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Alu-minimise How aluminium can reduce construction waste and energy consumption

Also inside Energy and water Construction Green IT Eco-leisure Green business

Photovoltaic power Why the solar PV industry is making its mark on the Middle East

Publication licensed by IMPZ


MARCH 2011





Green IT



Saudi Arabia turns to gas to solve energy problems, but offers a water boost


Inaugural Dubai energy event looks to encourage experts to debate and discuss



Discover the gizmos that have been getting our attention in this month’s gadget guide

energy and water



BuildGreen looks at the role the sun is playing in powering a photovoltaic revolution


Columnist Thom Bohlen says the world has to change its mindset before it’s too late






We take a look at the aluminium industry and its efforts to embrace sustainability


We look ahead to the summit highlights at Abu Dhabi’s Green Building Middle East


Kiwi travel expert George Wickham discusses the region’s potential for sustainable tourism

Find out where the top renewable energy investment opportunities are in the Levant region



The green spy targets the problems arising from refrigerants and offers crucial advice


Top construction and building professionals network at the latest EGBC event



Oracle Utilities’ Bastian Fischer examines the role of green billing across the region



Editor’s Letter

It’s not bad to make a buck I

t astonishes me how often I’m asked if BuildGreen is a not-for-profit magazine. When I say that we’re not and explain that to survive as a business model we rely on advertisements within the publication, I often receive a bemused look generated by the surprise that we are not a charity organisation. Obviously this is not always the case — many of the people I am fortunate enough to meet are in similar positions, selling or promoting products and services that embrace environmental models or provide energy-efficient solutions. Despite this, I have heard many tales from people working in this industry expressing a similar sentiment about the public’s response to their products or services. It seems that many people believe there is a negative connection between being a profit-orientated business and

having an environmental focus; something I fear could cause the sector’s development to stall. Demand is growing on a consumer level for sustainable products and services and has been for some time, but what I have found most impressive is that people from all walks of life are now busy searching for answers on green topics and sustainability issues. Why then does it feel like we’re still waiting for the so-called bubble to expand? It’s almost as if the foot of the sustainable industry is hovering over the accelerator — all it needs now is the confidence to apply the pressure. If we are to cut our carbon emissions we cannot do it without businesses on board; therefore, not only is it fine to capitalise on the demand for sustainable products and services, it is fine to have belief in them as well.

Ben Watts Editor

Publisher Dominic De Sousa Associate Publisher Liam Williams COO Nadeem Hood CMO Kimon Alexandrou Director Business Development Alex Bendiouis Group Sales Manager Rhiannon Downie Business Development Manager Nayab Rafiq

Editor Ben Watts Contributing Editors Louise Birchall

Printed by Printwell Printing Press LLC Published by

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© Copyright 2010 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.


March 2011

Green economy requires trilliondollar investment, says UN body

UN Environment Programme recommends extensive investment in green sectors to ensure long-term stability


UN body has claimed that an investment of US $1.3 trillion each year in green sectors would deliver long-term stability in the global economy. In its report released last month, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said that spending close to 2% of global GDP in 10 key areas would “kick-start a low-carbon, resource-efficient green economy”. UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said that the green economy offered a “focused and pragmatic assessment” of how countries, communities and corporations have already begun to make the transition towards a more sustainable pattern of consumption and production. “With 2.5 billion people living on less than US $2-a-day and with more than two billion people being added to the global population by 2050, it is clear that we must continue to develop and grow our economies,” remarked Steiner.

The UNEP recommended investing $110 billion on the improvement of fisheries as part of a wider scheme of improving green sector investment.

“But this development cannot come at the expense of the very life support systems on land, in the oceans or in the atmosphere that sustain our economies, and thus, the lives of each and everyone of us.”

The report’s authors recommended a number of investments, which included $108 billion in greening agriculture, $134 billion on the building sector, $110 billion on the improvement of fisheries and $15 billion on forestry. The findings were published at the 26th session of UNEP’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environmental Forum, which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, last month. UNEP Green Economy Initiative head Pavan Sukhdev remarked: “Governments have a central role in changing laws and policies, and in investing public money in public wealth to make the transition possible. “Misallocation of capital is at the centre of the world’s current dilemmas and there are fast actions that can be taken, starting literally today,” he added. “From phasing down and phasing out the $600 billion global fossil fuel subsidies, and re-directing more than $20 billion subsidies, would perversely reward those in unsustainable fisheries.”

Saudi Arabia forced to look to gas to solve energy problems

New power plant to supply desalinated water to Riyadh, as Kingdom struggles to meet growing energy and water demands


Saudi Arabia has announced plans to build a 2400MW gas power plant facility, despite growing calls for the Kingdom to embrace cleaner alternatives. Built approximately 75km northwest of Jubail, the 2400MW Ras Az Zawr facility will generate electricity to an aluminium smelting plant, and approximately 225 million imperial gallons per day of drinking water for the capital city Riyadh, which has five million inhabitants. According to Siemens Energy, who will supply components for the power plant, this will amount to the equivalent of approximately one billion litres of drinking water. Siemens, the world’s leading supplier of eco-friendly technologies, was asked to ensure its bid for the project included an associated seawater desalination facility. “Ras Az Zawr is one of the most important megaprojects in Saudi Arabia. It is another great example of the outstanding strength in the partnership between Siemens, ACC and Sepco,” said Michael Suess, chief executive officer of the Fossil Power Generation Division of Siemens Energy.

Siemens and Saudi Arabian officials sign the US $1 billion agreement.

For the power plant Ras Az Zawr, the German firm will supply twelve gas turbines, ten heat-recovery steam generators, five steam turbines, and the associated auxiliary and ancillary systems at a total value of more than US $1 billion, marking one the largest orders posted by Siemens Energy in the Middle East. Only last month King Abdullah Atomic and Renewable Energy City president Hashim Yamani warned that Saudi Arabia was facing major energy shortfalls, and would need to look towards renewable and nuclear energy to meet demand. The country’s population is set to swell from 28 million to 40 million in the next ten years, requiring the construction of new power plants with a combined capacity of at least 4000MW every year. “Siemens is highly committed to supporting Saudi Arabia in meeting the energy generation demand now and in future,” added Suess.

March 2011

Top energy experts encouraged to contribute to Dubai event

The Dubai World Trade Centre will play host to the Dubai Global Energy Forum 2011.

Energy leaders and top officials have been urged to visit Dubai next month to discuss the energy challenges facing the regional and international community. Organised by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, the Dubai Global Energy Forum 2011, has been designed to attract officials, planners and energy professionals from governments, private sectors, international organisations and academia from around the world. The organisers claim the forum will be the first global event of its kind in Dubai focused on energyrelated issues, with the aim of providing a platform for energy leaders and experts to exchange views on “emerging regional and global issues in relation to energy policies, programmes, technologies and investment opportunities”.

Europe’s green capital attempts to stay economically relevant Businesses and organisations in Hamburg using 2011 to demonstrate how economic and ecological objectives can be reconciled industrial region, comprising Europe’s third biggest port, Hamburg faces considerable challenges in regards to its protection of the environment.

“It is therefore our turn and our duty to strategically link the economic and the ecological spheres.” Hamburg Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a sustainable economy summit, which attracted up to 700 enterprises, and the city has adopted energy-efficiency measures that have saved more than 100,000 tons of CO2 — corresponding to close to 16 million euros (US $21.9 million) in operating costs, according to the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce.

Hamburg has a series of attraction in place as it plans to celebrate its year as Europe’s green capital.

The German city of Hamburg has begun the year in optimistic fashion as it attempts to delve into the field of environmental protection while remaining a competitive trading centre. Named “European Green Capital” for 2011 by the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, the city has set about demonstrating how a global shipping hub can combine economic growth and environmental sustainability through a series of green initiatives and commitments. The city has even set itself the ambitious goal of reducing its CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020. Herlind Gundelach, head of the city’s Ministry for Urban Development and the Environment, commented: “As a major


Emirate to host “first global event of its kind” with focus on providing experts the chance to exchange views

HE Saeed Al Tayer, vice chairman of the Supreme Council of Energy, said: “A great number of national and top global researchers, scientists and analysts are already set to participate in the Forum. “The topics they plan on discussing include policies of energy, both regionally and internationally, to the technical, commercial, financial and regulatory aspects, as well as energy technologies, investment opportunities, economic diversification, market indicators, maximising investment revenues in the fields of energy and discussing the most important issues of environment and sustainability.” Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the forum will be held under the theme of “Energy Challenges and Opportunities for a Sustainable Future”. The event is set to take place from April 17-19 at the Dubai World Trade Centre and interested parties can register online for the event at



March 2011

European Parliament backs tough e-waste proposals Tough regulations regarding the handling of electronic waste could soon be introduced across Europe after members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted through a series of new targets. The new targets will aim to govern the collection, recycling and reuse of waste electronic equipment, while tough measures have also been passed that prevent its export to developing countries. German MEP Karl-Heinz Florenz, who tabled the original draft legislation, said: “We can no longer afford to waste our waste. Public authorities, manufacturers and consumers all need to play their part to ensure we collect and recycle more of our electrical and electronic goods.” The vote passed the house by 580 votes to 37 and will now have to be considered by the European Council. The targets would require 85% of e-waste produced by member states to be collected from 2016, while the producers of e-goods would by charged to pay towards their disposal. The draft text also included new rules on the illegal export of waste for treatment, which would make it illegal to send broken electrical equipment overseas.

Renewable education organisation celebrates its third birthday

Berlin-based RENAC has held seminars and workshops across the world.

An international organisation that has operated courses and expertise in renewable energy and energy efficiency for more than 1200 participants from 96 countries has celebrated its third birthday. The Renewables Academy (RENAC) has held various events such as PV workshops in Abu Dhabi, and focused training sessions on subjects ranging from building capacity for renewable energy and the expansion of photovoltaic training in places as diverse as Egypt and Mexico. RENAC founder and chief executive office Berthold Breid said the academy is helping him fulfil his vision of “making the knowledge

that exists in Germany about the technology, financing, legal aspects and regulatory frameworks of renewable energy and energy efficiency available to participants from all over the world”. The Berlin-based operation was established in early 2008 and has covered the necessary steps for the implementation of renewable energy technologies. A key feature of RENAC is its training centre, which features fixed and mobile training facilities for photovoltaic, solar thermal, wind and energy-efficiency technologies that provides both theoretical and practical training in Germany and abroad.

European law makers have taken a tough stance on the disposal of e-waste.

UAE light bulb recycling campaign to go nationwide


A light bulb recycling campaign in Dubai will be launched nationwide following an enthusiastic response from other emirates. To date, the drive has led to more than 32,500 bulbs being recycled. The campaign has been organised by the Energy and Environment Park (Enpark), a member of TECOM Investments Sciences Cluster, and has the support of Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF. Enpark business development manager Ahmed Lootah said: “In light of the interest expressed by other emirates, we are in the process of expanding the geographical scope.”

When a bulb is recycled, Enpark offers an energy-efficient bulb as a replacement; IDAMA, Enpark’s official partner for the campaign, has backed its growth. IDAMA senior account manager Jawed Khan commented: “IDAMA has remained proactive in participating in various environmental conservation programmes and green initiatives. “The remarkable success of this campaign highlights the willingness of residents in the UAE to participate in eco-friendly activities, which is highly encouraging for the environment,” Khan added.

More than 32,500 light bulbs have been recycled in Enpark’s campaign.


March 2011

Green briefs w

Tokyo tops regional environmental ranking Tokyo has been named the greenest major city in the Asia-Pacific region by a study of key cities. The study by marketing and innovation strategy consulting firm Solidiance, places the Japanese capital ahead of Seoul, Melbourne, Singapore and Osaka. Focusing on the social, economic and environmental factors that contributed to the environmental sustainability within each city, the study rated cities on different categories including CO2 emissions, energy, transportation, air quality, water, environmental governance, waste and green space. Solidiance managing partner Damien Duhamel said: “A ranking of Asia-Pacific green cities has never been done, and this was a response to our clients’

Flush-free future for Dubai’s government buildings and parks

Dubai Municipality has installed close to 500 water-free urinals in parks and government buildings across the emirate.


Dubai Municipality is hoping to save millions of tonnes of water through water-less urinals in the emirate’s parks.

requests for comparative greentech market opportunities in the region. “The analysis will be useful for businesses to understand which cities are more progressive in green development. It is heartening to see that developed Asia-Pacific cities have placed an emphasis on ensuring that their city’s ecosystem is sustainable. “Developing cities can look towards the top ranked green cities for best practices to leapfrog the learning curve in cultivating a green urban ecosystem,” added Duhamel.

Japan’s capital Tokyo beat Melbourne, Singapore and Seoul into first place.

It is hoped the toilets will save local authorities water costs and will contribute towards local efforts to cut water usage; they were installed by Design International, the Middle East distributor for US-based Falcon Waterfree Technologies. Design International managing director Jodi Bantug said the toilets had been installed in 45 locations, including public parks, buildings and public toilets under the municipality’s jurisdiction. Prior to the project’s completion, a survey carried out by Bantug’s team found that two out of three urinals within the municipality’s facilities used cistern-based flushing, which squirts water every few minutes regardless of whether it was used or not. “This kind of urinal wastes a lot of water,” said Bantug, who noted that companies such as McDonalds have been phasing out the use of flush urinals globally. Bantug added that the new water-less urinals in Dubai could save up to 52 million litres of flush water per year and close to AED 600,000 (US $163,000) in annual water bills.

Arab millionaire’s English airport plans condemned A multi-millionaire Saudi Arabian businessman is facing intense opposition to his plans to fund the transformation of a small, local airfield into a regional hub. Sheikh Fahad Al-Athel bought Lydd Airport in Kent, UK, as part of a UK £4.1 million (US $6.7 million) deal in 2001 and has plans to create a new regional airport able to handle up to two million passengers a year. A public inquiry into the scheme has been launched and the project has been condemned by the publically-funded wildlife agency, Natural England. Lydd Airport Action Group spokesperson Louise Barton said: “We are deeply concerned about the safety aspects associated with creating a regional airport adjacent to a nuclear power complex — and underneath one of the main migratory bird routes in the south of England. “This is a preposterous proposal,” remarked Barton. The airport, located next to two areas of substantial environmental interest, is currently used by light aircraft and has a tiny commercial passenger throughput, but the Saudi Arabian businessman plans to turn the airport into a regional hub capable of handling passenger jets such as Boeing 737s and Airbus A319s.

Sheikh Fahad Al-Athel wants build a regional airport in the Kent countryside.


March 2011

Around the world

A look back at some of the wackier stories to emerge from the world’s ‘green’ industries last month


waging war with solar supplies

According to the UK’s Independent on Sunday, unpublished research by the British government has suggested that the plastic bag common in many supermarkets may not be as unfriendly to the environment as commonly believed. The draft report by the Environment Agency, obtained by the paper, found that ordinary high-density polythene (HDPE) bags are actually greener than supposedly low-impact options. The report suggested that for each use, HDPE bags are close to 200 times less damaging to the climate than cotton holdalls and produce less than one third of the CO2 emissions of paper bags. The findings suggest that in order to balance out the tiny impact of each lightweight plastic bag consumers would have to use the same cotton bag every working day for a year.

The UK Ministry of Defence has put plans in place to power its frontline military bases in Afghanistan on solar and wind energy. Along with the environmental benefits the move would cut the need for expensive and dangerous convoys to supply diesel for electricity generators at its bases deep inside Taliban territory. Ray Fielding from the Ministry’s Defence Equipment and Support unit, said: “Although more efficient generators offer one possible solution, in order to minimise regular resupplies of diesel, renewable technologies are of great interest. “While a single technology may not be the answer it may be possible to combine a number of approaches to supply the power needed.”

grease thieves caught


Plastic bags may not be so bad




A couple from Wichita, Kansas, were arrested after they were caught stealing waste grease from a local eatery. According to police reports, the pair visited a selection of small towns over the course of the night, helping themselves to used cooking oil. They were eventually spotted at 5.30am pumping grease out of storage containers located outside the back of a Burger King outlet. Many companies in the state such as Burger King no longer throw away their leftover grease, instead opting to pass it onto companies who will find a use for it, including those involved in the production of biodiesel.




Blowing industrial-sized smoke rings

An artist is planning to make an environmental statement by quite literally blowing giant smoke rings. Berlin-based artists realities:united have planned to produce the smoke rings from a waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen, through the installation of a giant vortex within the facility. Each ring will measure 30 metres in diameter, will be three meters thick and will contain a tonne of carbon dioxide. Ulla Röttger, director of Amagerforbraending power plant, said: “We admit we are an industrial plant, but with smoke rings we will signal that we are also something else. “By sending smoke rings we would like to make it noticeable that we are here and that we are solving a problem that the city has when it is getting rid of its waste.”

THRILLED?Yes. And still ambitious.

WE’VE ACHIEVED THE FIRST EPD FOR CARPET TILES But that’s not enough! We’re confident that the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) will be tomorrow’s standard for fact-based, comparable and independently verified product information. And we’re going to continue working to obtain EPDs for all our products by 2012!

F i n d ou t more a b o ut EP D a t w w te rf a ce f lo r. e u/l e t s b e c l e a r



March 2011

PV’s powerful potential 14

In a region where energy needs have often been answered by drilling deep into the earth below our feet, many are finally looking above their own heads at the greatest power resource of them all — the sun. As the solar photovoltaic industry begins to mark its presence, BuildGreen looks at how countries across the MENA region are taking advantage of this fast growing sector

March 2011


T Above: A solar-powered fuel stop. Top right: Roofs are ideal areas for catching the sun’s rays. Below: Solar PV panels offer remote and arid regions a great source of clean energy.

The energy market in Oman is ready for solar” “Abundant hydrocarbon resources and low costs have become the bane of the Middle East, contributing to substantial energy consumption in the region over the years,” remarks Dash. “Conservation of these resources is essential as they are finite and generate significant export revenue for the region, serving as a pillar of economic development. Hence, efforts are on to develop alternate energy sources to meet domestic energy consumption and conserve valuable energy reserves. “The biggest resource in the MENA region is solar irradiance with a potential to meet the total demand for electricity worldwide,” he adds, noting that when climatic conditions and geographic location are taken into consideration Egypt has the best physical resources to implement solar technologies across the MENA region. Egypt is followed in the list by Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, but in terms of current utilisation, Morocco ranks top the list when it comes to the largest installed PV capacity in the region. In a recent report, Al Masah argues that countries across the Middle East require “a dedicated alternative energy option” for progressive economic and social development in the region. Despite the recent unrest, Egypt has a number of PV installations and projects

he solar power photovoltaic (PV) industry is on the brink on a global economic breakthrough, according to a recent report commissioned by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and environmental organisation Greenpeace International. Entitled Solar Generation 6: Solar Photovoltaic Electricity Empowering the World, the report claims that the global market outlook for solar PV could account for 12% of European power demand by 2020, and close to 9% of global power demand by 2030. The industry is clearly on the up and the report notes that global investments in solar PV technology could double from 35-40 billion euros (US $48-55 billion) today to more than 70 billion euros ($96 billion) in 2015. In the European Union alone, the report claims this could rise from 25-30 billion euros ($3441 billion) today, to more than 35 billion euros ($48 billion) in 2015. The study’s authors say: “Solar photovoltaic is a key technology for combating climate change; the study shows that it creates 35 to 50 jobs per tonne of CO2 savings and will increase the security of energy supply by reducing dependency on energy imports to Europe.” With such rapid growth plotted, not just in Europe, but across the world for the solar PV industry, it is perhaps remarkable that until 2008, not a single country in the GCC produced a single kilowatt of renewable energy, according to Shailesh Dash, chief executive officer of alternative asset management firm Al Masah Capital.



March 2011


the biggest resource in the Mena region is solar irradiance with a potential to meet the total demand for electricity worldwide” already in place, developed by the country’s New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) along with several other government, non-government and private entities. These projects currently generate electricity for water pumps, desalination plants and rural electrification. In Jordan solar energy is being utilised for water heating and the Kingdom’s National Energy Research Centre claims that the country is aiming to reach a solar PV capacity of 10MW by 2020, while in the UAE, Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City has a 10MW PV plant in place. On the eastern shores of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is receiving major investment in solar PV projects from South Asian multi-modality renewable energy company Astonfield. Astonfield currently boosts an impressive renewable energy project portfolio equating for more than 1000MW and large-scale solar PV installations is one of the company’s key investments in the Sultanate, alongside biomass and waste-to-energy projects. Astonfield Renewable Resources co-chairman Ameet Shah says: “We are confident that the energy market in Oman is ready for solar and that our participation in developing renewables in the region will be extremely beneficial to local communities as well as to the environment. “The company has developed a proven, flexible formula that emphasises localisation and lower costs without sacrificing quality through bottom up collaboration between our experienced local engineering team and local leaders.” A report recently released by the Electrical Engineering Department at King Saud University, reveals that the Middle East as a whole receives between 3000-3500 hours of sunshine every year; this accounts for more than 5.0kW/m2 of solar energy per day. There are 66 sunbelt countries based within 35° of the Equator, and according to the EPIA, solar PV capacity global can expect to reach 405GW by 2030.

What is PV?

The Middle East receives between 3000-3500 hours of sunshine every year.

This would bring clean electricity to close to 300 million people and account for between 2.5-6% of the sunbelt’s overall power generation. In the Middle East, a region with so much sunshine and an unhealthy addiction to oiland gas-generated power, it seems common sense is starting to prevail and the clean energy of solar PV sector is becoming an ever more popular choice as governments battle to cut rising CO2 emissions.

The photovoltaic effect is created through the use of semi conductors, which convert solar radiation directly into current electricity. A solar PV panel contains photovoltaic materials such as cadmium telluride, monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon and amorphous silicon. According to global policy network REN21, grid-connected PV capacity increased at a rate of 60% between 2004 and 2009. While PV systems generate electricity by converting sunlight directly into electricity using the semiconductor materials within the solar panels, other solar technologies, such as concentrated solar power (CSP) generate electricity by using mirrors that concentrate the sun’s energy and convert it into hightemperature heat. After the heat in a CSP panel has been collected it is channelled through a conventional generator.

Solar PV-powered school projects Alongside the larger projects being undertaken across the region, solar PV is also being utilised on a local scale in the quest to provide renewable power to schools and hopefully inspire younger generations to take an active interest in clean and renewable energy. In Lebanon solar energy company Suntech Power recently provided solar panels for 19 remote schools. The firm, which is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing and marketing of PV products, provided the panels for schools alongside local renewable energy company Asaco General Trade and Contracting, having previously having to deal with regular blackouts on site. The schools now have their classrooms and libraries lit by solar energy generated through solar panel that emit outputs ranging from 1.2 to 1.8kW hours. Suntech director of Middle East Nader Jandaghi remarks: “The adoption of solar power for these schools will brighten the

lives and enhance the learning of children who will define Lebanon’s future. “Together, we want to power a world where everyone has direct and dependable access to nature’s most abundant energy resource.” Meanwhile in Abu Dhabi, Enviromena Power Systems was recently awarded a contract to provide a 192kW roof-mounted solar PV system on Al Bateen School, which is currently under construction. The system will be mounted on the roof of the school’s sports facility and produce 326MWhs of energy per year, achieving an annual carbon emission reduction of 275 tonnes. Enviromena chief executive officer Sami Khoreibi comments: “School rooftops are an ideal platform for distributed solar power production and Al Bateen School sets the example for the development of future schools — particularly given Abu Dhabi’s investment into state-ofthe-art school campuses alongside the established 7% renewable energy target.”

‘The industries leading waterless urinal’

Mr. Vidyuth Kini Mobile: +971 50450 8356 OFFICE Mobile: +971 50 450 8356 Tel: +971 4 8816750 Fax: +971 4 8816250


March 2011


Meeting rising water demands With water, or rather the lack of water, being a major issue in the Middle East, BuildGreen looks at an example set by a UK town, where innovative installations at a wastewater plant has quelled a growing population centre’s increasing thirst for fresh water


apid population growth in the English town of Gillingham has led to increasing demands for water treatment projects. Gillingham is the most northerly town in the county of Dorset in Britain’s south west. It is a rapidly growing, bustling small town, well serviced, and well connected by road and rail, that enjoys a mild southern climate attracting those facing retirement. According to official statistics, one resident in three is approaching or past retirement age. The town has seen faster growth than most across the UK and one house in five has been built since the millennium. Its 10,500 population, means Gillingham has tripled in size since the 1950s and is expected to continue to grow, expanding by a further 15–20% in the next 20 years. The installation of four Nordic Water Dynasand moving sand bed filters at a local wastewater plant, has been designed to meet anticipated needs until 2013, but with additional media and designed capacity for a potential fifth unit, it is expected to meet the town’s needs until the year 2020. It’s a geographic and demographic profile that brings economic success; but riding alongside that there are external and situational challenges that require resolution, if the town is not to be defeated by an infrastructure that fails to keep up with existing and projected growth. Take wastewater. There’s an ever growing need for water to be reused as we become increasingly aware that it is not a limitless resource. Hand in hand with that, legislation requires any water returned to rivers after treatment to be cleaner and purer than ever before; and it’s likely treatment standards will continue

to rise. Therefore we have to get better at treating and reusing wastewater. In towns like Gillingham, where there is a high proportion of residents who have retired and tend to be home all day, more people are using more water in their dishwashers, washing machines, and for cooking and gardening, as well as for bathing and flushing lavatories. A reasonable answer would be simply to increase the capacity of the existing treatment plant, but there are problems there. First, purely practical — land is expensive, and residents would object to ever larger treatment sites. But second, working to the limits of design capacity, the existing system was anyway struggling to cope with peak demands — and more of a problem than this was the need to meet rising consent standards into the nearby River Stour. Clearly something had to be done. Jill Smith was Wessex Water’s commissioning engineer for the scheme, and claims the Gillingham project was relatively quick from inception to completion, and in its way quite straightforward, though not without the unique challenges every project faces. “It had been clear for some time that something had to be done about

Gillingham, as it was one of the fastest growing towns around,” say Smith. “The only question really was to work out the best way to do it. “The existing system could cope with the flow volume, but with the increasing flows the quality of the output into the River Stour needed work to maintain consent standards. And the standards are becoming ever more stringent, so we had to look at not just what we needed at the time, but within a reasonable future horizon as well. “Our challenge was the way the consents on outfall water are measured. It depends on the finite amount of organic solids dispersed to the river, not the actual state of purification of the water itself. This means that, for example,

March 2011

The whole process was relatively quick taking only a couple of years”

Left: The four installed Dynasand units. Right: A townhouse in Gillingham. Below: The existing primary settlement tanks and bio-filter beds.

a filtration medium of basalt sand. The system operates all units from a central single input to maximise efficiency, and filters solid particles as the flow is pumped to the bottom and rises up to the top of the unit. The introduction of pumped air to the bottom of the filter helps to lift the dirty sand to the top where the media is washed for continuous reuse. Process air is also added within the media bed to provide air for biological treatment to remove ammonia from the effluent. A 10 day post-installation testing programme with the plant working in fully automatic mode confirmed the plant could meet compliance standards at actual and anticipated flow and ammonia load rates,

and sampling was taken at regular and frequent intervals for evaluation. After the 10 days, further time was added to look at performance under more widely varying flow conditions. Additional ammonia was dosed into the system to ensure the system outputs would remain within the required consent criteria, even at the expected future flow levels, and all tests produced results within — sometimes well within — acceptable consent ranges and design limits. “The treated effluent from the units is used for more than just the internal automatic media washing inside the filtration units,” says Luchon. “It’s clean enough for us to use to wash down within the site itself, including cleaning purposes and washing the screens at the initial input to the plant. This reduces the cost of running the plant and its impact on the environment, as it reduces our need to extract clean water for our own use.” Smith notes: “The whole process was relatively quick — from determination that something had to be done to commissioning took only a couple of years. “We had learned from previous installations and everything was well planned and went smoothly. No crises or unexpected problems.” After protracted use the system works well and in day-to-day running is virtually automatic, requiring a weekly visual check on the different equipment elements and a monthly monitoring of generated reports, mostly concerning the results of sand sinking speed and of media washwater flow within the units. If the sinking speed is too high, the air lift pump raises too much sand and could result in media being washed away and lost: if the sinking speed is too low, the media would not be moved quickly enough to be cleaned correctly. This means that the media washwater flow has to be set up and maintained in correlation with the sand-sinking speed, to be sure the media is cleaned with the right amount of washwater. The continuing growth of Gillingham is taken into account as well. The effectiveness of the Dynasand units can be augmented with a marginal top up of filtration media; each unit can take approximately a further metre of basalt sand, which will increase effectiveness. And, predicting the need, when the four units were installed, the pipework and other infrastructure was put in place to allow for a fifth unit to be brought in and commissioned with minimal disruption. The installation in its present configuration is designed to meet anticipated needs till 2013 — but with additional media and the fifth unit it is expected to meet Gillingham’s needs until the year 2020.


if you double the flow of water through the system, you have to halve the solids held within it after treatment, so you don’t increase the total amount of solids put into the river,” she remarks. “Then there was the question of cost. Because we were working with the growing population and the increased flows that come with that; we couldn’t apply for funding, so ultimately our decisions were guided by the need to remove more solids to reach consent standards, to get rid of the additional ammonia content that comes with the increased flow, and to do this in the most cost-effective manner.” The original installation follows a classic and traditional ‘trickling filter’ design, time tested and used in many hundreds of similar treatment plants across the UK. A site on the outskirts of town, close to the river features initial screening for solids before passing through a primary settlement tank. Secondary treatment occurs in a series of eight bio-filter beds before passing the water through humus tanks then gravity feeding to a final sump from which outflow to the river is controlled. Storm tanks introduce

temporary holding storage for exceptional flows, and feedback through the system to reduce the risk of pollution in such cases. Wessex Water determined that the flow volume was less of a problem than the need to clean the final effluent, so the hydraulic capacity of the system did not need to be increased, but its purification effectiveness needed work. A study of the alternatives indicated the most efficient, compact, and cost-effective way to achieve this was to install a tertiary treatment system following from the existing primary settlement tanks and bio-filter beds. “We did have options how best to achieve this,” claims the company’s area scientist Pierre Luchon, who is responsible for compliance issues on the Gillingham site, and many others across the region. “But in the end aerated sand filters were probably the best way to remove both suspended solids and ammonia, and the Dynasand systems had proved themselves on two other sites in the region, so we knew how they were installed and operated. Four DynaOxy units were installed in a compact group at the lowest point of the site, allowing them to receive their input flows from the existing process units. Each filter is about six metres high, and contains


March 2011


The global reality


As the nations of the world continue to mete out the terms of a framework on climate change the struggle will no doubt leave its mark on communities and individuals. Thom Bohlen, chief technical officer at the Middle East Centre for Sustainable Development, gives his opinion on how individuals, organisations and businesses will have to change their mindsets sooner rather than later, and documents the different attitudes his work brings him in contact with Much has been written and discussed about global warming and resulting climate change over the last few decades, particularly regarding human or ‘anthropogenic’ causes. Take for example the global community’s attempts in the form of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gatherings since the Kyoto Protocol. In this case, countries of the world have attempted to establish a future road map to identify significant solutions through regulatory and voluntary means to minimise greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. Kyoto, Copenhagen and Cancun The essence of the Kyoto Protocol, formulated in 1997, and finally adopted in 2005, calls for nations to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2%, compared to 1990 levels; not unreasonable, considering that shipping and international aviation emissions are not included in that percentage. To date, 187 nations have signed and ratified the protocol. Unfortunately, due to the belief that adhering to the Kyoto Protocol would cause a drop in their country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), three of the main contributors of greenhouse gases, China, India and the US, have yet to ratify it. In addition, other countries that have ratified the Protocol have blatantly ignored their commitments, including Canada and Japan. Subsequent UNFCCC conferences in Copenhagen and Cancun have also failed to reach any real consensus on the creation of long-term, legally-binding agreements to set national greenhouse gas emission goals. Continuation of the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 is therefore in jeopardy. As a result of a lack of real commitments from the global community of nations, emissions have expanded to 40% above the established 1990 baseline with a concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now at its highest in at least 800,000 years. The World Meteorological

Organisation (WMO) Brolen has identified six announced that different types of response to climate change. the decade ending in 2010 was the hottest on record. Undoubtedly, global warming has no predilection to match the rapid advance of the effects of climate change with the snail’s pace of an equivocating global community of nations. It is clear to me and, I am assuming, to many others in the field of sustainability that the people of the world, particularly those in the most vulnerable of eco-systems, cannot wait long for these UNFCCC meetings to make any real headway on reaching consensus on global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The people’s attitude to climate change and sustainability In my years of following and studying the global warming and climate change phenomenon, and working as a sustainability consultant as chief technical officer of the Middle East Centre for Sustainable Development, where we have recently LEED certified as many as 16 buildings in the UAE, I have identified at least six categories of responses to climate change from both individuals and organisations: Type A: Those people that are completely oblivious and unaware of the impending impact of climate change, who are mostly individuals in survival mode for the basic human needs of their families.

The canary in the coal mine died, back in about 1980” These people, usually in underdeveloped countries or in the poorer neighbourhoods of large cities, are the most vulnerable to changes to the climate, whether in floods, droughts, other extreme weather storms or through the slower changes of farming methods that result in a lack of food and clean drinking water. Climate change ratchets up the pressure to these people living within sensitive eco-systems, and even a small seemingly insignificant change can result in exasperating human misery and even the death of many. Type B: Those who have been exposed to the issues of climate change, but who are

March 2011


not convinced that it is real and go about their lives with a ‘business-as-usual’ attitude. These people need to be convinced that climate change is real and that there are things they can do. type c: Those who understand the facts surrounding climate change, but for various reasons, including fear of financial impact, minimise or deny the facts and go about their lives with the ‘business-as-usual’ attitude. Again, these people need more education to be convinced that meeting sustainability goals has initial costs, but there is always a return on investment, if not in monetary terms, at least in social and environmental terms. type d: Those who understand the facts surrounding climate change and choose to act as a profiteer from this knowledge through nefarious methods including various kinds of greenwashing. The greenwashing of products and services is becoming more difficult and will continue to be so as more and more people are trained to identify it. type e: Those who understand the facts surrounding climate change, but fail to see how they can be part of the solution and actually contribute. These people and organisations can become cynical and are often depressed about climate change, and can become immobilised at the thought of it. These people need encouragement and further education on the opportunities in living and working sustainably that are currently being developed across the globe.

type F: Finally, there are those who understand the facts surrounding climate change, have educated themselves enough to know that they as individuals can actually contribute to real solutions to help mitigate climate change, and can reap the benefits of involvement. Persons that have arrived at ‘Type F’ need to assist those in categories ‘A’ through to ‘E’ to advance to the top category, through education and by example, and soon. Each one of us as individuals, groups, associations, businesses, and corporations, must decide where we fall into the above categories, and hopefully advance to ‘Type F’ sooner than later, if the global community is to make any real headway in the mitigation of climate change.


what is lacking? What is missing on the world stage, as evidenced by the lack of any real consensus for greenhouse gas reduction commitments

We humans learn best by example and and any real follow through, is the much your commitment to sustainability will be maligned political will of each nation making taken in and followed by others. up the global community. This new way of living must be taught to There are too many in the circles of the our children in our schools and in our homes world power structure, whether from within so that sustainability is not second nature, global corporations or national governments but first nature to them. that still believe the earth is limitless in its ability to provide us with all of the If humans have failed to stop distasterous oil leaks is there hope resources we need. they can stop climate change? They believe that we have a manifest destiny in recklessly moving forward with raging consumerism, and that somehow technological advances will pull us out at the last moment, like some Hollywood action blockbuster. I for one am not in favour of the concept of ‘geo-engineering’ to mitigate climate change — we as a planet could not stop an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico for several months. This failure to Sustainability, this new way of living, stop the disaster in a timely fashion, and its must be the measuring rod against which underlying failed engineering practice that all future human endeavours must be caused the gusher in the first place, do not measured, and provide the absolute engender confidence in our human ability to criteria for all future decisions regarding solve, manipulate and mitigate catastrophes consumption of resources on the planet. on the global scale. This new way of living will include a new I also think that everything we do and every economic system based on the true value decision we make on the planet cannot of products and services. This will work in be restricted and bound to the concept of respect to how products and services are making a short-term monetary profit, at the are sourced, manufactured, distributed, expense of the long-term cost on the earth’s sold, utilised and finally recycled. depleting resources and our very survival. Conscious consumerism will replace In terms of urgency for mitigating climate uncontrolled rampant consumerism based change, the canary in the coal mine died, on designed obsolescence. Given this back in about 1980. choice, most people will choose to be By the time the global community gets conscious consumers. its act together regarding implementing real Assuredly, a critical mass of ‘Type solutions for climate change, we may well F’ people must arise within their local be past the tipping point for the survival of all communities, organisations, businesses, living things as we now know them. corporations and in places of power within transforming personal responsibility into their governments, before sustainability global responsibility becomes a new way of being that will be necessary for humanity to survive the effects We need to come together as a true global of climate change. community of nations as well as individual The great poet, teacher, and Vietnamese human beings to embrace sustainability Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, as a new way of living on the earth. This immortalised the phrase: “There is no way to means that you as an individual have the peace; peace is the way.” opportunity to choose to live sustainably, In that same vein, there is no way to even though those immediately around you sustainability; sustainability is the way. and in your organisations may not.

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Please visit us at our stand in Arabian Construction Week Stand No. 7420 On March 28 - 30, 2011 (Abu Dhabi)

March 2011


Meeting the challenges


Professor steven griffiths, executive director of institute initiatives at Masdar Institute, discusses how the global sustainability challenge is being addressed through renewable energy research and collaboration


ver the past several decades, a primary driver of social and economic development has been the burning of fossil fuels to provide energy for industry, transportation, heat and electric power. While this industrial development has improved the living conditions of the world’s population, it is also understood to be a major contributor to increasing levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that result in global warming and climate change. In response to the global threat of climate change, at least 80 countries have adopted policy targets for renewable energy — a significant increase from the 45 countries that had adopted targets as of 2005. In a demonstration of leadership for the Middle East, the government of Abu Dhabi has set a target of 7% of energy generation capacity to be derived from renewable sources by 2020. The technological advancements required to achieve such targets and address our global sustainability challenge will require substantial knowledge capital and related expertise in research and development. Leading academic research institutions are a driving force behind this development because they provide a culture of technological innovation and R&D excellence. At Masdar Institute, research is being carried out into a number of areas that are of particular importance to Abu Dhabi and the region as a whole, such as aviation biofuels, semiconductors, advanced technologies for “smart” cities and carbon capture and sequestration. Research in these areas is being conducted to develop new and innovative technologies that capture sustainable primary energy sources, such as biomass, solar and wind energy, and transform these into secondary energy carriers, such as liquid and solid fuels, that can be used to power the building, transportation, industrial and agricultural sectors. Masdar Institute selects certain companies and agencies as strategic collaborators where there is an opportunity for world-class research and the establishment of the human capacity that will contribute to the development of a knowledge-based economy.

Smart grid technologies are fast improving.

Abu Dhabi itself is attractive to these collaborators for a number of reasons. Either it has something unique that it can offer, such as aquatic saltwater plants that are readily available and have the potential to provide fuel from biomass; or there is a regional context, such as an initiative to exploit large oil fields and deep saline aquifers for carbon sequestration; or development of a greenfield site, such as Masdar City, where new technologies can be incorporated from the ground up. Some of these research projects are very long term with results evolving over the next

March 2011

because even in the best case scenarios, these sources will only be able to meet a portion of the world’s growing energy demands in the decades ahead. To address this need, Masdar Institute is forming strategic collaborations with leading companies such as Siemens to develop energy-efficiency technologies that can be used in buildings and industrial settings to profile and modulate thermal comfort and energy performance. The Institute is also collaborating with Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC) to develop semiconductor devices capable of processing increasingly large amounts of information but with ultralow power requirements so as to minimise cooling requirements. For the energy demand that must be met by fossil sources, Masdar Institute is working with Siemens, Masdar Carbon and the Abu Dhabi Onshore Oil Company (ADCO) to develop carbon capture technologies and carbon storage techniques that will hopefully mitigate the environmental impacts of fossil power production. At the systems levels, Masdar Institute is making advances in the integration of smart

Masdar institute is forming strategic collaborations to develop energyefficiency technologies”

‘This article originally appeared in The National’

Masdar Institute is collaborating with the aerospace industry to develop saltwater agricultural systems.

grid and smart building technologies at the building, city and regional scales. Such advances will ultimately make our electrical distribution system compatible with energy supply from large central power plants as well as a very distributed system of small renewable energy sources. The resultant system will harmonise conventional power plants with energy supply sources such as rooftop solar PV, hydro, wind, concentrated thermal solar and geothermal, as well as new sources of energy demand such as plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. Almost every nation that has experienced significant installation of renewable energy capacity, production and investment has had robust policies to promote renewable energy. The growth of renewable energy systems in major economies in the past couple of decades has been greatest when supported by policies such as feed-in tariffs, mandatory renewable energy targets, or tax concessions for renewable energy investment. Masdar Institute is working with Abu Dhabi agencies such as the General Secretariat of the Executive Council (GSEC), Technology Development Committee (TDC), Abu Dhabi Water and Electric Authority (ADWEA) and others to evaluate policy and regulation designs that will play an important role in improving the adoption and economics of renewable energy as well as attracting private investment capital to the region. These agencies form a foundation for strategic collaboration given their importance to the policy interests of Abu Dhabi and Masdar Institute. Moving forward, regional and global technology development will be enabled by Masdar Institute and other academic institutions working with engineers and scientists from industry and government who are capable of advancing the existing body of knowledge in advanced energy technologies and sustainability. Policies will be developed that create combined and mutually reinforcing regional and international perspectives at both the tactical and strategic levels. Systems will be developed that apply fundamental network design and analysis principles to assess the responses and feedbacks that arise from complex groups of discrete technologies and policies. Overlap of work in these areas establishes the type of interdisciplinary collaboration that leads to breakthrough ideas and discoveries and builds the innovation culture and research and development expertise needed to address the global sustainability challenge.


few decades. Initial successes, however, are envisioned during the course of the next two to five years. Over the long term time scales it is highly likely that collaborations implemented as a consortia will grow in size, while Abu Dhabi itself becomes a hub for the related R&D fields. For instance, Masdar Institute is collaborating with aerospace and defence corporation Boeing, Abu Dhabi flagship carrier Etihad Airways and speciality materials Underwater vegetation company UOP could be a great Honeywell to develop source for biofuels. saltwater agricultural systems that are indigenous to Abu Dhabi. These saltwater tolerant plants yield biomass for aviation biofuels and do not distort the global food chain, compete with fresh water resources or lead to unintended land use change. The collaboration is being implemented as a consortium that will continually grow as Abu Dhabi continues to develop into a major global player in both the aerospace and clean energy industries. Simply improving on the ability to capture sustainable primary energy sources is not sufficient, however,


March 2011

The reuse material


BuildGreen speaks to experts from the aluminium industry to find out what makes the material such an attractive option for the environmentally minded



nce considered the apex of luxury metals, for more than 100 years aluminium has been a mass-produced material and today is a common material used in the production of construction products such as windows, siding, building wire and doors. While it is noted for its strength, durability and resistance to corrosion, to environmentalists aluminium is perhaps best known for its recyclability. International Aluminium Institute (IAI) chairman and Hydro chief executive officer Svein Richard Brandtzæg explains: “At the end of its life, an aluminium product is 100% recyclable and still has a very high value. “This has led to high recycling rates globally and the potential for even greater material, energy and emissions savings into the future.” As demand for the metal flourishes, the Middle East’s aluminium sector is experiencing rapid growth. Gulf Aluminium Council (GAC) general secretary Mahmood Daylami notes: “The Gulf region is an emerging hub in the global aluminium industry and more than 2 million metric tonnes of primary aluminium was produced by the region in 2009, equating to 5.6% of the global market.” According to the GAC, more than 3 million metric tonnes was forecast for production last year. Phil Ellerby, managing director and owner of Rigidal Industries, says: “All aluminium products are ‘green’ by definition; especially if you consider the primary

March 2011

aluminium experiences a high rate of recycling, with 85% of construction materials sent to recycling companies. In the Middle East, recycling rates are not quite as high; however, programmes and schemes to recycle aluminium have been growing on both a consumer and industrial level. Reed Exhibitions show manager Tarek Ali, the man responsible for the Aluminium Dubai exhibition, says: “The collection process in the Middle East region is not very well developed. “People are not educated in how to separate the

production that is there and that secondary sheets in our industry is made from 85% recycled aluminium; if you really want to be 100%, however, it can be organised as well.” The vast majority of materials used in the construction industry are not finite, but due to the fact it can be recycled time and time again, many developers are looking to aluminium as a leading material across a plethora of industries.


The aluminium industry is currently experiencing rapid growth in the Middle East.

cans and reuse aluminium; so perhaps it is a ‘green’ material, but people must be educated on how to recycle it.” Leading the recycling drive in the UAE is the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), which recently concluded a major can collection drive. In its latest drive, the EEG’s volunteers collected more than 7500kg of cans and aluminium waste from across the UAE, with all collected waste being sent to local recycling factories in Dubai and Sharjah where it was crushed, melted and reused. EEG chairperson Habiba Al Marashi says: “This was one of the group’s first waste management programmes and to date we have diverted about 136,819kg of aluminium waste from landfills to be recycled. “Aluminium is a valuable raw material and it should be reused,” she adds. Since its inception in 1997, the EEG has witnessed increasing participation in the can collection drive with a 40% rise in collections made this year compared to collections made in 2010. The EEG estimates that close to 500 million canned drinks are sold in the UAE every year, of which less than 5% end up with recycling companies; the global rate of cans sent to recycling companies is currently around 60%.

Aluminium is a sturdy and versatile metal.

drive to recycle In Europe, according to the Spanish Association of Aluminium Refiners



March 2011

“Recycling cans and waste saves 95% of the energy and 75% of the water that is used up to manufacture aluminium products from scratch,” Al Marashi points out. While consumers may be taking to streets, beaches and wastage sites to collect disused aluminium cans, the UAE faces the prospect of falling behind the rest of the world in its wide-scale recycling endeavours, according to Rigidal Industries’ Ellerby. Ellerby remarks: “I have my own personal theory that the UAE is inundated with vast numbers of extremely poorly paid workforces. “If you were to financially incentivise individuals by giving a return price on a can or a facility where they can teach people how they can recycle cans and they can get money for it I think you would solve all the solid waste problems of the Middle East overnight,” he asserts. “I think, unfortunately, the exceedingly low-paid workers here don’t understand that.”

Building codes With green building codes coming into force across the region’s major population centres, many construction firms must now adhere to more sustainable building regulations. Despite this, the use or reuse of aluminium products is still somewhat vague, according to Gulf Extrusions general manager Modar Mohamed Al Mekdad. Al Mekdad says: “I think the building codes that exist, with no disrespect to the Gulf Aluminium Council, have to be

Aluminium can be used for a variety of construction products, including doors, windows and roofing.


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March 2011


Top and right: The collection of used aluminium cans is picking up pace across the UAE, where organisations such as the EEG often organise collection drives.

extended into more detail about windows, doors and external envelopes. “We are talking about saving energy and ‘green’ solutions. We have a product that as a thermal broker for windows and doors can minimise thermal transfer by 25-50%. “If I look at the specifications it is mandatory only in Sharjah and has been for five years,” he adds. “It is a good step to demand such products, but unfortunately there are so many people who can work around the specifications.” While the jury may be out on the cohesion between green building codes and aluminium products, Rigidal Industries’ Ellerby notes that the extraordinary nature of aluminium should not be forgotten. “It’s phenomenal,” he remarks. “You dig the ore out of the ground and from it you make base aluminium from bauxite; you then

reduce it to aluminium oxide and smelt it with coke — if you actually recycle all the aluminium it’s only takes 5% of the original energy, so all the aluminium that is being produced from basic bauxite can be recycled again and again. “There have been recycling facilities in the UAE for a very long time,” he adds. “One of the top recyclers, Union Paper Mills, has to be in excess of 30 years old and Lucky Recycling in Jebel Ali has been recycling aluminium for at least 25 years. “The facilities are there, and the great thing about aluminium is that it can all be recycled.”

over and over again •

• •

Aluminium is infinitely recyclable — approximately 75% of all aluminium ever produced since 1888 (around 1 billion tonnes) is still in productive use, with some having been through countless loops of its lifecycle. Globally, the recycling of aluminium saves more than 90 million tonnes of CO2 annually and more than 100,000 GWh of electrical energy — equivalent to the annual power consumption of the Netherlands. Aluminium recycling requires up to 95% less energy than primary aluminium production. Aluminium’s economic scrap value and ability to be recycled continuously makes the aluminium beverage can the most recycled container in the world with an average recycling rate of 60% and more than 90% in some countries. Globally, aluminium achieves among the highest material recycling rates, with up to 90% for transport and construction applications achieved Aluminium can be recycled over and over again without any loss of quality

(Source: International Aluminium Institute)



March 2011

BASF offer a variety of textures and a range of finishes to choose from.

Simple insulation Insulation materials can play a serious role in reducing the energy consumption of a building. In this article, Harald Kroll, managing director of BASF FZE, talks about the products his firm have developed to answer the demands of the construction industry as it looks to embrace sustainability on the building site

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aking buildings ‘green’ in both initial construction or retrofitting is no longer an option, says BASF FZE managing director Harald Kroll. Kroll points out that financial, legislative and ethical issues are forcing individuals, organisations and governments to pay attention and take action, and as a result BASF has introduced a range of tools and technologies to help make sustainable construction possible in a cost effective way. “Commercial buildings contribute to about 40% of the global greenhouse gas

emissions,” notes Kroll. “Thus, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings plays a decisive role in terms of combating global warming and climate change. “Driving change globally and, more specifically in the UAE, is new legislation that is being introduced to regulate building standards. “Practical and economic considerations such as the increasing scarcity, and skyrocketing cost of water and electricity utilities across the world, however, are also compelling companies to begin taking decisive action,” he adds.

Sustainable construction specifies the use of materials that reduce the energy demand of buildings and extends their service life and BASF has taking a leading industry role by investing more than a third of its research expenditures in energy efficiency, climate protection, conservation of resources and renewable raw materials. Kroll remarks: “Our insulation materials, EIFS, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the construction sector by reducing the energy demand of buildings; we have repair mortars, sealants and coatings that can extend

March 2011

Insulation tools In its mission to lead the sustainable construction industry, BASF has a range of insulation solutions for the construction industry. We find out what they are and the role they can play in ‘green’ construction

commercial buildings contribute 40% of the global greenhouse gas emissions” craftsmen and distributors, needs to be aware of the challenges faced and the solutions available,” remarks Kroll. “And they need to actively engage in terms of seeking out sustainable products and processes.” “Sustainable construction allows the creation of built environments that balance economic viability with resource conservation, and reducing environmental and social impact. The ultimate goal, however, is long term protection of the planet – and every small contribution makes a difference.” “Our goal is to contribute to the development of better standards and requirements,” Kroll adds.

the service life of buildings and our low-volatile organic compounds (VOC) dispersions reduce indoor emissions in buildings. The company also offers cement and concrete additives which increase the speed of construction, ensuring efficiency and allowing for the reuse of industrial by-products in concrete. According to BASF, its corporate carbon footprint accounts for the reduction of 287 million tons of CO2 equivalents per year — three times as much as needed for their production. “Everyone in the construction industry, from institutions to planners, architects, specifiers, construction companies, investors,

offering a light-weight solution and insulation properties that minimise heat loss, polyurethanes are ideal for green construction applications. Polyurethane presents a wide array of application methods to adapt to the requirements and contours of a building. Kroll explains: “Many of our products such as phasechange materials or materials used to manufacture innovative thermal insulating foams are used for energy-efficient construction.” “the volume of insulating materials we sell annually saves more than five times the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by BasF every year,” he adds. examples of BasF’s energy-efficient materials that improve thermal insulation in buildings include neopor and Micronal PcM. neopor comprises innovative black polystyrene granules that are processed by manufacturers to silvergrey foam blocks or moulded parts that give up to 20% higher insulating performance, and provides a saving of up to 50% of the raw materials required. Micronal PcM comprises microscopic polymer beads that contain a wax storage medium on the inside. integrated into construction materials, the wax melts or solidifies in the microcapsule as the temperature varies, regulating or stabilising the ambient temperature by capping the temperature peaks. in summer they offer an ideal level of comfort and opportunities to save energy.


Top: A Belhasa employee glues an insulating panel on to the façade of the East Hotel in Dubai. The building is optimally insulated with BASF’s multi-layer Senergy insulation system, which reduces the energy used to cool the building by 50%. Bottom: A craftsman applies Neopor to an existing façade with construction adhesive. The butt joints of the Neopor panels are laterally shifted. (Photo credits: Press photo BASF)

exterior insulation and Finish systems (eiFs) are suited to both retrofit and new construction projects. Kroll says: “the insulation of buildings is widely seen as the most effective way to improve the energy efficiency of a structure. “the external location of the insulation puts the insulation in the best place — as far towards the outside, where the temperature fluctuates, as possible. “eiFs can also cover the structure completely without any thermal breaks, allowing the wall structure to act like a cold/heat sink reducing the energy needed to maintain a constant indoor temperature.” some of the exterior insulation offers benefits including internal comfort levels, which are improved year round. the cost of heating and cooling can be reduced on average by 30-55% and condensation on the walls and ceilings is virtually eliminated, claims Kroll.


March 2011

Protecting the Bay Bridge


When the San Francisco Bay Bridge was upgraded with SeaTimber it proved to be more than just a “green” move, saving the US city’s second most famous bridge from heavy damage in a spectacular collision



ense fog shrouded the famous San Francisco Bay Bridge on the morning of November 7, 2007, when the Cosco Busan, a 250-metre-long container ship, slammed into the base of one of the bridge’s support towers. The accident caused a major oil spill and tore a huge gash in the vessel’s hull, but the massive Bay Bridge itself, linking the business and transportation hubs of San Francisco and Oakland in California’s Bay Area, took the collision in its stride, thanks in part to an innovation that gave recycled materials a renewed lease of life. The protective fenders girding the piers rising from the bay had recently been replaced with a shock-absorbent synthetic lumber named SeaTimber, which is produced from 100% recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which in a previous life could have been a milk container that ended up in a recycling bin. Mick Langford, sales manager for Trelleborg Marine Systems USA, a unit within Trelleborg Engineered Systems responsible for the material, says: “The plastic upgrade proved invaluable to the environment. “Had the Bay Bridge fenders still been original wood, they would have been in an advanced state of deterioration and would have offered almost no real protection. “Plastic may have prevented the worst, which could have been a catastrophic collapse of the bridge.” The synthetic logs can be manufactured in different measures of flexibility as well as different lengths and colours, notes Langford. In addition, unlike wood, they are not susceptible to rotting in the water or falling prey to marine borers. They also don’t have to be treated with creosote and other toxic materials that leach into the water over time. Finally, SeaTimber has a lifespan of 40 to 50 years compared with five to 10 years for wood, he remarks. “Not only is it a green alternative, it’s also much more flexible and therefore able to

but thanks to Trelleborg and lots of highly motivated workers all across the US, we got it done in less than 30 days.” The project involved rush-producing SeaTimber and the steel struts and arcs that sit behind the fenders. They were then trucked cross-country, so that Ikenberry’s floating crew could install the replacements at Tower Five on the Bay Bridge’s western span before the winter storms closed in. In December, the repairs were completed in record time, pressing a few thousand more milk jugs into service for a second time.

The San Francisco Bay Bridge.

absorb and deflect energy,” says Langford. “The very first major installation was at the port of New Orleans. Over time, more and more people started using it, once they looked at the life-cycle cost benefits.” The advantages of plastic sheathing swayed Caltrans, the California Department of Transportation, in the summer of 2005 to replace more than 11km of wooden timbers, previously forming the fenders around the base of the Bay Bridge towers, with SeaTimber. California Engineering Contractors (CEC) carried out the US $6 million project, choosing the material due to its versatility, claims CEC project manager Robert Ikenberry. “SeaTimber won because of the cost analysis,” comments Ikenberry. “It performed just as it should; it took the blow for the bridge and protected the infrastructure behind it.” The upgraded protective layer had weathered three winters in the splash zone when the Cosco Busan accident put it to the test. “Caltrans scheduled 100 working days for emergency repairs,” explains Ikenberry. “That was already an unheard-of deadline,

The plastic matrix being installed on the bridge.

The Bay Bridge when it opened in 1936, the Bay Bridge for the first time connected residents of san Francisco and oakland through an engineering feat that cost us $77 million. each more than 1.5km long, two suspended spans whisk cars, and initially trains, across the san Francisco Bay, replacing the ferries that once plied the choppy waters. traffic surged past expectations, rising from nine million vehicles in its first year to more than 102 million today.

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Just 40 years to save the world

March 2011


Architects collaborate on zero emission developments that produce energy and clean air


In a joint venture with Buro Happold, international architects Woods Bagot are introducing a new building design software programme to the Middle East, Zero-E. The brainchild of Ross Donaldson, Woods Bagot global executive chairman and chief executive officer, the programme illustrates the carbon impact of different aspect of a building’s design, based on geographic location. The result is a development, which is not only carbon neutral, but capable of creating more energy than is uses, releasing cleaner air than it creates and processing its own waste. Using parametric technologies, Zero-E “contributes to the healing of compromised human and ecological systems”. Inspired by an address by Tom Bruick from Rio Tinto at the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, October 2009, Donaldson explains: “He said very succinctly that we have 40 years to establish a

zero-carbon economy. I met Bruick on the day my first grandchild was born so that’s why I decided we were going to get serious about this. “It begins with my belief that as a profession, architecture doesn’t do enough to contribute to advancing knowledge and relies instead on R&D from other sectors.” Funded by Woods Bagot’s R&D nest egg, which sees 2% of company revenue used for such projects, the new design platform was successfully applied to the development of an industrial site on Yangtze River, China. The programme is now due to be introduced to the Middle East and European markets. “Cities and buildings are responsible for around 50% of the emission problem, but what are we doing about it? Along with Buro Happold we had the idea that the only way to seriously contribute to the climate change engagement was to have a quantifiable design process.”

A rendering of the Zero-E pilot study project.

(Credit: Woods Bagot/Buro Happold)

March 2011

Building a sustainable future


This month the Green Building Middle East summit comes to Abu Dhabi as part of the Arabian Construction Week exhibition. Set to take place from March 28-29 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, BuildGreen looks at some of the event’s speakers who will document their knowledge and experience of the growing demand for sustainable construction practices



aking place alongside Arabian Construction Week this month is the Green Building Middle East summit. The programme will bring together a selection of top sustainable building experts from across the region to discuss in detail the practices, materials and initiatives that can be implemented or utilised on construction sites across the region. As the market for sustainable construction practices continues to grow across the Middle East the show plans to address and provide answers to issues ranging from improving environmental performance through to the adoption of sustainability, the problem of building material greenwashing and how to effectively deal with construction site waste. Among the top speakers confirmed for the show will be Keith Clarke, chief executive officer at international consultancy firm Atkins. Clarke will deliver his address from the Brunel Lecture Series, which will focus on the start of a global industrial revolution initiated by low-carbon societies, and will look at the sustainability challenges facing engineers across the globe. Other speakers on the agenda include Adnan Sharafi, chairman of the Emirates Green Building Council, Rupert Oliver, director at Forest Industries Intelligence Ltd and a consultant for the American Hardwood Export Council and Karim Aly, director of strategy and innovation at Ecobility and chairman of Emirates Biodiesel.

Another of the top speakers at the event, Dr Neil Kirkpatrick, head of environment and sustainability, Royal Group, says: “Abu Dhabi and the UAE have some of the highest sustainability impacts of any city and country in the world. “Under the leadership of the county’s government, we are fortunate to have some of the most advanced systems and tools to help us minimise and mitigate those impacts. “The Royal Group is a leader in understanding how to use these tools as well as how to benefit from the development and implementation of strategies that go beyond regulatory requirements. As part of our corporate responsibility and desire to safeguard this beautiful country in which we are fortunate to live, we look forward to sharing our experiences at the summit.” Abu Dhabi has been at the forefront of the region’s sustainability industry and is now home to a plethora of construction firms that have embraced eco-conscious business models. Projects such as Masdar City are leading the way as far as demonstrating the emirate’s commitment to developing and utilising green technologies is concerned. The event takes place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre alongside the fast-growing construction exhibition Arabian Construction Week.

March 2011

why abu dhabi?

Arabian Construction Week is taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

about arabian construction week At Arabian Construction Week 2011, more than 500 exhibiting companies will get the opportunity to showcase their products to more than 10,000 trade visitors. The exhibition will occupy some 20,000 square metres of exhibition space and the show will be accompanied by four industry summits that are expected to attract 800 delegates, including Green Building Middle East. For three days construction industry professionals will get the chance to network and source new business contacts at the biggest construction industry platform in Abu Dhabi. More information on the event can be found online at: who should attend green Building Middle east? • • • • • •

CEOs and managing directors of firms looking to embrace sustainability Sustainability managers and CSR directors Procurement managers Green building council members, environmental experts Operation and project managers Students and those interested in learning more about sustainable construction in the Middle East


The world is looking at Abu Dhabi’s ambitious construction sector for leadership in the sustainable movement and the speaker faculty of global experts at the Green Building Middle East summit will discuss, inform and update attendees on the technologies and practices that can push the Middle East to the forefront of ‘green’ construction revolution. Christopher Hudson, managing director of Clarion Events Middle East, the company behind Arabian Construction Week, says: “The UAE’s large capital investment in the construction industry makes it one of the world’s most exciting project markets. “Arabian Construction Week 2011 will welcome distinguished speakers and a veritable who’s who of industry leaders and prominent personalities in the global construction industry. Visitors will benefit from in-depth discussions on the current state of the industry as well as emerging opportunities, making it a must-attend event for all industry professionals.” Arabian Construction Week takes place from March 28 to 30 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and will simultaneously feature three dedicated trade shows, including Green Building Middle East, Future Build Middle East and Civil Engineering Middle East.

did you know... the UAE’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said that the green market will double from US $1.37 trillion a year at present to $2.74 trillion by 2020


March 2011

look who’s talking


BuildGreen highlights some of the top speakers set to take to the stage at Green Building Middle East rupert oliver is an internationally-recognised independent authority with 20 years experience on environmental issues related to the timber trade and forest management. Oliver has travelled widely, studying forestry practices and market development in North America, Europe, the Far East, and Africa. Regularly consulted by international and national agencies in the international forest products sector, he is a regular speaker at international conventions and is a strong believer in the contribution that forestry and timber can make to sustainable development. He holds a Masters degree in Forest Business Administration and is also director of Forest Industries Intelligence Limited.

Rupert Oliver, consultant to AHEC for sustainability issues.


Peter saling, head of the global Eco-Efficiency Analysis Group within the Sustainability Centre at BASF, is a chemist and joined the company back in 1993. After research activities, he joined the development group for Eco-Efficiency Analysis within BASF together with Roland Berger consultants. Saling was formerly project leader for the development and integration of social aspects into the SEEBALANCE sustainability analysis.

Peter Saling, head of the global Eco-Efficiency Analysis Group within the Sustainability Centre, BASF.

Seeing out the second day of the event, will be Bee’ah’s charismatic director of environmental responsibility, Jeremy Byatt. Joining the Sharjah-based environment company in August 2008, Byatt is primarily responsibility for guiding the strategic direction of Bee’ah, making decisions on all the projects the private-public entity are involved in. The vastly-experienced environmental expert has spent time working in the private, public and nongovernmental sectors in his native Canada and Jeremy Byatt, director of environmental responsibility, Bee’ah. around the world. Previous positions he has held include policy director of Friends of the Earth Canada, where he led an international ozone depletion campaign. He has also been an advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme’s OzonAction programme and worked as a member of Canada’s delegation to the Montréal Protocol. As a consultant, Byatt has worked with the Asia-Pacific Branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and holds an MA in International Affairs specialising in environmental economics from Carleton University. He also holds a postgraduate diploma in mechanical engineering specialising in vehicle design from the Cranfield Institute of Technology in the UK and a BA in politics and economics from the Royal Military College of Canada. Byatt’s environmental experience both in Sharjah with Bee’ah and across the world should make for an interesting discussion.

In his role as chief technical officer at the Middle East Centre for Sustainable Development (MECSD), thom Bohlen and the staff of MECSD are currently working on more than 200 projects, covering more than 40 million square feet, helping developers through the sustainable development and certification process. Bohlen graduated in Architecture from the University of Illinois, USA, and began his career during the first energy crisis in the 1970s, long before the term ‘sustainability’ had yet been coined. Despite this, he was already practising organic architecture through the use of active and passive solar design, indigenous materials, climate driven building orientation and techniques that make effective use of daylight. Bohlen has been involved in the design and construction of more than 600 projects in the US and the Middle East. MECSD, one of the region’s largest independent sustainable development organisations, has more than 30 LEED-accredited professionals on its books.

Thom Bohlen, chief technical officer, Middle East Centre for Sustainable Development.

Top green building tips The Green Building Middle East conference will undoubtedly be full of useful tips and advice from the expert speakers featuring in the programme. To give you a head start we spoke to other sustainability experts who provided some construction tips of their own Quality assurance • Incorporate green thinking at the beginning of the design process, often options for green solutions can be added at no additional cost if done so early. • Ensure the construction management team, architects and commissioning agents hold contractors fully responsible for their contractual and quality requirements throughout the construction process. • Finally, the greenest building is the one already built, look into renovating as opposed to new construction. Steven Schoenknecht, construction manager, US shading Orientating the building so it is in the shadow of adjacent buildings can help minimise energy consumption. If the whole building energy simulation can demonstrate that there is a significant improvement as a result of the above, the design should qualify to obtain credits in the Energy & Atmosphere section of the LEED Rating system. The orientation of the building should have minimum or no additional impact in terms of cost incurred in the design. David Chua Kiat, planning manager, Al Habtoor — Murray & Roberts JV concrete slabs Replacing concrete in slabs with ‘Cobiax’ air-filled plastic void formers can reduce the CO2 contents linked to cement production. Research shows that one m³ of concrete saved by ‘Cobiax’ technology equals 210kg of CO2 savings. In buildings where Cobiax is used the cost balance is at least neutral, so the cost of the products are offset by the savings in concrete and associated savings due to the subsequent reduction in dead load (typically a concrete flat slab fitted with Cobiax is 25% to 30% lighter than a conventional solid slab). These associated savings include the reduction of rebar volumes for the slab and the reduction of the necessary foundation volume. In the Middle East, Cobiax is still a new product; however, it is currently being applied for one of the first times in the construction of the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi. Michael Stuecklin, business development director, Cobiax Technologies AG

Steven Schoenknecht recommends incorporating green building techniques at the design stage.

Concrete slabs can be replaced with air-filled plastic void formers to cut CO� emissions, says Michael Stuecklin.

on form It is critical to get the building envelope correct, after that everything is easier. Even though some say Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) are more costly, which I would disagree with, they will still give the biggest bang for your buck. Ron Ardres, technical representative, ReddiForm World Wide, Bahamas insulation decisions Some insulated concrete forms (ICFs) cost less than the bare concrete foundations without any insulation (the insulation is a required additional cost for bare concrete), and some ICFs are of comparable costs to a well-insulated home. They don’t quite compete with a 2x4 wall with minimal insulation. ICFs reduce energy consumption by as much as 60% compared to conventional home-building methods. Rick Hansen, owner, ICF Supply, US

Masdar City is the region’s leading example of green building techniques being put into practice.

March 2011

Instead of burning away money, Oracle Utilities’ Fischer says its time to save.


Smart billing Bastian Fischer, vice president and general manager EMEA at Oracle Utilities, talks about the evolution of green billing in the Middle East


region’s economic potential, so it stands to reason that the most forward-looking utilities go to great lengths to examine both local and global sources to ensure that the technology and software applications they put into place to run their utility businesses maximise efficiency. Middle Eastern demands While the Middle East continues to enjoy business success, there are many concerns regarding population growth and the impact it will have on the demand for energy. It is forecasted, for example, that UAE energy consumption will double by 2020. There is an urgent requirement for the Middle East to adopt smart technology, such as smart grids and smart metering, to improve the utilisation of its existing electrical infrastructure to meet demand, while being energy efficient.

It is believed that by introducing smart metering and smart grids, GCC utilities and governments could save US $5-10 million by 2020, which would also provide a financial incentive, alongside the environmental one. The Middle East is also a prime candidate for adopting smart technologies as about 97% of UAE electricity is already fuelled by carbonproducing natural gas and Abu Dhabi has announced that 7% of its energy will come from renewable sources by 2020. Smart technology enables utilities to effectively integrate renewable energies, such as wind, water and solar, into the grid to make full use of natural sources. The Middle East may have different socioeconomic and political issues to address when reviewing the needs to adopt smart technology, but the action it needs to take is the same as Europe and the Americas.

s managing the environmental effect of electricity use becomes increasingly challenging, utilities around the world are faced with the pressure of finding new ways to mitigate these issues. While countries across Europe and the Americas focus on reducing carbon emissions and increasing energy efficiency to meet governmental targets, the Middle East is in a slightly different situation as utilities have long been focused on the requirement to “keep cool”. Without water and the means to cool it to provide the air conditioning that keeps both people and equipment functioning at their peak, Middle Eastern businesses would not be able to function and continue to compete in today’s global business community. In the Middle East, the wise use of electricity and water underpin the entire


March 2011

some energy-saving tips are so obvious it makes you wonder why people have not already implemented them”

demand as many EVs recharge in specific areas, and analysing various methods to ensure level loads when this occurs. Utilities are also striving to keep abreast of the number and location of EVs via arrangements with local motor vehicle registries, and liaising with regulators, manufacturers and Cutting lighting costs is something all IT and utilities companies can implement. local governments regarding EV infrastructure and pilot programs for that consumers are aware of the cost on the commercial recharging stations. environment as well as monetary costs. An intelligent CIS system delivers additional robust green billing benefits, especially when supported by a Critically, reliable and efficient software is smart grid infrastructure. For instance, it can required to provide diagnostic and predictive enable better forecasting and management capabilities related to EV refuelling. It is of the energy demands placed on the grid recommended that utilities implement a through the increased roll-out of battery customer information system (CIS) with charging access points. Moreover, the CIS, Feeder Load Management functionality. or utility billing system, can play a key role This can address anticipated electricity flow in providing customers a clear view of the as the number of EVs increases as well as relationship between consumption and tackling scenarios in which EV batteries feed environment and help reduce energy-related electricity back into the distribution network. greenhouse gas production. Additionally, the solution is able to provide To achieve this, the CIS must be robust optimisation capabilities that can determine and flexible and able to handle, among other the best mix of energy resources required to things, carbon footprint analysis. handle changing voltage requirements within CIS must show customers graphically, certain areas. through web portals for example, the An important point for utilities to consider relationship between greenhouse gas is how to accurately bill the energy usage emissions, their personal choice of supply, at recharging stations, either commercial or and, if appropriate, their time of use. This residential. Billing is of growing importance for information will enable and empower environmentally aware customers in addition the consumer to take a step towards to being a mission critical operation for utilities. understanding and reducing their carbon By combining environmental and financial footprint, as well as enabling them to choose information, “green billing” helps customers an energy supplier based on environmental understand the long-term environmental impact, or alter their energy usage in order to effects of their personal energy use. Green reduce their bills. billing is an integral part of the increase of Additionally, billing systems will need to EVs on the road as, in order to contribute be flexible and responsive to rates that to the drive for emission reduction, it is vital vary frequently, as some studies suggest


charging electric transport There is an increasing uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) to help reduce carbon emissions and provide a sustainable method of transport. In general, vehicles powered by coal-generated electricity have fewer total fuel-associated air emissions than petroleumpowered vehicles, and emissions can drop to zero when electricity comes from nuclear or some renewable sources. Analysts are predicting that EVs will make up more than 5-8% of automobile sales by 2020 and 15-20% by 2030. Even though Gulf countries are oil rich, car manufacturers such as Nissan and Renault believe that with the support of governments in the Middle East, EVs can be successful in this region too. As the population grows, there will be more cars on the road, resulting in an increase in fuel-associated air emissions. The adoption of EVs would prevent this happening, especially as the Middle East makes the most of its renewable energy sources. Utilities will have the opportunity and the challenge to fuel these vehicles, and they will need to make plans to accommodate the associated increases in demand for energy. The increasing use of EVs will put increased loads on smart grids, as large volumes of electricity will need to be directed to charging points and outages must be prevented. Experts believe that utilities will need to be heavily involved in recharging because the costs and risks for EV-related businesses, such as recharger sales and installation services, may be too high and require public support, which could result in regulatory mandates on utilities to sell and install rechargers — at least until demand reaches a commercial level. They also consider recharging the “sale” of electricity. If that is the case, then regulated utilities might be required to own commercial recharging stations. However, others believe that recharging will be declared a service powered by electricity and equipment will be sold through auto dealers or through hardware or home improvement stores and installed by licensed electricians. Whichever way recharging is handled, it will put enormous pressure on the energy grid to ensure that recharging stations are prepared to handle fluctuating demand at peak times. Some utilities are preparing for increased EV use by calculating the probable effect of various levels of EV ownership on distribution infrastructure, in order to determine and safeguard against an influx of


March 2011


that varying flat rates monthly rather than annually, or bi-annually, can substantially reduce peak demand. This cost incentive will result in consumers using energy at off peak times to gain better rates and may also prevent excessive usage. Similarly, time-of-use pricing encourages customers to shift optional electricity use to off-peak hours and historic usage graphs will allow customers to track their progress over time. Also, in order to limit overall consumption, prepaid metering can be deployed for customers who can then determine their own consumption limits. In order to implement incentives and perform regulatormandated rebates, CIS must analyse bills before and after the installation of energy efficient equipment in order to assess usage and ensure payment, in the form of rebates, is only provided to consumers who meet the minimum expectation of reduced electricity use. Another step taken in some regions to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions is the introduction of interval billing. Although roll-out across Europe and the Middle East

conservation options by enabling further programmes such as demand response, which increases the price of electricity during peak periods to encourage conservation and appliance time-shifting. However, few if any utilities can accommodate universal interval billing with the IT systems currently in place, and many are likely to find themselves overwhelmed by the onslaught of terabytes of new data that will ultimately follow. Therefore, the systems implemented by utilities will also need to be able to cope with feed-in billing for renewable energy, which encourages energy suppliers to make regular payments to householders and communities that generate their own electricity from renewable or low carbon sources such as solar electricity panels or wind turbines. The scheme guarantees a minimum payment for all electricity generated by these methods, as well

Smart metering is replacing more traditional methods of metering.

Utilities companies can make a difference to the environment says Fischer.


smart, data-ready technology These strategic steps represent an array of relatively small changes likely to be required as regulators, utilities and customers move forward with programmes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Each programme alone, and eventually in combination, will put enormous pressure on existing IT infrastructure within utilities as well as create great demand for the energy grid. Oracle’s Smart Grid solution as a whole provides robust architecture and data handling capabilities, necessary to deal with the addition of this new and data-

hasn’t happened yet, it is currently being addressed in North America. Interval billing helps utilities and consumers manage high bills, as it delivers graphs of interval bills which readily reveal patterns of use so utilities can help customers identify sub-optimal electricity use and adopt conservation alternatives, as well as detect anomalies and expose attempts at theft by detecting unusual consumption patterns for households. Interval billing also enlarges the scope of

as a separate payment for the electricity exported to grid, on top of overall the savings made by using the electricity generated on-site. Feed-in tariffs are designed so that the average monthly income from a renewable energy installation will be significantly greater than any monthly loan repayments for installing the technology. The scheme can be used as a bargaining tool to encourage businesses to use new methods for power generation and invest in green initiatives.

heavy market opportunity. A number of the individual applications within that solution, including customer care and billing, Siebel CRM, meter data management, rate management, complex event processing, and load analysis, among other, handle tasks like program development, marketing, processing, and evaluation in addition to the rigorous complex billing and metering processes vital to success. Only once the systems and processes are in place can green billing become part of a utility’s larger role – without a solid foundation in technology the utility will struggle to meet all the requirements of the overall aim to monitor and control energy use. Once this is addressed, utilities can begin contributing to community interests while meeting customer satisfaction goals. It is clear to utilities that half-hearted “education” programmes have little if any permanent effect on consumer and commercial consumption. To make a difference, utilities must illustrate significant financial savings and provide incentives to customers as well as weave the conservation mission into fundamental business processes, especially when it comes to billing.


March 2011

Green gadgets Geeky but green — here are some of the gadgets that grabbed BuildGreen’s attention last month


Requiring no bulbs or batteries and featuring a high DB siren, the eco siren Touch from The Glow Company is suitable for emergencies, camping trips, sporting events and more. The dynamo-powered mechanics of this torch means all the user needs to do is turn the crank for a short period of time to generate power. It features highluminance lighting capabilities and the DB siren can generate up to 100 DB.

The ecologic 6 is a compact DAB/FM RDS digital clock radio that consumes a low level of power and features a dual-mode dimmer backlight. An analogue clock on the front provides the radio with a traditional look, while the product retains modern


Created by industrial designer Edita Barabas the sunflower lunchbox concept will allow diners to lunch at the desired temperature without using energy-hungry equipment. It features a set of four petal-shaped solar panels that can be collapsed down when not in use, and which capture the sun

functions controlled by an easy-to-navigate menu. It boosts 20 station presets, four alarms, an MP3 connection, and adjustable sleep and snooze timers.

and produce electricity that can be stored in a ready-to-use battery. The lunchbox is comprised of three food compartments and a compartment for a flask for liquids; each compartment can be set to a different temperature.

For all our tomorrows...

In the products we bring to you, all bear a constant work ethic: “Recycle, Reduce and Reuse�. We have lived by these values for the last 35 years in the region - and will do so for many more... From our reusable linen towels, to our recycled paper, to our 99% biodegradable cleaning products, to harnessing solar energy for waste disposal - and so much more... For today... and tomorrow

...going greener

The big

March 2011


Coal protest ship sails into The Big Apple


he Greenpeace ship MY Arctic Sunrise sailed into New York last month as part of the organisation’s Coal Free Future Tour. Displaying a banner reading “Still Yearning to Breathe Free — Quit Coal”, the ship passed in front of the city’s iconic Statue of Liberty. The tour travelled up the east coast of the US in January and February, demanding liberty from coal.

© Michael Nagle/Greenpeace

Geneva to witness EV launches

Swiss car show to be launch pad for two global car giants


Carmakers Rolls-Royce and Toyota plan to use this month’s Geneva Motor Show to unveil fully electric versions of their vehicles. Toyota’s super-compact, fourseater iQ vehicle will have a modest range of 65 miles, but a compact lithium-ion battery sandwiched beneath the floor. The firm says it expects the EV version of the car will be available through a leasing programme in parts of Europe from next year. Meanwhile, the first EV-powered Rolls-Royce car will be unveiled. After Geneva, the one-off fully electric-powered Phantom 102EX

will go on a global tour taking in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America, according to the UK-based company Goodwood. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos commented: “We have engineered the world’s first battery electric vehicle for the ultra-luxury segment. “With this vehicle, we begin an exploration into alternative drivetrains, seeking clarity on which alternative technologies may be suitable to drive Rolls-Royce motor cars of the future.” The Geneva Motor Show starts this month on March 1.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom is to receive an EV upgrade.

March 2011

News update Dubai’s five-star hotels wasting millions of dollars Lack of energy and water saving initiatives by five-star hotels within the emirate costing millions, claims event director organisations, and the hotel sector is no different,” commented Maurell. “The environment is now a business issue and because of increasing demand, sustainable hotels need to differentiate themselves from the ‘unenlightened’.” The growth in ‘greener’ travel demands has been reflected in the growing number of exhibitors offering environmental solutions at The Hotel Show 2011, claimed Maurell. The event takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from May 17-19.

The Hotel Show‘s Frederique Maurell.

Hotel electricity costs double in three years Rising bills costing those who failed to implement energy-saving initiatives, claims FM expert consumption or waste after the first slab tariff increase in March 2008, will have electricity bills that in some cases will have soared by an additional AED 1.1 million (US $299,500) during the past 12 months.” At the beginning of this year DEWA increased electricity charges from 20 fils per kilowatt (KWh) to 23 fils for monthly consumption below 2000 KWh, and from 33 fils to 38 fils per KWh for consumption of more than 6000 KWh per month. A Farnek Avireal survey based on actual buildings demonstrated that one Dubaibased hotel of around 20,000 square metres, which had annual energy costs of AED 1.5 million ($408,374) will now be paying over AED 3 million ($816,000) in 2011.

Dubai’s hotels will see major energy cost rises.

Commercial and industrial businesses, such as hotels, will have been shocked last month when they received their electricity bills, according to Farnek Avireal general manager Markus Oberlin. According to a survey by the FM company, hotel operators who failed to take any energysaving measures will calculate their bills have now roughly doubled. A tariff structure or slab system was introduced on March 1, 2008, by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) with the aim of encouraging consumers to conserve energy. DEWA increased the tariff on January 1, 2011, due to escalating gas and oil prices. Oberlin remarked: “Consumers, particularly commercial, that did nothing to arrest


Dubai’s luxury hotels are wasting up to US $27 million annually in utility bills by ignoring carbon management initiatives and implementing initiatives to reduce electricity and water bills, according to The Hotel Show exhibition director Frederique Maurell. Maurell added that the figure is set to rise with increased DEWA tariffs for 2011. “If each hotel averaged 200 rooms, reduced energy consumption could save around $5.50 per room-night, per hotel, or $27 million collectively, not to mention 400,000 tonnes of carbon emissions that would be saved,” said Maurell. “In total there are approximately 67,369 hotel rooms and hotel apartments in Dubai, imagine the dramatic effect if all of Dubai’s hotels signed up to reduce their carbon emissions,” she added. According to a study by Travel Weekly, 50% of prospective hotel guests said they were prepared to pay 10% more to stay in sustainable hotels, while 66% expressed serious doubts about environmental claims posted on hotel websites. “The environmental dimension is part of the strategic vision of the best run


March 2011

Calculations of a Kiwi

With an assortment of natural travel offerings, New Zealand’s tourism industry is fast adopting the sustainable mantra. Former chief executive of the New Zealand Tourism Board, George Hickton, speaks to BuildGreen about his experiences of the growing market for sustainable tourism, both in his homeland and here in the Middle East


Tourism industry expert George Hickton questions the conservation message presented to travellers who encounter Dubai’s The World development.

start thinking about green tourism you start to question how it is all going to fit together. With all your experience within the industry, when did you first notice the conservation movement marking its influence? In the last five years it has become an important part of the industry. When we started the whole branding development of the ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ campaign, I felt pretty confidently that it was the way the sector had to go, because it was essentially what we offered; we were a landscape, nature-based organisation. At that stage, however, there was little pressure to do it from an international point of view.

We realised that we needed to add a little bit more to the foundations of the campaign and we spent some time looking at the things that would underpin this statement. The promise we made was more an experiential one, and we had to convert that message to an environmental one. At first we were saying “we’re ‘100% Pure New Zealand’, come and enjoy it, and we were able to use that for cultural things like the famous haka (the traditional dance of New Zealand’s Maori population), and we could position the statement wherever we saw fit. But when the climate change issue became much more prevalent we looked at what we were doing to support the

What are your first impressions of the Middle East’s attempts to adopt sustainable tourism? The market in this region is incredibly dynamic and it seems its vision for the future has a strong focus on development, but this focus is very much on modifying the landscape. I actually went out to The World development in Dubai and I was just astonished with what I saw; but while my reaction was that while there was clearly a massive vision behind it and a lot of expectation, I wondered if it could work. To me it didn’t have a very strong conservation perspective, and when you


March 2011

head off in a different direction, everyone will start to get confused and it will no longer make sense.

The serene beauty of New Zealand is a world away from the man-made islands and glitzy resorts of the Middle East.


environmental movement. In the last five years we have had to look much more closely at that and had to start building practices that looked at all of the elements of conservation and sustainability.


what was the next stage of this process? We looked how we would provide some sort of accreditation or a set of standards for the industry, and when we looked at what was available it was an absolutely mess — one of the worst things about this movement is that it has been captured by so many different logos, names and organisations. It means the customer can never find their way through it as there isn’t a simple system for them to follow.

one of the worst things about this movement is that it has been captured by so many different logos, names and organisations”

We decided to take an already-inexistence quality checking programme and gradually put a step programme in place. We used a system that rated hotels, which looked at safety and adventure activities, and added to that an environmental step programme, broken down into just bronze, silver and gold levels. To start with most people were quite concerned because there was a fear that they wouldn’t meet all the standards, so we found that people had a certain sense of relief when they could get on the first step. After they had taken the first step it became part of their business operation and they’ve been able to go further. can the environmental message in the tourism sector be maintained? The New Zealand message is worth hearing and part of that message, which I push very hard, is that this is a long journey. There is constant change in the marketing direction of many tourism organisations, which confuses customers and doesn’t give the industry anything to build a brand behind. My hope is that more and more countries will see the value of marketing national tourism on what they are going to stand for and what they are good at. If you do that you can start to build on all this environmental activity. If you suddenly

abu dhabi has been very active in introducing green regulations for the hotel sector; how can the emirate ensure these regulations have a lasting effect? If Abu Dhabi is introducing a single system then that’s great, but the next thing is to make sure that customers are aware of it. Marketing is the key to this as very few people will make themselves fully aware of what those sorts of checks and balances exist within the country they travel to. In New Zealand, once we started getting operators that were meeting the standard, we found that the international tourism operators were keen to utilise them, so they clearly saw a real advantage. People were coming to them looking for a hotel or resort with high standards in environment protection, so there really is a cash benefit for the industry. is there money in eco-tourism? To say that there is no money is wrong, but in the long term it is the only sort of tourism you can afford to offer — so yes, there will be money in it, I have no doubts about that. At the moment we’re witnessing examples of people who have benefitted because of their environmental commitments, but someone not involved in the movement at the moment will still make money. I don’t think, however, that there is a future without it. If you want a future that’s healthy then you need to adopt good working practices, long-term consistency and good marketing practices so that the customer understands what you are offering.

About... In 1999 George Hickton was appointed Chief Executive on the New Zealand Tourism Board, where his role was to develop and launch a global marketing strategy. Hickton repositioned the organisation as Tourism New Zealand and launched the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign. During his time in charge of the organisation, New Zealand’s tourism industry grew by 50% and is today the country’s largest single export industries.

March 2011

Investment update


...Philips makes sustainable investment...Biofuel firm finds major funds...US renewable energy sector facing cuts... Philips to give ‘green’ investment a major boost

uK deputy PM takes bank reins

Budget cuts for renewable energy in us

Royal Philips Electronics is to double its ‘green’ investment in a move designed to accelerate sustainable business across the company’s three sectors. The firm announced it would allocate 2 billion euros (US $2.7 billion) for investments in green innovation by 2015, after cumulative investments in 2010 amounted to 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion). Philips Sustainability Board chairman and CEO of Philips Lighting, Rudy Provoost, said: “We consider sustainability to be a driver of growth and an integral part of the Philips’ DNA. “By doubling our investment in green innovation by 2015, we reconfirm our ambition as a health and well-being company to deliver meaningful and sustainable solutions.” Philips claimed 38% of its total 2010 sales were generated by its green products line, representing a rise from 31% in 2009.

UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has become the main force behind a green investment bank, according to the Financial Times. While the country’s coalition government has struggled in its attempts to get the entity functioning since its election to power last year, Clegg has taken the lead by chairing meetings on the project, after different governments entities could not agree on how the entity will function. Clegg’s Liberal Democrats currently hold the top position within the UK’s environment ministry, with Chris Huhne currently in charge of the department.

US Republicans on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee look set to cut renewable energy spending, as well as research in the oil and gas fields, in its fiscal 2012 budget request. The committee’s senior Republican, Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski, said a 12% spending increase for the Department of Energy would be inappropriate when the current deficit spending concerns were taken into consideration. Murkowski said: “To rein in federal spending, we will need to look at every programme, at every agency, and the Department of Energy is no exception. “I share the desire to promote clean energy technologies, but given the urgent need to make tough budget decisions, we need to draw a distinction between the programmes we want to fund and the programmes we need to fund. “I am not entirely convinced this budget request will move us in that direction,” she remarked. President Barack Obama has previously pledged to ramp up spending and boost funding for clean energy initiatives.

Jet fuel firm receives major funding facility boost


A supply chain integrator in renewable jet fuel has received a major financial boost enabling it to expand on its numerous flora project. BioJet International received a three-year US $1.2 billion funding facility from Cayman Islands-based Equity Partners Fund SPC. The funding agreement will allow BioJet a major source of capital for its supply chain capital projects programme, including feedstock and refining projects, as well as investment and strategic acquisitions. BioJet chairman Mitch Hawkins said: “This funding agreement with Equity Partners will form the cornerstone of BioJet capital projects and accretive EBIDTA positive acquisitions over the next five years. “It enables a clear path to the expansion of our camelina, jatropha and algae feedstock projects, as well as our Avia renewable jet refining projects in Latin America, Asia, and Europe. “We will also be seeking acquisitions of listed companies which can add value geographically and strategically,” he added.

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Levant renewable energy markets – business roundup Famous as the cradle of human civilisation, the historically significant Levant region comprises a patchwork of countries and cultures and an innovative population. Abu Dhabi-based Marc Fèvre, energy and infrastructure counsel at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, provides his view on how the renewable energy market within each of the region’s countries is developing, the projects to keep an out for and the potential areas investors should be aware of


Jordan In the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Kamshah and Fujeij wind farm projects are currently under development, having been procured by the government with development bank assistance. These projects include long-term offtake arrangements. Additional wind farms are under consideration at three sites: Al-Harir, Wadi Araba and Ma’an, though no development process has yet been launched. Following the Renewable Energy Law 2010, a number of developers have made proposals to the government for solar power projects, including both photovoltaic and concentrated solar projects, particularly in the Ma’an region. Jordan is cash constrained and although the legal framework is supportive of renewable energy developments,

Syria The renewable energy sector is at a very early stage in Syria. The government has a stated objective of developing 2500MW of wind power by 2030 and two initial projects have been announced at Al Sukhna and Al Hijana, which will be developed on an IPP basis and will consist of 50MW to 100MW each. The country has limited experience of private investment in the energy sector and early projects are likely to be as much an education process on the government side as on the private sector side.


The sector is at a very early stage in Lebanon, though there are currently a number of hydroelectric plants in operation. The country’s government has an objective for 12% of electricity to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2020, though this may not be achievable unless projects are implemented rapidly in the next few years. The country has limited experience of private investment in the energy sector and early projects are likely to be as much an education process on the government side


Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer counsel – energy and infrastructure Marc Fèvre has vast experience covering energy markets in the Middle East and Europe. His past experience includes advising leading companies such as Siemens AG and E.On on aspects of their partnerships with Masdar. He has also worked as an advisor on a solar thermal power project in Jordan and with private equity investors in the UK and European renewable energy markets.

limited financial support is available other than certain tax exemptions. Accordingly, private developers may find it difficult to raise financing for independent projects when compared to government-led projects. No private sector-led projects have yet been developed. Private sector investment is encouraged and the Renewable Energy Law 2010 provides a structure for the development of renewable energy projects, including identifying sites for development, requiring the National Electric Power Company to buy the renewable energy produced and pay the cost of grid connection, establishing the legal framework for net metering and putting in place a Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fund. The private sector is able to put unsolicited proposals to the government and negotiate the tariff and additional support arrangements.

There are also no existing renewable energy projects and very limited accurate data is available on wind and solar conditions. There is currently no renewable energy market. Cautious steps, however, are being made towards reforming the country’s electricity market and allowing private sector participation. In particular, the conventional Al Nasserieh IPP is currently under procurement and will serve as valuable experience for both the government and the private sector. The government is also looking to develop public private partnerships (PPPs) more generally and is expected to issue a PPP law in 2011.

as on the private sector side. There are also no existing renewable energy projects and very limited accurate data is available on wind and solar conditions. Lebanon is also considered to be a relatively risky jurisdiction by many investors. Despite this, there are strong drivers behind the development of renewable energy in Lebanon, namely an absence of fossil fuel reserves and growing demand for power. Unlike most of the region, there is scope for further development of hydroelectric power. The environmental conditions for the development of solar and wind power are also good, though limited accurate data is available.

Palestinian Territories A number of small scale projects are under development, including geothermal projects developed by a Palestinian company. Private sector proposals have also been made to establish a fund for the development of infrastructure projects, including renewable energy. The Palestinian territories are subject to a unique set of geopolitical circumstances, which may affect the stability of the investment environment. Government is also split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Any large scale project in the foreseeable future is likely to be development aid driven, but there are strong drivers for development of the sector and the environmental conditions for solar power are favourable. The Palestinian territories have almost no natural resources and most electricity is imported. There is substantial existing experience with small scale use of renewable energy, particularly solar water heating, which is used by more than 60% of households.

March March 2011 2011

Cyprus Most existing renewable energy in Cyprus is on a small scale, such as solar water heating, which is used in more than 90% of households. The Orites wind farm is the first large-scale renewable energy project developed in the Republic of Cyprus. The first 84MW phase is partly operational and further phases are under development, which will eventually total almost 150MW of capacity. There are a number of planned projects in the solar sector in both parts of Cyprus, including solar desalination projects. Cyprus is divided between the Republic of Cyprus, which is a member of the European Union, and northern Cyprus, which has strong links with Turkey and

is not recognised as an independent state by most countries. The investment environments in the different parts of the island are significantly different. There are strong drivers for the development of renewable energy across both parts of Cyprus. This is fuelled by the fact that the island has no fossil fuel resources and good solar power resources. The Republic of Cyprus is subject to European Union renewable energy initiatives and has a target of producing 13% of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020. A renewable energy support framework is in place in the Republic of Cyprus and includes feed-in tariffs for most sources of renewable energy as well as grants to cover a portion of capital costs.



projects. There is currently no legal or regulatory framework to support development of the sector on a stand-alone or long-term basis. There is currently no renewable energy market, but Iraq is trying to attract private sector investment in the power sector more generally. Though there is no legal framework for private power projects, the government has launched tenders for four IPPs: Samawa, Diwaniya, Amara and Shat al-Basrah. These tenders will benefit from negotiated power purchase arrangements that could serve as a model for future renewable energy projects.

No large-scale renewable energy projects have been announced in Iraq, however there is substantial potential for off-grid applications across the country in the near future. In 2010, Iraq and the European Union signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the energy sector, including the development of renewable energy. Iraq remains politically unstable and is considered a high-risk jurisdiction by many investors, including the typical investor pool for renewable energy


The green spy SOCIETY

March 2011

this month our intrepid spy looks at the case of refrigerants and ponders whether local enforcement of the Montreal Protocol is a hoax

efrigerants — not a very sexy product; it does gets sexier, however, when you start thinking about where and why they are used, and who gives a damn. Refrigerants are used in anything that provides cooling from air conditioning to refrigeration to deep freezing. They can also be used for heating, which is basically air conditioner in reverse, but it is obviously not common in this region except in use for swimming pools in the winter months. The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer) is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. So how does that relate to refrigerants? As of September 16, 2009, all countries in the United Nations, the Cook Islands, the Holy See, Niue and the supranational European Union have ratified the original Montreal Protocol. This means, those countries have the mandate to regulate ozone depleting chemicals by implementing stringent punishment for non-compliance. How they do that, whether they do that or to what extent they do it is still in the grey area in many countries. What then is the deal with refrigerants? As refrigerant goes continuously through the compressor, in a looped circuit, it picks up specks of oil. It can also pick up moisture, which can enter the system during charging, as well as carbon from compressor burnouts and failures, and specks of dirt and debris that enter the system. All of the above reduce the ability of ‘pure refrigerant’ to do its job to the highest degree. Some refrigerants are of poor quality or purity, due to poor-quality manufacturers; clearly, pure refrigerant does the best job by providing the most cooling. As such, it uses less energy to get the job done, which is surely music for the ears of every capitalist and environmentalist. Does the environment care? Alas, even nowadays, in the second decade of the 21st century, many companies, especially in the Developing World — parts of which are in this region — vent refrigerant gas instead of vacuuming the system. Why? Because it is easier and often faster; you can open up 12 split units and vent the gas, or vacuum them one at a time. Unfortunately, the most common refrigerant gasses in the UAE — R-12 and R-22 — severely deplete the ozone layer; R-134a does not harm the ozone layer, contributing instead towards global warming. Now, R-11, R-12 and R-22 are old school and are banned in nearly every First World country. Not here. Not yet. What is the solution? It’s actually quite simple. In most cases refrigerant can be reclaimed back to its virgin state and the benefits of reclaim are quite straight-forward; it can be cost effective, it can lower carbon footprints and it can be used as part of corporate best practice. Remember, it is actually illegal to vent refrigerants; but who cares when regional enforcement is currently close to zero? Again, it is another issue that makes me wonder what we are waiting for.


Until the next time...

The Green Spy


March 2011

Council convergence Experts across the UAE’s construction industry come together for last month’s Emirates Green Building Council networking event


ustainability experts, industry leaders and building contractors looking to learn more about the growing market for sustainable products and services, got together for an Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC) networking event that took place last month at The Address Hotel, Dubai Mall. Open to members and non-members, the event attracted people from industries across UAE, and provided a great opportunity for networking. The evening’s key speaker, Richard Reynolds, told the audience: “Sustainable building is a dynamic market. It does not stay still with new products and new technologies coming to the market all the time. “Some of it is good, but some of it could still be classed as greenwashing,” he warned. The EGBC is one of the more active green building organisations in the Middle East, and has hosted a plethora of networking events since its inauguration in 2006.

EGBC chairman Adnan Sharafi welcomes networkers to the event.

in full ard Reynolds Masdar’s Rich n. s presentatio flow during hi


s make isagie V s e Hann nce. co’s udie Kimm t to the a oin his p

The audience sit in silence during a presentation at the event.

March 2011


Construction professionals from across the UAE came in large numbers to the EGBC’s networking evening last month.

Attendee s listen in tently as the prese ntation ta kes place . Daniel Thompson from Fermacell chats with fellow industry professionals.

Samir Sidd iqui from Ty co Fire an asks a que d Safety stion follo wing the p resentatio n.


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March 2011

March 1-3

Renewable Energy World Conference and Expo — North America March 8-10


Tampa Convention Centre, Florida

ExCeL London United Kingdom

Covering the future of construction, design and the built environment, Ecobuild will bring together the latest developments, new products and networking opportunities under one roof

USA Alternative Energy Investors Summit March 16-17

Sharq Village Hotel and Spa, Doha Qatar

Gulf Environment Forum March 6-8

Water Innovation, Technology and Sustainability Conference March 17-19

Jeddah Hilton

São Paulo

Saudi Arabia


March 8-10

March 28-29

SmarTech @ WETEX 2011

Green Building Middle East

Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre


A series of presentations and panel sessions by top names from within the region’s construction industry on issues relating to sustainability - the conference forms part of the Arabian Construction Week exhibition programme

A dedicated B2B and B2C segment showcasing energy-efficient and ecofriendly technologies, held alongside WETEX 2011  a B2B exhibition on energy, water and technology


Find out what sustainability and environmental events are taking place and where in the coming months


Arabian Construction Week March 28-30

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre UAE International Conference on Environment Science and Engineering April 1-3

Bali Island Indonesia Middle East Waste Summit April 12-13

The Palladium Dubai UAE CityBuild Abu Dhabi April 17-20

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre UAE World Renewable Energy Congress May 8-13

Konsert and Kongress, Linköping Sweden

May 17-19 Sustainable Facilities Expo

Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre UAE

A first for the Middle East, the Sustainable Facilities Expo will bring together facilities management firms and their suppliers for the chance to showcase eco-friendly FM products and services



March 2011


A look at our sustainable heritage


s a flock of seagulls watch the world go by on the shores of Dubai Creek, traditional fishing boats sit docked ready for their next voyage. The vessels, sat in front of the ever-changing skyline of the city’s famous creek, lie in wait for their crews to clamber aboard. Traditional ways of fishing, which date back many centuries, are still popular among Middle Eastern fishermen, in spite of changing economic circumstances, seafaring technologies and continuing demands for popular local fish dishes.

While these ships are now more likely to use their petrol-powered engines while at sea, their masks and sails remain a visible reminder of days gone by. According to the conservation organisation EWS-WWF, however, the increasing popularity and high demand for seafood has placed mounting pressure on fish stocks in the UAE, resulting in a decline of around 80% in the last three decades. Hammour, a very popular fish in the UAE, has been overfished at close to seven times beyond its sustainable level, with a decline of 87-92% since 1978.

This EarTh hour, go bEyond ThE hour.

After turning off your lights for Earth Hour, what else can you do to make a difference? Together our actions add up.

SATURDAY 26 MARCH 8 : 30 - 9 : 30 P M

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Buildgreen Middle East  

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

Buildgreen Middle East  

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