. Descended from such barren lands, the concept of environmental protection may have been seen as a non-issue. Witnessing the various campaigns and initiatives launched on a global level, such as the Kyoto protocol, Arabs may point to their established wildlife reserves and existing environmental laws which are drawn from a natural synergy with Islamic traditions. Arabs might also highlight the history of inequitable indifference shown to them by these same world bodies who now seek to enlist their help in achieving a goal which they may see as intangible. Would it be surprising to witness the Arabs reciprocate the same savage indifference to which they have grown used to receiving, wary of a grossly one-sided history that prejudices any overture from the West. The politics of the green movement may be in danger of coalescing with the long-held Arab view of the global realpolitik as a rigged game, a giant Las Vegas, where the smiling faces, glitz, glamour and shining lights all work to mask a machine designed solely to extract helpless patrons’ money - and, like any casinogoer, the Arab knows only too well, in the end, the House wins every time. Omar Al Jaddou is Director of Special Projects at Carbon Credit brokerage, Advanced Global Trading’s Middle East headquarters in Dubai. He can be contacted at o.jaddou@

January 2012



Diary Dates BGreen rounds up environmental events to sustain you for the next couple of months

World Future Energy Summit 2012 16 – 19 January, Abu Dhabi The summit is the world’s foremost annual meeting committed to advancing future energy efficiency and clean technologies by engaging political, business, finance, academic and industry leaders to drive innovation, business and investment opportunities. Gulf CIO Summit 2012 25-26 January, Doha An exclusive gathering of C-led ICT executives from some of the region’s leading companies and is designed to stimulate interaction, education and provide business opportunities. It focuses on breakthrough technologies, the challenges of implementation and the priorities of today’s CIOs. Smartech@wetex 2012 13-15 March 2012, Dubai This expo has been introduced as a new segment within WETEX to tackle critical issues on energy, conservation, water and electricity, including environmental protection and preservation.

January 2012

PowerGen Middle East 6-8 February 2012, Doha This is a conference that is renowned for being one of the region’s most important events dedicated to the power generation, transmission and distribution industry. The conference is a key forum for senior executives and industry leaders to hear experts from around the globe discuss the region’s energy markets, resources and environmental challenges to power plant generation, operating and servicing. China Carbon Trading Forum 2012 16-17 February 2012, Beijing China Carbon Trading Forum 2012’s is an event that gets together delegates to seek ways to adapt China`s current energy demands, speed up the adjustment of its energy structure, discuss ways to develop low-carbon energy, to build a stable and the importance of building a safe energy supply system. Renewable Energy India 2012 Apr. 19-21, 2012 Renewable Energy World India 2012 combines with HydroVision India and POWER-GEN India & Central Asia to showcase state-of-the-art services and technologies across the entire renewable, hydro and thermal power

sector, all under one roof. Exhibiting at Renwable Energy World India 2012 presents an unrivalled opportunity for start-up and established companies to get involved in one of the world’s most dynamic power markets by demonstrating the latest products and technologies and expanding business interests with key players from the industry. 2012 Macao International Environmental Co-operation Forum & Exhibition (2012 MIECF) Mar. 29-31, 2012 The Macao International Environmental Co-operation Forum & Exhibition (MIECF) is a high-powered annual platform to promote solutions for a low carbon future, and sustainable urban development for cities. Initiated and actively led by the government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (Macao SAR). Furhermore, the exhibition and conference is also strategically positioned to nurture business, technology and information exchange and co-operation between the Pan-Pearl River Delta region in Southern China and players in the rest of the world’s international markets who are looking to new opportunities in the world’s second largest economy.


Our Sustainable Past

The Hunter

By Alice Hartley


very official UAE document is perfectly rendered with an image of a magnificent and noble creature – the falcon. The birds’ good eyesight and sharpness of talon helped generations of Bedouin families hunt for food. Emiratis, therefore, gaze upon the falcon with an admiration and an acknowledgment of its place in their civilisation. However, these hunters are not used to catch prey anymore, as they are, instead, kept by their owners for breeding in a practice that is commonly called husbandry. And the keeping of these animals is helping to protect endangered species that have always been their prey. Populations of Houbaras (Bustards) and Karawan (Stone Curlews), for example, are just two endangered species that face lower risks of being hunted by falcons today. Owners of kept falcons prevent these birds from hunting for prey by commonly covering the birds’ eyes with a hood. This might be perceived as being a cruel measure, but it actually keeps them calm, especially as they are easily startled by crowds of people or unfamiliar settings. Also, their owners generally treat them with the greatest care, owing to what is most of these owners’ high respect for a creature that has been handled from generation to generation. Once, when flying from Dubai to Qatar, I witnessed this care for the falcon first hand. I was instantly delivered to an otherworldly fulfillment when there, walking through the aircraft cabin, was an Emirati striding tall, his tranquil falcon resting on his taught arm. In his other hand the gentleman carried two passports, one for him and the other for the falcon…

January 2012

BGreen Magazine Jan 2012  

BuildGreen Magazine is the first magazine of its kind in the Middle East to exclusively cover issues relating to sustainability and environm...

BGreen Magazine Jan 2012  

BuildGreen Magazine is the first magazine of its kind in the Middle East to exclusively cover issues relating to sustainability and environm...