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Issue 21 | MARCH 2012


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


MARCH 2012


25 News



News: The latest developments world wide


Really? The stories that are too good to be true


Crystal Clear: industrial and recreational cooling solutions


Carboun UAE National Coordinator Wissam Yassine sets the stage for a new series: Road to Doha


EPI Rankings explored

energy and water




Taylor Wessing Senior Associate Michael Kramer on solar tendering

Green Business

Advanced Global Trading Director of Special Projects Omar Al Jaddou on water scarcity


Middle East Electricity Exhibition

SmarTech Preview


The Future is now: The Zayed Future Energy Prize 2012


Ethical Investments: The London Array





ROUNDTABLE: Sustainable Architecture and Design Sustainable Interiors



Into the Woods

Green IT



Keeping Data Centres cool




Society Roundup


The Green Spy


Diary dates


Doha Port Project Architect Romi Sebastian on the missing cultural link

50 57 March 2012



Editor’s letter

Game on! B

Green is a game-changer; it’s as simple as that. For me, joining Team BGreen at the end of January was like venturing down an exceptionally green rabbit hole into a whole new world. Here, visionaries are given a voice, budding green businesses are given a fair chance, and government entities are given an analytical overview of where we stand as a region in the globally evolving green paradigm. In a few short weeks, I’ve grown to realise that being on Team BGreen entails more than just heading the Middle East’s only established green business magazine; it’s about being a team player, coach and referee all in one. As an unbiased stakeholder in the region’s green future, BGreen is frequently called on to host government-organised environment training workshops, and moderate panel discussions at global conferences, while facilitating in-house events like the Sustainable Architecture and Design Roundtable featured in this issue. As a microcosm of the sustainable world, the March issue most notably presents the human element behind the sustainable timber trade, the latest updates on the London Array project, and the Middle East’s rankings in the recently released World Environmental Performance Index. Suit up. Half-time’s over.

Praseeda Nair Editor

March 2012 Issue

Director Business Development Rhiannon Downie

Publisher Dominic De Sousa

Business Development Manager Samir Shulgami samirs@

Associate Publisher Liam Williams

Marketing and PR Executive Carole McCarthy

COO Nadeem Hood

Team Administrator Leila El Madalla

Editorial Director Melanie Mingas Editor Praseeda Nair Designer/Photographer Marlou Delaben Photographer Cris Mejorada

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

March 2012


News | UAE

Phase 3 of plastic bag ban in place The third phase of the non-biodegradable plastic bag ban is set to run until the end of 2012, aiming to educate the community about legislative process and laws that are soon to be enforced in the UAE. The Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) and the Ministry of Economy have decided to take action against plastic bag factories who fail to register with Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) and consider withdrawal of unregistered and non-compliant products. The initiative has been based on four main phases which would be simultaneously focused. These phases are as follows: PHASE 1: Increase public awareness about the initiative and the hazards of nonbiodegradable plastic bags. PHASE 2: Educate the public on the alternatives of non-biodegradable plastic bags. PHASE 3: Ensure that the legislative processes and laws regarding non-biodegradable plastic bags that are soon to be enforced become public knowledge. PHASE 4: The enforcement of the initiative’s relevant laws and regulations. Current figures stated by the Ministry state that the UAE population consumes 11 billion bags per year, of which 46.7 per cent are biodegradable products, and 53.3 per cent are non-biodegradable bags. Following the Ministry of Environment and Water’s decree banning the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags by the end of 2012, Minister of MOEW Dr. Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahad, ruled that manufacturers and suppliers of plastic bags were to register their biodegradable products in accordance with the Emirates Conformity Assessment System (ECAS). A list of requirements and conditions applicable in this regard and in accordance with the UAE standard specifications (5009:2009) has to be met by the manufacturers.

March 2012

23 hotels shortlisted for Dubai Green Tourism Award The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing’s (DTCM) pioneering initiative to encourage hospitality sector adopt environmentfriendly practices saw 104 hotels and hotel apartments applying for the second edition of Dubai Green Tourism Award. An eight-member judging panel of experts from the UAE Prime Minister’s Office, DTCM, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Emirates Environment Group (EEG) and the UAE University, has shortlisted 23 hotel establishments for the award programme. Eyad Ali Abdul Rahman, DTCM Executive Director Business Development and Media Relations and General Supervisor of the Dubai Green Tourism Award, said the significant increase in the number of applications reflects the keen interest of the key tourism industry players in sustainable tourism and their commitment towards maintaining international standards. Shaikha Al Mutawa, DTCM Director of Business Development and Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Dubai Green Tourism Award, said the selection process has been made multitiered in order to recognise the best practices and make the programme one of the best in the world. She said the competition has proved to be tough, especially in the five and four star hotel categories, going by the submissions received for award scheme since its inception. Launched in 2009, Dubai Green Tourism Award is aimed to reduce hotel carbon emissions by 20 per cent. The award submissions were extended to include twostar hotels and standard hotel apartments this year. Hotels and hotel apartments are assessed for a wide range of environmental, economic and social issues, including energy saving, nature conservation and community involvement.

Fish dead in scores off Dubai shores Thousands of dead fish found floating off the coast of Dubai this week has puzzled coastal authorities, causing them to escalate the investigation to the Ministry of Environment and Water, and Dubai Municipality. The authorities confirm that the death of half-mile-long stretch of fish was caused by banned fishing methods rather than any chemical pollution. Emirat Alyoum, an Arabic language daily based in the UAE, posted video footage of the 1 km-long stretch of dead fish off Boya Zahra, west of Dubai. Reports from officials state that the initial stages of investigation have found that Al Sadda fish, a type of Tuna, are the primary victims of this marine disaster. Officials suspect foul play–more specifically, banned fishing practices. The Ministry of Environment and Water state that the most probably cause for the incident falls on irresponsible fishing practices, where a large quantity of fish were caught and dumped when the suspects couldn’t transport the load. Under federal law protecting the UAE marine ecosystem, the fine for such an act is Dh50,000. While searching for the culprits and analysing the scope of the damage on marine life, cleaning up the coast is posing itself as a huge challenge due to the unstable weather Dubai has been experience of late. Unpredictable sandstorms and strong sea currents have made it hard to contain the trail of dead fish and many have reportedly been swept off the coast to outside the Arabian Gulf entirely.

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Pact between India and EU could have green ramifications EU and Indian leaders have reportedly taken a “significant step forward” in speeding up negotiations to reach a freetrade pact by the end of 2012, which could double trade between the two blocs. “The negotiations have progressed steadily and I am happy to report that we have made a significant step forward,” European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso said after an India-EU summit, held in New Delhi in February. India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said considerable progress had been made in resolving market disputes that have marred talks for over five years. “There are complex issues involved, but we have both agreed to expedite discussions,” Singh said after the talks. Cooperation agreements signed by both parties includes sharing statistics and securing energy supplies by developing renewable energy technologies, as well as improving the efficiency of power grids, buildings and appliances. The agreement will reportedly increase wattage, end chronic power cuts and reach 400 million people who still have no access to electricity, while simultaneously reducing fossil fuel emissions.

March 2012

Britain to urge green accounting at Rio+20 summit Britain plans to promote global accounting for natural capital as an additional way of measuring economic activity at the Rio+20 UN Sustainability conference in June. This suggests measuring the use or loss of natural resources like water, agriculture and forests to gauge economic activity, in addition the economic output of a country based on GDP. UK Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman addressed businesses and nongovernment organisations, announcing UK’s aims at the summit in June. “Green accounting would work for all countries. We believe you can really drive significant ‘greening’ if you take proper account of the value of natural capital in your government accounts,” Spelman said. Some countries have experimented with environmental accounting over the past 20 years, but there is no international consensus on a standardised method. “What nature provides for free is a cost to the economy if it is not there,” Spelman added, stressing the need to account for the opportunity cost of substituting gaps in natural resources within nations. The UK Government is poised to set up a Natural Capital Committee reporting to the Treasury to get the ball rolling ahead of Rio+20, that will record the country’s natural wealth such as wildlife, fresh water, and quality of air.

Rainforest Alliance to include spices in sustainability standard Following the 11th edition of the World Spice Congress, the Rainforest Alliance has been selected by the Sustainable Spices Initiative (SSI) to adapt the existing Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) standards to spice production. Founded by the Sustainable Trade Initiative and four leading players in the Dutch spice market, this major spice programme will aim to implement SAN standards to the production of 34 different types of culinary spices. Chris Wille, Head of Agriculture at the Rainforest Alliance said, “Through our network of local partners in the main producing countries, we will adapt and develop the standards to ensure the economic, social and environmental management of how spices are produced are sustainable.” The first phase of the project will focus on seven spices: pepper, chillies, ginger, turmeric, vanilla, clove and cassia. The four production countries for the first phase will include: Vietnam, India, Indonesia and Madagascar. Current practices in the production of spices are having an adverse effect on sustainability. Loss of biodiversity, the use of chemicals and pesticides, and poor labour conditions are all issues that will be addressed through the SAN standard.


News | REALLY?!

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

Grass sold separately It doesn’t get greener than using the natural photosynthesis cycle as a template when harnessing solar energy. Researchers project home solar kits using grass cuttings in the near future.


resent day solar cells are made of silicon wafers in a manufacturing process that falls in a grey area in terms of its carbon footprint. Researchers predict that in the near future, solar energy can be harnessed by the average consumer, equipped with a DIY kit of agricultural waste (read: grass clippings, leaves, et cetera) and a small bag of “stabilising powder.” A recent study released by MIT has found a way to chemically stabilise the structures inside plant cells that perform photosynthesis on a substrate that creates electric current when exposed to light. This new finding suggests the replacement of the layer of silicon in

March 2012

conventional photovoltaic cells with a more natural concoction of chemicals and plants to photosynthesise molecules. In theory, the complicated process of biophotovoltaics can then be massreplicated by anyone with the access to “stabilising powder” (cheap chemicals) along with a set of illustrated assembly instructions. All that needs to be selfsourced is green waste you can find in any garden, as well as a piece of metal or glass that can be used as a substrate. The end result of assembling this green waste, bag of chemicals, home-made substrate and a few wires is a functioning solar panel that can be hooked up to charge a battery or power a bulb.

MIT researcher Andreas Mershin speculates that people will be able to “take that bag [of stabilising powder], mix it with anything green, and paint it on the roof.” Granted these DIY solar panels have to increase their efficiency by tenfold to be of any actual use (from 0.1 per cent to the minimum requirement of 2 per cent), but this could happen in just a few years with help from other labs. “We wanted to lower the energy barrier for other labs to enter,” according to Mershin. This could mean cost-effective energy solutions for the eco-conscious in areas of abundant light like the Middle East.



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

Green Plus Deals Green penny pinchers can finally rejoice. Gone are the days when going green translated to a high premium. is the latest online coupon website to originate from the UAE, featuring cost-effective green products and services across industries. The website officially launched at the end of January, with a discounted deal on a green Business Training Workshop. Since then, has branched out to include sustainable desert safari tours, water ionisers and carbon-neutral skin care and other eco-friendly goods and services. “By Green we mean eco-friendly products and services which are healthier for you and better for the planet,” says the Director of the company, Mehdi Mourtada. “We have a few strategies in our pipeline that will further our green vision. First in the list will be to replace paper vouchers that need to be printed with SMS vouchers instead. “When we started building our business model, we anticipated that there are many cost/benefit factors that companies and individuals consider when making buying decisions. Environmental and social factors are most likely to be overlooked because of its high cost and lack of consumer awareness. This is where we want to come in and make a difference,” Mourtada adds.

March 2012

Launched in January, GreenPlusDeals. com already has a considerable following on social media. Kamstrup Utilities around the world are currently replacing conventional metering devices with smart meters that allow consumers to observe their behavioural patterns in relation to their spending to move towards using energy efficiently. Tapping into their extensive experience with battery design, Kamstrup’s smart metres only require 0.6 watts of power to function. In a year’s time the smart meter will only consume 5 kilowatts of electricity. “People are already aware that energy is an expensive resource, and if they are made aware of their consumption habits, they will automatically seek to adjust to a more energy savvy behaviour,” Jarmo J Heikkinen, General Manager - Meter Division, Heat, Cooling and Water of Kamstrup says. “European experience states that about 30 per cent energy savings can be achieved when using individual BTU metering for cooling energy if compared to bulk metering where cooling charge is included into the rent. There is a clear difference in the consumption pattern of energy and water in measured and nonmeasured apartments.”

In the UAE, where air-conditioning makes up the bulk of energy consumption, Kamstrup seeks to increase personal accountability among consumers and corporations in their energy usage habits. According to Heikkinen, 1°C in indoor temperature represents 5 per cent of the energy bill, which means that a tenant can actually save 10 per cent by increasing the indoor temperature from 20°C to just 22°C. “This very concrete economic benefit of individual metering allows consumers to keep a critical eye on their consumption as energy prices are in a steep rise,” he adds. Kamstrup also provides metering solutions to existing buildings through retrofitting. Carboun The latest regionally-focused sustainability platform, Carboun, is headed by Karim Elgendy, a UK-based architect with a strong interest in advocating sustainable practices and environmental conservation in the Middle East. With a committed focus on sustainable design and development, Carboun explores the built environment in the MENA region and ways in which resource allocation can be best meted. Carboun, a play on the Arabic pronunciation of the word carbon, reflects the initiative’s deep regional roots while calling to attention the duality of the very element that makes up our life form that has more recently been driving climate change. Directed by a steadfast group of volunteers, Carboun hopes to alert the world of the urgency of climate change, and what we can do as citizens to mitigate its effects for a greener future. BGreen’s expert panellist and regular contributor Wissam Yassine, currently heads the initiative in the UAE as the Carboun National Coordinatior. Find out more about at, and in the April issue of BGreen.

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“One of the major struggles the region is facing is the inability to recycle without modifying our day-to-day waste disposal routine”

Divide and rule BGreen shines light on WMS Steel Industries’ awardwinning solution to waste separation and recycling


ne of the major road blocks for governments considering green legislation to push the three Rs is shaking the public out of its stupor through behavioural modification. The proper separation of waste is imperative for the recycling process, which can become a hurdle when people are used to tossing their trash in one hassle-free heap. Enter WMS Metal Industries, a growing voice in waste management applications, who brought their unique ENVIRO-Waste Separator to the fore.

March 2012

WMS bagged the title of ‘Green Building Project of the Year’ at our annual The Big Project + BGreen Awards, with their work on the Princess Norah University dormitory in Saudi Arabia. “There are approximately 280,000 flats in Dubai alone, few of which have immediate access to recycling. We believe that one of the major struggles the region is facing in terms of recycling is the inability to recycle without modifying our day-to-day waste disposal routine,” says Mohamed Nassar, founder and Managing Director. The ENVIRO-Waste

Separator system can be installed on new buildings in the construction process or retrofit on existing buildings that are equipped with a garbage chute. According to Nassar, the separator has the potential to redefine recycling in the region, especially since the majority of the population in big cities across the Middle East reside in apartment buildings. “The ENVIRO-Waste Separator system was custom designed for this market,” he adds, explaining the science behind the innovation. Essentially, the ENVIRO- Waste Separator is a sorter that is installed at the discharge point of a normal refuse chute, directing the waste towards assigned and coded trolleys. Tenants still retain the responsibility to sort the type of refuse in a basic way before disposing them down the garbage chute. However, adjacent to the chute hopper door is a set of push buttons denoting the nature of the refuse. Once a button is pressed, the PLC-controlled separator head at the discharge point moves to facilitate the contents of the bag. The chute hopper is then unlocked and tenants can dispose of the bag down the chute, which will be directed to the corresponding receptacle at the collection bins below. This innovation cuts down time and effort in transporting separated waste to recycling collection points. The tenant’s usual routine of tossing garbage down a chute remains intact, which can be an added incentive for them to recycle. “The system can be programmed to dispose of glass, paper, metal and waste separately or just recyclables and nonrecyclables separately depending on the building’s needs,” says Nassar.

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Energy & Water

Tendering for Solar Projects Dr. Michael Krämer, Senior Associate at international law firm Taylor Wessing, discusses what to look out for when participating in public tenders in Dubai


n 9 January this year, Dubai’s Supreme Council of Energy (SCE) has launched the Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which aims to ultimately have a total capacity of 1 gigawatt upon

March 2012

completion in 2030. The first phase of the project will see the development of a 10 megawatt photovoltaic (PV) solar plant, which is supposed to generate electricity in early 2013. The first tenders for this project are expected to be issued very soon, which is reason enough to take a look at the legal side of tendering. Tendering by Dubai government authorities is governed by Dubai Law No. 6 of 1997 regarding Public Procurement (PPL). The PPL applies to the vast majority of contractual supply arrangements entered into by any Dubai governmental authority. The general concept of the tendering process is not much different from such in other jurisdictions, albeit some differences in the details. Tendering is open only to UAE nationals or companies with UAE participation, be it by way of such entities being majorityowned by one or more UAE citizens, or by having employed a UAE national

service agent. Companies established outside of the UAE or within one of the many free zones are invited to participate only if, as Article 13 PPL puts it, the tendering governmental department is in “dire need” of certain supplies or services that cannot be obtained from locally established entities. Both the tender documentation and its publication in at least two daily newspapers must follow certain requirements that are set out in the PPL. Submission of documents, pricing information and the provision of a bank guarantee is also dealt with in detail, as is, of course, the selection process. The tendering process can be subdivided into two main phases, each of which provides its own legal challenges. Selection Phase The first phase, which I would like to call the selection phase, commences once the tender has been published and interested

Energy & Water

“it is important FOR bidders to be fully aware of any risks they are taking both during the selection phase and later the award phase”

bidders approach the relevant government entity with the request to receive the tender documentation. The tender documentation usually includes “Instructions to Tenderers” or “Conditions of Tendering”, which set out the rules that apply to all parties during the tender process. It is crucial, particularly for bidders, to fully understand, and comply with these conditions in order not to see their bid disqualified in the process. It is to be expected that the conditions will favour the tendering authority, for example by allowing the authority to unilaterally vary the procedure and timing of the tendering process or to suspend or even cancel the tendering process at any time. It is crucial for bidders to fully understand the legal implications of such conditions, since participation in a public tender comes at a cost of its own which needs to be factored into the final bid. Hence, it is important for bidders to be fully aware of any risks they are taking both during the selection phase and later the award phase. The selection phase is also the phase during which further clarification on the specific requirements of the tender should be sought. Clarification should be sought in relation to all matters that are likely to have an impact on matters such as pricing, delivery times, warranties, quantities and qualities of products to be supplied, and also alternative products that would

potentially be considered acceptable by the tendering authority. Often bidders are required to assume the risk of any errors on their part in interpreting the information given in the tender documents and in pricing their bids. It is therefore of utmost importance that bidders ensure that they clearly and accurately record the assumptions and interpretations which they have adopted in pricing or formulating their bids. Such assumptions and interpretations should be discussed with the tendering authority. The tendering authority is required to treat all bidders equally, so it must ensure that all information that it provides to one bidder is provided to all other bidders as well in a timely manner. Bidders will ultimately prepare their bids based on the initial tender documentation and further information disseminated during the selection phase, so apart from commercial consideration, legal guidance is of utmost importance during the selection phase. Award Phase The award phase begins once the tendering authority has decided which bid to take forward by issuing its formal acceptance. Such notice of acceptance is usually followed by the successful bidder paying a performance bond, and the negotiation of the supply arrangement. The negotiation must follow certain rules as well. For example, the scope of

the supply agreement should be in line with the scope of the successful bid. It is noteworthy in this respect that the PPL grants the authority the right to make changes to its initial tender within certain limits. Quantities, for example, can be changed by up to 30 per cent without the bidder being allowed to make any changes to the offered price. This is something that any successful bidder should be aware of. The price quoted, for example, for PV panels will be different if the quote is based on panels with a total capacity of 10 megawatts as opposed to 7 megawatts. Further items can be added to the scope of the agreement as well, although such additions are subject to agreement between the parties. Bearing the above in mind, it is imperative to be very clear on what is supposed to be supplied, within which time frame and at what cost. The issue with most projects of a certain size is that things change over time. A project is usually planned with certain specifications in mind. These specifications are quite likely to change due to, for example, new and more advanced products coming to the market (i.e.: PV panels with a higher capacity or better resistance against local weather conditions), or a change in external factors, such as a change in government policy or electricity demands. It is hardly possible to take all potential future changes into account when negotiating any agreement, but it is possible to do so at least up until a certain degree. Hence, employing legal assistance during the tendering process is money well spent. Contact Dr. Michael Krämer at

March 2012



Energy & Water | COMMENT

A thirsty future Omar Al Jaddou, Director of Special Projects at Advanced Global Trading, examines the water scarcity issue in the UAE


hile some dream of a rosy future for the Middle East, the more pragmatic see a future devoid of roses or any naturally unsustainable vegetation for that matter, too costly a use for an increasingly precious commodity - water. His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, recently identified water as a key issue, announcing the first International Water Summit to be held in Abu Dhabi alongside the World Future Energy Summit in 2013. A significant milestone in the process of re-engineering traditionally accepted social values and expectations related to water consumption, he indicated that water “is more important than oil in the United Arab Emirates”. The looming water crisis in the GCC is based on a myriad of factors. Analysts predict the GCC’s population will

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit: GCC in 2020 - Resources for the Future

GCC Countries

increase to 53 million by the year 2020, with inward net migration driven by economic diversification, growth and the GCC’s spot among the world’s highest per capita consumption of water. At around 550 litres of water per person per day, the average resident of the GCC consumes around four times more than a European, leading one to question where does all this water come from and at what cost? In 2002, the GCC desalinated 2,676 million cubic metres of fresh water, forming the bulk of the water consumed in the region, with the rest being made up of ground water as well as recycled waste water. Some areas of the GCC have significant underground reservoirs, however these are not immune to continual depletion and erosion from increased consumption or the intrusion of sea water. Scientists have pointed out significant flaws in the reliance on desalination. The discharge of brine with highly concentrated salinity impacts marine life, as well as reducing the freshwater production capacity of desalination plants, whose intake of sea water must be expanded at great cost to cope with the increasing salinity of the Arabian Gulf. Food security remains an issue intertwined with water policy, as GCC nations embark on agricultural drives that seek to buffer domestic food prices from the volatility of international markets. Self-sufficiency in the production of several foodstuffs is viewed as a strategic national interest, manifesting in policies such as Saudi Arabia’s now defunct

Production (1000MT)

Import (1000MT)

campaign to harvest wheat which consumed 80-90 per cent of the region’s water, yet contributed less than 2.3 per cent to the GCC’s GDP. It is clear the challenges thrown up by the increasing scarcity of water, as well as the issues incumbent with a reliance on desalination, require a robust response. His Highness Sheikh Abdallah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, has already called on the GCC to take “serious and rapid steps towards a long term comprehensive Gulf strategy for water.” Education, technology and economic incentives will lie at the heart of the solution. Metering and rewarding efficiency, particularly in the agricultural sector, may help to combat its traditionally irreverent attitude towards water conservation, which may be further reinforced by education on the environmental and economic costs of fresh water production. Technological advances may also hold the key, with some looking to nuclear energy, while others pointing to renewable energy, such as the recent development of economically feasible wind powered desalination in the Netherlands. Twenty years ago it was suggested at the Dublin International Conference that water should be treated as an economic good, a scarce resource to be allocated to competing demands based upon the maximum utility and benefit derived therefrom. Who would have known then that the inexorable growth in population, economic development and casual attitude to conservation would have rendered this suggestion a fundamental truth in the world we will hand down to our children.

Total Supply(1000MT) Self Sufficiency

Cereals 2,394,576 13,402,300 15,796,876 Fruits 2,393,947 1,281,007 3,674,954 Vegetables 2,821,891 1,220,349 4,042,240 Source: UN Food & Agriculture Organisation 2004 Compendium of Food & Agricultural Indicators

15.16 65.14 69.81

March 2012


Energy & Water | SmarTech

SmarTech takes centre stage BGreen previews the third edition of the region’s biggest B2B and B2C platform for clean technology, SmarTech @ WETEX, and what the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority-organised event has to offer

n a country where the cost petrol and water are roughly even per litre, curbing excess consumption has always been a prime objective. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority predicts the local demand for these resources are to double by 2015, urging the government body to supplement the city’s green directive with launch of the 14th edition of Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) 2012. The global leading exhibition in the energy and water industry sees over 12,000 visitors in its three-day run every year. This year, WETEX presents the third instalment of SmarTech, the only

March 2012

B2B and B2C marketing platform for sustainable technological solutions in the field. Hailed as the “future of green commerce,” SmarTech brings exhibitors in green technology together to highlight the latest solutions for reducing consumption of energy and water in daily activities, from kitchen appliances to office equipment. In line with the green directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, and under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid

Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Finance Minister of the UAE and President of DEWA, SmarTech aims to provide a space for innovators to drive environmental change.

What to expect At WETEX The thriving Oil and Gas sector will be well represented at WETEX this year in a new section specifically for fossil fuels. Issues pertaining to exploration, gas and oil prospecting, drilling, excavating, extracting, production, transfer, refining, distribution and exporting will be

SmarTech | Energy & Water

What to expect at SmarTech

highlighted at WETEX in the context of sustainability. “Despite the diversity of energy resources now available in the world and the implementation that is already underway in the renewable energy sector, indicators show that fossil fuels, especially oil and gas, due to their contribution to the total energy supply, will remain as the largest generator of energy in the coming decades. However, achieving sustainable development whilst using these resources requires the implementation of many measures, such as the rationalisation of energy consumption, improving efficiency and limiting the damage caused to the environment and natural resources pollution including water, air and soil. To achieve this, we will concentrate on stateof-art-technology in the energy field by diversifying our strategy to include fossil fuels, generating electricity by the nuclear power and renewable sources,” says Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of DEWA. Live Product Demonstrations At SmarTech @ WETEX 2012, the emphasis will be not just on seeing the products, but interacting with them in a working environment. Exhibitors will have the opportunity to hold live demonstrations of their products all throughout the event. SmarTech Seminars The three-day exhibition will also feature high quality industry seminars, lectures and workshops for exhibitors to discuss latest developments in the area of energy-efficiency and water-efficiency technologies and related themes.

Energy Conservation Products and Technologies

Energy-saving Appliances: Emerging Envelope Technologies Emerging Lighting Technologies Windows Technologies Monitoring Technologies Emerging HVAC and Water Heating Technologies Green Dispensing & Cooling Systems, Vending Machines Smart Grid Technologies

Environment Protection Products & Services

Air Quality Eco-friendly landscape designs Biodegradable products: Plastic, paper, organic

Clean Energy Technologies

Biomass Technologies Fuel Cell Technologies Solar Technologies: Photovoltaic, Solar Thermal Hydro Power Technologies

Recycling Technologies and Products

Technology recycling: e-waste Paper and Material recycling Waste to energy systems

Environment-friendly Products and Smart Technologies

Household appliances and electronics Industrial appliances and electronics

Corporate Sustainability, Government, Regulatory Agencies, Institutions & Authorities

Green Energy Solutions Providers Municipalities and Government Authorities Environmental Management Companies Environmental Associations Sustainable Publications

Building Energy Auditing Software Products

Authority’s Official Note of Recommendation As a strategic incentive, participating exhibitors or products will be duly recognised and recommended with an official ‘Letter of Recommendation’ if they meet DEWA’s energy-efficient and water-efficient parameters. Exhibitors’ claims and declarations will be verified against their submitted documents and against DEWA’s own green standards within each product line.

WETEX – A snapshot WETEX Gross Exhibition Area: 33,000 square metres Expected Participating Companies:

1,000 regional and international Expected Countries: More than 40 across Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia Industry visitors: More than 15,000 Senior level Government Officials, Industry Experts, Scientists, Environmental Experts, Management Consultants, Heads of Corporate Groups Date: 13 - 15 March 2012 Opening Hours: 10.00 am - 7.00 pm Venue: Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre - Halls 1, 2, and Zabeel Hall; with Halls 3 and 4 featuring SmarTech

March 2012


22-25 April 2012

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre United Arab Emirates

Pre-register to attend


International Trade Exhibition and Global Summits for Sustainable and Innovative Construction

Local and International Suppliers

Summit and Training Workshops

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Register now for the region’s premier event for sustainable construction products and solutions Over 250 local and international suppliers Over 100 speakers & 12 days worth of green & infrastructure summits and training workshops 30,000 construction, infrastructure, real estate professionals and government authorities Exclusive daily tours of Masdar City FREE seminars and demos on Future Build Open Air Showcase Co-located with Cityscape Abu Dhabi - the A-Z of real estate’s elite

Register FREE OF CHARGE today at For more information contact the team on +971 4 407 2528 or email FEATURING Training Seminars

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ROUNDTABLE | Construction

Hosted by Zumtobel Light Centre Dubai, the Roundtable featured • Saeed Alabbar Vice Chairman Emirates Green Building Council • Thomas Bohlen Chief Technical Officer Middle East Centre for Sustainable Development • Monica Palmer Architect Woods Bagot • Ghadi Abou Zeid Business Development Manager Zumtobel

Moving forward by revising the past The UAE is on one hand decreed as having the highest carbon footprint in the world, and on the other, emerging as a building and sustainable practices leader in the region. Speaking with industry experts at a roundtable, BGreen explores how the nation can sustain its shift toward green architecture and design BGreen: Where does the UAE stand now in terms of sustainable architecture? Thomas Bohlen: In terms of sustainable buildings, the UAE has made a lot of progress since around 2008, when His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced his decree that all buildings in Dubai need to be green. I know from the LEED standpoint that there are at least 100 green buildings being constructed right now in the UAE.

“Sustainability is about acting along the way, from the early stages of product development to the end of the lifecycle”

Saeed Alabbar: Trakhees regulates anything within the realm of the Dubai Municipality, and in Abu Dhabi we have the Estidama requirements that monitor whether sustainable architectural and building practices are adhered to. By standardising the requirements across the nation, the often neglected northern emirates can implement sustainable building practices.

BGreen: How do existing buildings measure up compared to new green buildings? TB: There are a lot of buildings from the last few years that were not built sustainably. In terms of insulation, meeting fresh air requirements and glazing, these buildings are definitely not up to par in terms of U-values and shading coefficients. A lot of buildings

still don’t have a management system for their HVAC system, and the ones that do aren’t well-managed. Monica Palmer: The focus should perhaps shift to refurbishing and revamping the existing buildings, because if you compare what has been built and what will be built, there is a lot of room for improvement. About three years ago, there were only a couple of buildings that were deemed green, and now nearly all the new projects are moving in that direction. Ghadi Abou Zeid: If you take the case of refurbishing a building, you might retrofit an energy efficient light solution, and also include controls, like daylight harvesting and motion harvesting et cetera. SA: New buildings, regardless of how green they may be, make up a very small fraction of the nation’s total building stock. Secondly, the notion of certifying

March 2012



Construction | ROUNDTABLE

“Let’s not underestimate how far the country has come from the 1960s. It has gone from abject poverty to now being one of the most desired places to live, with a great quality of life, healthcare and infrastructure. That can’t happen overnight without some consequences”

something as green or sustainable to me seems quite ludicrous. These rating systems and certifications are a means to getting to where we want to go, not the end-all. The operation phase needs to be looked at in detail. TB: That’s absolutely true. In the LEED programme there is a plan called LEED Existing Buildings and Operations, where they follow-up on the measurement verification. Buildings need to be operated as green buildings as well. Once they get their occupancy, everybody forgets about sustainable principles and go on with their operations as usual.

BGreen: How can green building owners keep a check on management practices? TB: Energy and water consumption are the easiest to keep tabs on. Figures from utility bills can be compared to the base design calculations. One of biggest things that we can’t control is human behaviour. If you don’t have like-minded people working towards the common goal of sustainability, it can defeat even the most well-intentioned design or operations. MP: It’s all about education, and in fact targeting children in schools is a useful way of engaging the public in thinking

March 2012

sustainably. Even offices could train and motivate their staff to be more conscious about the environment. SA: Also, it comes down to a reporting issue in transparency of data. If tenants are made aware of their energy use intensity, change doesn’t need to be government-led and people can start speaking with their wallets by occupying buildings that are more efficient.

BGreen: How can consumer behaviour be modified to allow green operations within buildings? SA: The challenge here is in dealing with our very unique and diverse culture, since there are more countries represented here than in the UN. Trying to instil green values in a transient population is more

difficult than it would be in other markets. MP: I’d like to mention all the different nations coming together for the same cause as a proof of the success of these programmes as well. It’s a chance to exchange knowledge and solutions on a global level. People learn about it here and they can spread that knowledge to their home countries. SA: One way would be to continue educational programmes that are already in place. Now a lot more people, even those not involved in the industry, are asking themselves why don’t we use solar panels, why don’t we cut down our water consumption or why don’t we recycle this. It’s on people’s agendas a lot more, so I think that is a testament to some of the programmes and regulations in place.

Variety of options.

TECTON LED One design to meet any requirement: the consistent TECTON LED continuous-row lighting system allows uniform design solutions for complex spatial requirements. High-quality LED components and a choice of four different optics ensure brilliant lighting quality and low power consumption. Environmentally compatible lighting with full lexibility. Zumtobel. The Light. Tel.: +9714-3404646 Design: Billings Jackson Design


Construction | ROUNDTABLE

“This notion of certifying something as green or sustainable to me seems quite ludicrous. These rating systems and certifications are a means to getting to where we want to go, not the end-all” Saeed Alabbar

BGreen: What about green default settings in buildings? MP: Yesterday, I received an email sent out by our office building that after 7PM, all the electricity in the building will be switched off. You can manually turn it on again, for an hour at a time, but it will shut down again after that time period. When you think about how many offices leave the lights on all night, these kinds of measures can help encourage the change in behaviour. SA: Energy-efficient programmes with manual overrides offer consumers the freedom to switch, while relying on greener settings by default. It’s something that’s looked at in hotels as well. A lot of energy is consumed in cooling rooms that are not used during most of the day. Hotels turn up the temperature to 27 degrees by default when the rooms are empty, and those who wish to change the temperature are given the option to press a button if they don’t want to be energy efficient. You’ll find that not many people would want to do that. GA: One thing we always talk about is the humanergy balance (the balance between the amount of light needed and the human aspect). This is a way to avoid excessive lighting in areas where it is counterproductive to do so. Luminance

March 2012

Ghadi Abou Zeid

levels are automatically controlled depending on the amount of daylight available and signals from presence detectors. All of these concepts come into play when we design for a corporate space. Sustainability is about acting along the way, from the early stages of product development to the end of the lifecycle.

BGreen: How are green decisions made in the initial design stages? TB: Sometimes you can’t tell a green building is green until you go in and notice intangible qualities, like when you experience the daylight and experience the fresh air. One of the biggest impacts on energy use is how the building is oriented towards the sun. If you can convince the client and the architects to change the orientation of the building early into the design process, it can save a lot of money and effort. This kind of input is fully integrated in the design of the building. I find that fully integrated buildings are also aesthetic. SA: We’re constantly working with architects to find the right balance between sustainability and aesthetics. We can demonstrate through numbers what design choices will yield in terms of efficiency based on energy performance.

“New buildings will only represent one per cent of the building stock in the next five years. Of the one per cent, only 20 per cent are operating at sustainable levels that they are supposed to, and even that may be an optimistic number”

Architects can see what certain aesthetic add-ons or features could cost them in terms of energy savings and make choices accordingly. MP: I totally agree. The collaboration that happens now is great from the architectural point of view. For example, you can compromise on fewer windows as long as one feature is fully glazed. If our design choices are supported by data and there’s a decent ratio between light entering the building and glazing on the exteriors, then we can go ahead with it. SA: Sustainability is fundamentally about trade-off decisions. More glass means more daylight and wider views, which makes it more aesthetic; but it also means more energy spent. It’s having the

ROUNDTABLE | Construction “The technique of energy modelling is used more and more these days in terms of making these trade-off decisions. They can be run for any design variable, like glass or insulation” Monica Palmer

Thomas Bohlen

enter, which is where overhangs and building orientation can work to reduce heat. You’ll find that buildings constructed in the 70s and 80s here, like the World Trade Centre, and a lot of the buildings around Satwa have incorporated these design principles. This is because at that time, those options were cheaper. You couldn’t afford to have that much glass or huge air-conditioning units. Their energy use intensity is significantly lower, and are about 30 to 40 per cent more efficient than new certified buildings. GA: The only problem for developing technologies is that consumers need to choose the right source. Everybody knows about the strengths of LED, and even for street lighting, LED is evolving and becoming powerful enough to be considered. LED can be used for facade highlighting, but the biggest enemy of LED lighting is heat. If it’s used outside, the heat can damage its energy-efficient properties and it no longer becomes the hassle free solution it was intended to be. With facade lighting, another technique that is energy efficient is to use LED lights to highlight glass buildings from the inside.

information to make effective trade-off decisions rather than just guessing. TB: The technique of energy modelling is used more and more these days in terms of making these trade-off decisions. They can be run for any design variable, like glass or insulation. You could run 100 cases in determining the best balance between the cost and benefit, to eventually come to a decision.

BGreen: What about exteriors of buildings? SA: There is a misconception that putting glass all over the outside is very bad, but you could have a building that looks all glass but only 30 per cent of that glass is vision glass (glass that you can see through). You can reduce vision glazing without comprising the look of the building by increasing the spandrel panel area. Spandrel panels don’t heat in, acting like a block wall while looking like opaque glass on the outside. Heat conduction is only on one side of the surface where it’s exposed to the sun, but glass also allows solar radiation to

BGreen: how can we find a balance between economic excess and sustainable practices? SA: When they discovered oil, the late ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum famously said, “my grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a camel.” This alludes to the fact that if we’re not careful with the use of our resources, then from an environmental and economic stand point, it’s not going to be sustainable in the long term. The Abu Dhabi 2030 vision and the Dubai 2021 plan suggest that economic development needs to move in line with education, health and well being, as well as energy and environment.

March 2012




Sustainable Interiors Green interiors have many elements to them–from sustainable carpet tiling to bathroom fittings. BGreen takes a brief look at the underlying green ethics governing these leaders of industry Desso The Dutch-based sustainable carpet tile company follows the Cradle to Cradle concept, backed by certification by the Environmental Protection and Encouragement Agency. With an energy efficiency index of 73 per cent, Desso’s factories recycle 90 per cent of its materials, keeping in line with their green philosophy.

Hansgrohe bathroom fittings in Hyatt Capital Gate Hotel Abu Dhabi

Their Cradle to Cradle certification translates to their production design which aims to manufacture waste-free products, with every by-product being either biodegradable or recyclable to provide raw materials for new goods. The manufacturing processes itself relies on sun-derived energy, while lowering emissions and water use. Steelcase Offering sustainable office furnishing solutions for decades, Steelcase has received certifications from globally recognised bodies like cradle-to-cradle, FSC chain of custody and LEED approval. Among their sustainable collection, the Think chair is the first product to ever receive Cradle to Cradle Product Certification.

March 2012

Desso interiors

Through a detailed Life Cycle Assessment, Steelcase evaluated the chair’s lifelong impact on the impact from manufacturing to end of life. Up to 98 per cent of the chair is recyclable by weight, with up to 37 per cent made of recycled content. Steelcase also participates in the Green Suppliers Network, a North American programme they hope to implement globally. The program increases the authenticity of information by providing suppliers with third party auditing. Aiming to reduce their environmental footprint by 25 per cent within six years from 2006, Steelcase monitored their greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, energy use, and waste. Since then, the company has cut down its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent, its water consumption and VOC emissions by 52 per cent, and its waste by 48 per cent. Hansgrohe Hansgrohe, a leader in bathroom solutions that reduce water and energy consumption, develops environmentally friendly products, packaging and manufacturing technologies at its sites in Schiltach and Offenburg. The company backs ecological manufacturing methods, the careful treatment of resources and the use of renewable energies. They aim to reduce the amount of waste produced as a by-product, lowering the energy demand

and optimising business and production processes in line with ecological standards. The waste recycling quota, for example, has reached a level of more than 90 per cent. Rejects in production are reused in road construction. Even suppliers and partner companies are obliged to follow Hansgrohe’s guiding principles and are selected on the basis of their environmental performance.  Siegfried Gänßlen, Chairman of the Management Board, Hansgrohe Group, sees sustainability as an important source of inspiration for their designs. “At the top of our agenda is climate protection. We are committed to lowering our CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2013,”Gänßlen says. “We have replaced phthalate-containing plasticisers in shower hoses, for example, with environmentally friendly substances. (It was) not an easy task for product development and production, but it is rewarding, because we hope that this will give us an advantage in the market.” After fitting Masdar City, and more recently Hyatt Capital Gate Hotel Abu Dhabi, Hansgrohe has positioned itself in the UAE market as a sustainable interiors solution.

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THE Big playErs The inside track on the region’s biggest projects, including exclusive interviews with Adrian Smith, Tony Douglas, David barwell, Joachim Schares, laurie Voyer and Sudhir Jambhekar


as Jordan signs up to establish a national buildingSMaRT forum, BiM’s pioneers reveal the region-wide innovations that lie ahead

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Train to gain How Alec Construction’s new site training initiative has boosted profits and productivity on its Saadiyat Island projects


Special Feature

Into the woods As green architecture takes on a renewed vigour in the Middle East, wood, the most sustainable of raw materials may be back in vogue. BGreen examines the human element in sourcing timber under the world’s leading certification for ethically sourced wood, and why more distributors in our region may need to wake up and smell the pinewood.


he sand-swept skyline of any modern day Middle Eastern city is more than a feat of architectural wonder. As thousands of construction cranes start to swing back in action, the UAE has been turning to sustainable architecture as a beacon of hope for the future. The need for sustainably and ethically sourced raw materials has increased in recent years, urging contractors and distributors to rely on supply-side ethics that are in many cases out of their hands. The raw materials that go into the construction and design of the colossal man-made marvels in Dubai’s business district are increasingly including the sophistication and old-world charm of wood. However, the cost and environmental benefits of sourcing ethically manufactured wood products do not necessarily factor in the social and economic sustainability of communities that have been reliant on woodlands for centuries.

FSC managed forests take the lifestyle of the people living near or off the forest into consideration. They realise that certain tribes have a hunting-reliant culture and that they place importance on certain sites that may be spiritually or ancestrally tied to their practices”

March 2012

From the source to the end-user American hardwood has long supported expansion projects in the Middle East, providing highly coveted walnut for the more ostentatious interior projects. According to Roderick Wiles, American Hardwood Export Council Director for Africa, Middle East, India and Oceania, the industry has seen a rise in demand for American species in regional projects. “This rise is probably attributable to the fact that wood is about the most environmentally friendly material available and architects and designers are beginning to understand this.” American hardwoods are sourced from private landowners, who sell their logs to sawmills within 200 miles of their location to keep logistics simple. These landowners are mainly individuals who own forest land and allow logging once or twice in a generation. Wiles explains that the trees in these plots are selectively harvested, which means that only the right species and diameter logs are selected and then felled, leaving the younger trees and the saplings to take their place. No hardwoods are replanted in the United States and the forests rely on natural regeneration from taller trees that provide the seed base. The logged wood is processed to lumber, veneer, flooring and other products and moved on to the next link in the chain.

Special Feature

The overall objective of forest management companies under the FSC is to leave the stand in a better growing condition than before, restoring and re-vegetating stream beds, and ensuring that every effort is made to preserve the biodiversity of forests”

The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC certifiers monitor the entire timber supply chain, from harvest to mill, policing ethical and sustainable practices in what was once a thoroughly maligned industry in developing economies. The use of FSC certified wood is one of the considerations in awarding LEED points to a project, highlighting the level of credibility and authority this certification brings. “One of the strong points of the FSC is its all-rounded approach in assuring ethical practices in timber,” attests Siddharth Patel, partner at Oceanic General Trading, the first FSC Chain-of-Custody timber distributor in the GCC. Oceanic started off as a member of the Emirates Green Building Council, actively participating in modifying the LEED system for use in the UAE at a time predating green building requirements. “Logging and wood processing industries translate to large economic and social opportunities. However, logging is not always carried out in a sustainable manner. It’s a painful fact that more and more of the world’s forests are disappearing, stripping local populations of their livelihood. The FSC is active in many different countries and its careful auditing of logging practices from the bottom up gives the end-user a guarantee that the wood was sourced not just sustainably in terms of the environment, but ethically in terms of protecting indigenous populations,” Patel adds. The FSC programme was launched in 1993, and since then, FSC member organisations have frequently convened to set policies for forestry certification. Timber harvesting is carefully managed.

The overall objective of forest management companies under the FSC is to leave the stand in a better growing condition than before, restoring and re-vegetating stream beds, and ensuring that every effort is made to preserve the biodiversity of forests. “FSC certification isn’t just a piece of paper. It involves checks and balances that ensures supply-side sustainability,” Joubert Plywood General Manager, Michael Geoffroy, explains. “Joubert deals with Okoumé wood from Gabon, Western Africa, which is part of the second largest rainforest in the world. This is an additional reason why we need to respect the origin of the wood. The FSC guarantees that the social and economic aspects of the country are developed and managed sustainably.” The goal for the timber industry should ideally move towards guaranteeing opportunities for indigenous people to use the forests, that worker and community rights are respected, and that the entire process is economically viable as well. This all-rounded approach ensures sustained growth by minimising if not rectifying the damage heavy logging around the world had done centuries before. People first: The Congo case study Deep in the heart of northern Congo, the Mbendjele Yaka people have been maintaining a tenuous balance between man and nature for centuries, framing their entire social and economic practices within the dense African forest land. The Congo Basin is notorious for being the world’s second largest rainforest which under threat of illegal logging. FSC certified logging company, Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), has rights to roughly 10 per cent of the forests

Siddharth Patel

Michael Geoffroy

Rod Wiles

March 2012



Special Feature

in Congo, which houses around 3000 people. In 2004, CIB enlisted the help of a Swiss-based organisation, Tropical Forest Trust, which is known for its role in helping logging companies win FSC certification by greening their practices. Taking the cultural element into account, CIB revolutionised the social aspect of logging in countries like Congo where for decades, an “anything goes” attitude governed most business practices. In 2006, they equipped pygmy tribes with hand-held satellite Global Positioning Systems that chart the forest in such a way that burial sites of their ancestors, hunting grounds, sacred areas, water holes, and areas of medicinal plants crucial to their lifestyle are mapped out for loggers to avoid. The GPS devices have icons on them to account for language and literacy barriers. The icons include a syringe to denote areas with medicinal plants, a person with an arrow to mark hunting areas, and a traditional hut-like icon to represent residential areas. With a simple click of a button, a GPS point is made note of and linked up to a satellite. Among the trees being marked out for preservation are the giant sapelli, many of them more than 40 metres high and more than two metres in diameter at the base, from which the Mbendjele gather caterpillars to eat. The project has also set up a community radio station, “Bisso na Bisso” (meaning “between us” in Lingala, the local language) to bring pygmy issues to the fore across the scattered communities. Beyond certificates and schemes American hardwoods are, in most cases,

March 2012

not certified according to a third-party certification scheme, such as FSC or PEFC and this is due to the nature of ownership of the forest. Availability of FSC certified American hardwood lumber and veneer has increased in recent years, but the fact that more than 4 million private landholders own the majority of the US hardwood resource means that certifying large areas of forest is just not feasible. In most cases, the landowners are not even aware of certification and, even if they are, they may not see any benefit to them, as the cost is unlikely to be recouped. “The fact that the US hardwood forest has a long and impeccable record of sustainable forest management should also negate the

need for third-party certification. Reliable US Forest Service data shows that the volume of standing timber in the US hardwood forest has more than doubled in the past 50 years and this has taken place during a period of ever-increasing demand for wood products worldwide. This is a true measure of sustainability,” according to Wiles. “If (contractors and developers) are going to use a product in a project, they should be absolutely certain that the product is sustainable and comes from a reliable source. I know that this is not always easy, but more care should be taken to thoroughly research the product and not just to rely on sound bites or broad marketing claims,” he suggests. Geoffroy notes the growing demand for supply-side sustainable practices in the timber industry. “Three years ago, when I first talked about certified wood in Dubai, people looked at me strangely. Now construction companies and developers come to us asking for wood they know has a clean and ethical source. We rely on the FSC to guarantee this to the endusers, since most of our wood comes from countries where there are no governmental checks or balances,” he says. Forests cover 31 per cent of total global land area and provide livelihoods for over 1.6 billion people. Sustainable practices by ethically aware businesses can help maintain human rights in forests that governments may overlook.

Other players in the UAE

Danube Building Materials launched FSC certified wood products in the UAE in 2009, offering a wide selection of wood from sustainably managed forests. Certified by third-party organisation, BM TRADA Certification, Danube offers MDF, Plywood, Softboard, Veneer, Chip board and sawn hardwood and softwood. Accoya wood is a sustainably sourced FSC certified softwood that is treated in a non-toxic manner to extend its lifecycle and durability. Because of this, Accoya can withstand extreme temperatures and humidity levels, unlike untreated wood. Recently, Accoya has received international attention for its performance in civil engineering projects in Europe. It is solely distributed by Yew Distinct Wood in the UAE

Special Feature

March 2012




Sustainably transporting timber The study shows that the environmental Backed by an in-depth study by the American impact of sea transport is far lower than rail Hardwood Export Council, BGreen examines whether or road. The initial Life Cycle Inventory the pros of importing timber outweigh the expected (LCI) data on US hardwood lumber environmental cons exported to Europe confirms that forest extraction and the sawmilling process make up a small part of the overall impact and that it is the kiln drying of the lumber, not the transport that is the biggest factor in determining impacts such as Global Warming Potential (GWP).


n some cases, the transport of raw and processed materials consumes a significant amount of energy, emitting massive levels of carbon and other pollutants into the biosphere. What sets sustainable timber apart is the inherent structural property of wood, making it an economically and environmentally viable option in construction. A numbers game Logs average around 1 tonne/m3. A large contributor to the weight is water, which is later removed in the production process. Logs are transported from the forest in trucks to sawmills that are usually set up near their log supply, making transport distances from the forest to the mill negligible in the big picture. Exporting logs to far off lands (like the GCC) involves sea freight, which is the most environmentally friendly transport option for large cargo. Processed timber is even easier to transport as it is relatively light, weighing between 400 to 800 kg/m3, significantly lighter than other building materials.

March 2012

A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) made by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) suggests that transport is a relatively minor factor in the overall carbon footprint of the entire process. Transporting American hardwood by ship across the Atlantic, a journey of over 6000km, requires little more energy than an overland journey of 500km. In fact, even a complete circumnavigation of the world by sea (40,000km) would be readily offset by the carbon sequestered in the wood product. AHEC’s Life Cycle Assessment Forests act as carbon sinks, since trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store it as carbon. When the trees are harvested, much of the carbon remains stored in all the resulting products, thus mitigating climate change. In order for wood products to be credited with this carbon storage effect, it’s important that they derive from a renewable source where growth exceeds harvest.

Case study: The Playhouse Theatre Made of American Walnut, the theatre at the Geelong Performing Arts Centre in Australia was designed sustainably despite being on the other side of the world from the source. The project incorporated a detailed analysis of government forest inventory data gathered at regular intervals over the last sixty years. The US harvests around 1 million m3 of walnut each year, well below the annual growth rate of 3.6 million m3. Even after harvesting, an additional 2.6 million m3 of walnut accumulates in US forests yearly. This averages to about five minutes for the walnut used at Geelong Performing Arts Centre to be replaced by new growth in the forest. Meanwhile, the walnut used at Geelong will act as a carbon store for as long as it remains in the building. This storage benefit may be extended considerably if the walnut is then re-used or recycled. At the end of the building’s life, if the walnut is not recycled, it could be burnt as a renewable fuel generating up to 37,000 kilowatt-hour of energy. As for the carbon footprint, the study shows that the 15 3 of walnut kiln-dried lumber used in the project stores the equivalent of 31 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is well in excess of the 18 tonnes of carbon emissions required to extract, process, and transport the walnut lumber all the way from the US to Australia. In LCA terminology, the walnut used in Geelong has a ‘Global Warming Potential’ of minus 13 tonnes.

Special Feature

Seed. Saw. Seed. Saw. Seed. Saw‌ Working with nature’s rhythm. American hardwood.

The volume of hardwoods standing in U.S. forests has more than doubled in the last 50 years. For more information visit:

Follow us on Twitter ahec_europe March 2012



Green IT

Keeping it cool Data centres are known for being hotbeds of technological activity. Keeping them cool in our desert clime might pose a challenge for those eager to go green. BGreen looks at ways data centres can stay on the eco-friendly path.


recent report released by business intelligence firm Pike Research revealed that ‘green’ data centre projects are expected to capture 28 per cent of the total global share in the market. But these data centres can become power-hungry pits for growing companies. The sheer power needed to run all those racks of servers and storage arrays can be taxing, with the largest drain on energy being the cooling systems required to keep servers from overheating. Retrofitting to keep up with the times Most data centres are tucked away in buildings that may not have state-of-theart green management. Full racks can discharge as much as 7 to 25 kilowatts per rack, with top-of-the-line servers being capable of more than 40 kilo watts per rack. Without the right level of cooling in place, the efficiency of the data

March 2012

centre may be subpar. By implementing cooling practices retroactively, changes to the existing air cooling equipment can improve the efficiency of the data centre to 70 per cent, according to a report released by the Uptime Institute. Passive water cooling for racks Passive rear door heat exchangers (RDHx) are widely used by titans of industry, with IBM leading the pack. The RDHx can neutralise heat as it is released from the rack by replacing the usual rear doors on each unit. Specially-designed coils maintain airflow through the rack after the liquid coolant removes the heat from the air taken in. These small addons are space-efficient, as well as capable of reducing up to 35 kilowatts of heat energy per rack. A Coolant Distribution Unit (CDU) may be required to pump the released

“‘Green’ data centre projects are expected to capture 28 per cent of the total global share in the market” hot air when retrofitting the RDHx, by making an external path to allow for heat exchange without the risk of condensation. The energy consumed by this passive system is negligible, leading to a palpable increase in energy savings. The units can be installed in pre-existing cooling enclosures without disrupting data operations. Without passive water cooling techniques in place, regulating the temperature and airflow in a data centre is a complicated process that requires constant monitoring and adjustment.

Green IT

“Large sites that receive a lot of traffic require an abundance of storage space to allow users from all corners of the world quick access to information.”

Natural cooling Air-side economisers, which bring in outside air whenever it is cold enough to neutralise the temperature within the data centre, or water-side economisers, which use the evaporative cooling capacity of a cooling tower to indirectly produce chilled water, could work as a back-up for the region, albeit only in the winter months. This is the premise that drove Facebook to set up its new server farm in Luleå, Sweden, as the social media giant’s first data centre outside of America. Large sites that receive a lot of traffic require an abundance of storage space to allow users from all corners of the world quick access to information. Data centres in various regions provide near-instant access through mirror sites for users in that particular area, encouraging internet big-names to set up shop far and wide. Natural cooling in northern climes allows for a more sustainable data solution for larger corporations concerned about their emissions. With lows well below freezing and highs that seldom hit 25 degrees Celsius in midsummer, the location’s natural cooling and renewable hydropower makes it ideal. Google’s conversion of an abandoned paper mill in Hamina, Finland, coupled with Facebook’s new move, will most likely propel the Arctic Circle as a major node for data storage in Europe, earning the region the title of “node pole”. Luleå is the coldest town in Sweden, housing several of the country’s bigger hydropower stations. Sweden also has the lowest electricity price in Europe and the country’s northern region, including Luleå, has the lowest electricity price in Sweden. The power to operate the new data centre, about 120 megawatts, will be completely derived from hydropower.

Quick fixes • By arranging racks in rows, data centres can facilitate cold aisles in the front of units where the air is sucked in, and hot aisles at the back of racks where the exhausts and vents release hot air. Alternating these rows allows for the smooth and uniform flow of air, leading to an even temperature within the data centre. •

Blanking panels can be placed inside equipment enclosures to ensure that the cool and hot air don’t mix, leading to condensation. In a room full of electrical equipment, that would be a logistical nightmare. Currently, many data centres keep separating the aisles cheap by using thick curtains like the ones used in supermarkets to separate chilled food. Despite being a quick fix, this solution does improve efficiency, although a stronger enclosure would increase efficiency even more.

Cable entry points need to be sealed to minimise the loss of cool air. If these points are not effectively sealed, the cool air re-enter the cooling units instead of making its way around the data centre. An estimated 60 per cent of cool air supply in data centres is lost because of this.

Computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units are better utilised when placed close to the enclosures, and perpendicular to hot aisles so that the cooling is maximised at the source.

March 2012




Crystal Clear

An industrial cooling solution

With seawater in the Arabian Gulf reaching highs of 40 degrees Celsius in summer, the last thing the marine environment needs is hot waste water adding to the mix. BGreen investigates the latest entrant in water cooling technologies, Crystal Lagoons, and its potential in saving marine life in the region.

March 2012


he Arabian Gulf is home to unique communities of coral and reef fish that have evolved to withstand extreme temperatures, but even these organisms have a threshold. A report released by the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health at the end of 2011 urges coastal countries in the region to band together in order to alleviate the damage coastal developments and desalination have caused over the past decade, including the negative effects of channelling hot waste water back into the marine environment. Every year, roughly four trillion litres of seawater is used to cool down desalination plants, data centres, and power plants, absorbing the heat

generated by these high-powered systems before being flushed to sea. The UN report presented findings that set the region apart for having effectively lost 70 per cent of reef area due to massive construction and hot water waste. Many countries have banned this practice, due to its adverse effects on the environment. Additionally, the process also wastes a lot of energy, contributing to global warming and climate change. With this in mind, Crystal Lagoons Corporation revealed the potential to relieve the Arabian Gulf of hot water waste through its new patented cooling technology. Their closed circuit system allows for the entire cooling process to be conducted in a manmade crystalline lagoon, without withdrawing large


Every year, roughly four trillion litres of seawater is used to cool down desalination plants”

volumes of water from the sea, or by discharging hot water back into the ecosystem. The water used to cool the machinery is later returned to the lagoon that acts as a heat sink that allows for regeneration of energy. “As this is a closed system with high quality water, the lagoon increases its temperature up to a steady state, creating a reserve of thermal energy which can then be used in a number of processes such as heating, residential and industrial hot water, thermal desalination, greenhouse heating, wood drying and industrial pre-heating, thus contributing to the economic development of the regions where power stations with this sustainable cooling system are established,” explains Joaquin Konow, Development Manager of Crystal Lagoons Corp. This is a huge impact for the UAE where around 1000 power stations operate under this system, using more than 168 billion litres of water a day more than five times the volume of water used for irrigation in Australia. Moreover, the environmental impact of diverse industries could be reduced and energy production doubled without the need for building more power stations. The Chilean company was officially formed in 2007, using the cooling capabilities for recreational purposes. At this year’s World Future Energy Summit, Crystal Lagoons announced their move to launch cooling systems for industrial use, generating electricity and potable water at a higher efficiency. This solution means that power stations, desalination plants and other high-powered industrial units can be constructed onshore, far away from

March 2012




TOP to BOTTOM: Construction of Dubai Lagoons, plans for Citystars Sharm el Sheikh, plans for Dubai Lagoons

Projects planned in the Middle East United Arab Emirates Dubai Lagoon Al Raha Gardens


Crystal Lagoons Corporation currently has 19 projects underway

Citystars Sharm el Sheikh Citystars Suma Bay Baia Bianca Gamsha Golf Porto Marina Hacienda Bay Palm Sokhna The Spring Resort Spa

Saudi Arabia Al Salam Prince Cultural Centre Prince Mohammed Village South Jeddah

Jordan Dead Sea Lagoon Africa Business Park Ayla Oasis

Oman Al Khayaal Libya Tripoli Towers

the coastline that has already seen massive construction, reclamation and restructuring projects. Fernando Fischmann, CEO and founder of this company, has already made waves in Egypt and now hopes to expand to the UAE in a time when the entire country is charging towards a greener future. Crystal Lagoons Corporation currently has 19 projects underway in Peru, Finland, India, US and Saudi Arabia, as well as in Chile,

March 2012

garnering substantial attention from other major players around the world. “The enormous interest is explained by the great need to implement cooling systems which are both economically profitable and of high environmental impact. Today, our projects go beyond just power plants, since the cooling problem transcends to other industries such as thermosolar plants, foundries and data centres,� Konow adds.

ROAD TO DOHA | Comment

Responding to Climate Change Wissam Yassine, UAE National Coordinator at carboun, outlines where we’re headed in terms of climate change, leading up to COP 18 in Doha


nternational corporation to control and mitigate climate change started at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 20 years ago in 1992. The summit resulted in the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which now has 195 parties. The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC is to “stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” Since then, major breakthroughs in climate change negotiations and commitments were made. Most significantly, the Kyoto protocol was negotiated in 1997 and entered into force in 2005. Recognising the wide difference in historical GHG emissions across countries, parties to the Kyoto protocol agreed that they had “common but differentiated responsibilities” toward reducing their GHG emissions. In that spirit, developed countries agreed to

reduce their emissions by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012, the first commitment period under the Kyoto protocol. The Kyoto protocol was a major step forward; however, the 37 developed countries with binding reduction targets

under the Kyoto protocol represented only 25% of the world’s global emissions. It was clear that the world needed a new treaty that brought on board the developing countries such China, India and Brazil, whose percentage of global emissions grow significantly from what it was in 1997, the year Kyoto was negotiated. In 2005 in Montreal, parties to the Kyoto protocol and the US agreed to start negotiating a post 2012 emissions reduction commitment with the aim of reaching an agreed outcome in Copenhagen in 2009. However, the outcome of Copenhagen was a true disappointment, as the US succeeded in steering the negotiations away from a legally binding emissions reduction commitment. The alternative was the Copenhagen Accord, which calls on developed countries to commit to “economy-wide emissions targets for 2020”. The targets were discretionary and non-binding, which is why COP 15 in Copenhagen was largely seen as a step backwards in climate negotiations.

March 2012




Joining the Ranks The recently released Environmental Performance Index (EPI) places the UAE at the lead as the greenest nation in the GCC, jumping from the bottom of the list in 2008 to 77th place in 2012. BGreen investigates.


he biennial Environmental Performance Index (EPI) survey results are out; the die has been cast. Usually, the figures are a huge damper on environmental optimism for this part of the world, with most countries in the Middle East ranking well below acceptable standards of green practices. This year’s results are a pleasant surprise for the eco-warriors of the region, with three Arab countries making the cut as “modest performers.” But what do these labels mean? Carried out by Yale and Columbia, the survey gauges nations’ environmental performance based on 22 indicators across ten categories. Of the 132 countries surveyed this year, Switzerland topped the list as it has for the last 3 editions of the study. Among Arab countries at large, Egypt came in first at 60, with UAE leading the GCC pack at 77, followed by Saudi Arabia at 82. Other GCC countries on the list fellow below the Modest Performance bar. UAE has improved in leaps and bounds since 2010, where the country ranked at the bottom just before the poorest performer (Nigeria) at 152. Before the region can pat itself on the back for years of dedicated green effort, certain statistics from beyond the region need to be considered. India, one of the leaders in renewable energy investments according to 2011 figures, is trailing behind at 125 this year. China isn’t doing much better at 116, despite its dominance in the wind and solar energy market. The major reason why the two fastest-developing economies in the world ranked poorly is because of their low air quality and its adverse effects on human health. Similarly, the weaker performers from the Middle East who may have recently taken steps to green their

March 2012

“Boiling environmental performance down to a single numerical label requires a complicated and inexact fusion of environmental data with expert opinion and debate. The past twelve years have demonstrated a slow, necessary evolution – a process of trial, error, refinement, and retrial,” she added. The survey continually hones itself to address changes in consumer mindsets and reevaluates the importance it places on human health rather than solely on the ecosystem. For now, it’s the best bet individual nations may have on keeping tabs of climate change and resource distribution.

The categories in the EPI survey economies still end up at the lower end of the spectrum because of their high water consumption and lack of natural water resources to fall back on. Does this suggest that the EPI is not as wholesome in its analysis as we would expect? “The EPI is a representation, not an exact science,” says Angel Hsu, Project Director at the Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy. Environmental Protection Index Rankings: Middle East Performance 2012 EPI Rankings Country 132 Listed Modest 60 Egypt 77 UAE 82 KSA Weaker 94 Lebanon 100 Qatar 110 Oman 117 Jordan Weakest 126 Kuwait 127 Yemen 132 Iraq

Environmental Burden of Disease Water (Effect on Human Health) Air Pollution (General figures + Effect on Human Health) Biodiversity and Habitat Forestry Fisheries Agriculture Climate Change Water Resources

2010 163 Listed 68 152 99 90 122 131 97 113 124 150

2008 149 Listed 71 112 N.A 90 N.A 91 70 111 141 134

From Environmental Protection Indexes of 2008, 2010 and 2012.


Green Business

Green power steals spotlight Renewable energy powers up at this year’s Middle East Electricity Exhibition.


he three-day Middle East Electricity Exhibition 2012 commenced on 7 February, with smart power and renewables pushing to the fore. After committing close to US$500bn (Dh1,836bn) towards clean energy, US, Europe, China and South Korea have lead the green drive into the Gulf region. Concern about climate change, high oil prices and increasing government support are catalysing renewable legislation across governments and industries. The International Energy Agency has issued studies suggesting that solar power generators may produce most of the world’s electricity within 50 years, radically reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases that accelerate climate change. As energy demands skyrocket along with the region’s GDP, it is estimated that an additional 106.4 gigawatts of electricity is planned for the Middle East between 2012 and 2016. In the UAE, energy demand is expected to increase 9 per cent per annum, with roughly 41,000 megawatts per year required by 2020. In response to this figure, the Dubai Energy and Water Authority (DEWA) have announced that they will be setting up a regulatory body for the utilities sector to allow private sector participation. According to MEE Exhibition Director, Anita Mathews, the 2012 edition of the exhibition highlights a general acceptance

March 2012

the Middle East is reportedly set to collectively invest $252bn on energy” of greentech. She estimates nearly 10 per cent of the exhibitors had introduced new and renewable energy products and services, including solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear energy solutions. From the investment perspective, the Middle East is reportedly set to collectively invest $252bn on energy. Qatar is estimated to invest $125 bn, while Kuwait invests in its energy and water infrastructure with $27 bn. In terms of investments in nuclear projects, the $20bn Abu Dhabi nuclear power plant and Saudi Arabia’s $100bn King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy are at the lead. Contractor awards in power, water and renewable energy have been announced in Kuwait, Iraq, and Qatar, totalling $1.5bn. As of February 2012, five new contractor awards in the sector have been announced in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Syria worth $1.8bn. This demand was well reflected at the MEE 2012, hosting 113 new power, water, and energy projects valued at

US$180 billion currently in the initial stages of development in the Middle East. The exhibition was opened by the UAE Minister of Environment and Water, Dr. Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad. According to the organisers of the event, the exhibition has attracted more than 1,000 exhibitors from within the region and worldwide, with exhibitor space exceeding 2011 by up to 15 per cent.

Right place, right time Abdul Ghani Bin Melalibari, coordinator of scientific collaboration at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy says that Saudi is planning on building 16 nuclear reactors over the next 20 years at a cost of more than $300 bn. According to the world nuclear association, the UAE has accepted a $20m bid from a South Korean consortium to build four commercial nuclear power reactors, totally 5.6GWe by 2020. Masdar Power is currently developing the world’s largest concentrating solar power plant. Iran plans to generate more than 5,000 MW from renewable energy sources by 2015.

Rapunzel on Structural, strong, and yet intricately formed. Concrete Mix progresses the idea by means of geometrical shapes, softened through subtle shading. Reflections of the built environment, brought indoors, with a sustainable twist. Concrete Mix has an overall recycled content 47% and contributes towards LEED and BREEAM certification.

For more information on the design capabilities and sustainability features of this product please contact us on: or 04 3996934 A Type III EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) is also available for Concrete Mix.


Green Business

Schneider Electric’s BipBop Programme brings electricity to rural communities across India

The Future is Now The Zayed Future Energy Prize has become a leading platform in recognising the contributions and efforts of businesses and individuals in advocating sustainable practices. BGreen highlights the 2012 edition.

“The Awards attracted 1,103 nominations and 425 submissions from participants in 71 countries this year”

March 2012


amed after the late founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Zayed Future Energy Prize has come to represent hope in a world facing the harsh realities of climate change and dwindling natural resources. “This Prize is a clear manifestation of the vision of (Sheikh Zayed) who placed a priority on investing in human capital and the preservation of our natural resources for generations to come,” said His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, while presenting the prize to five deserving parties. Surrounded by the opulence of

Emirates Palace, dignitaries and industry leaders gathered for the fourth edition of the highly coveted prize, each of the nominees firmly backed by revolutionary environmentally-focussed business models and highly evolved green ideals. Referred to as the “ambassadors of innovation,” the prize winners went through a rigorous selection process to make the cut. The Awards attracted 1,103 nominations and 425 submissions from participants in 71 countries this year. Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, attributed the increasing growth of the prize to its ability to adapt to this fast moving dynamic sector, adding “these are people that had the foresight to recognise

Green Business

“All finalists reached that stage because of their ability to demonstrate a considerable impact through their work in raising awareness and developing policies and technologies in renewable energy and sustainability.”

that investing in the future is based on long term vision and the ability to innovate the technologies that the world so urgently needs.” In the SME & NGO category, Carbon Disclosure Project was awarded US$1.5 million, while Orb Energy was named first runner-up with a cash prize of US$1 million and Environmental Defense Fund took away US$500,000 as the second runner-up. Dr Ashok Gadgil, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, received US$500,000 for his pioneering efforts as one of the leading modern inventors in the US for the Darfur stove. Recipient of the Large Corporations award, Schneider Electric, received a recognition award from the Prize. All finalists reached that stage because of their ability to demonstrate a considerable impact through their work in raising awareness and developing policies and technologies in renewable energy and sustainability. The Jury Panel Members of the Jury of the Zayed Future Energy Prize included Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland and Chairman of the Jury; Ahmed Al Sayegh, Chairman of Masdar; Cherie Blair, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation, and Timothy Wirth, President of the

United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund, to name those present at the awards. The process The stringent year-long, four-stage process starts with nominations that begin in May. In the first stage of the evaluation process, an independent research and analysis firm conducts a detailed examination of each candidate’s application. During the second stage, a Review Committee convenes in October to select 33 candidates across all categories using a scoring matrix. In the third stage of the judging process in November, a Selection Committee comprising leading experts in the field of renewable energy and sustainability evaluates the shortlisted entries. The highest scoring submissions make it to the fourth and final round: three candidates for the Large Corporations category, three candidates for the Lifetime Achievement Award and seven candidates who could win first, second and third prize for the SME & NGO category. Looking ahead The 2013 edition of the awards will feature the newly announced Global High School Prize to inspire a new generation of leaders and innovators.

Dr Ashok Gadgil: The Berkeley-Darfur Stove

Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr Gadgil, received the prize for his sustainable humanitarian work in Darfur, providing “BerkeleyDarfur” energy efficient cooking stoves that cut the need for firewood by 55 per cent. Darfur has become synonymous with conflict and strife, with at least 300,000 people killed and three million forced out of their homes. Dr Gadgil's revolutionary cooking stove eases the daily burden of Darfuri women having to walk up to seven hours three to five times a week for firewood--an inefficient source of fuel for cooking, especially considering the dearth of trees in the outskirts of the war torn state. Gadgil estimates that nearly half of the world’s population turns to inefficient and hard-to-source fuels, referred to as biomass, which both inhibits economic progress and poses a threat to human health. That's how a simple home appliance like the Darfur stove can immensely improve the quality of life of families with limited means. By October 2011, the Darfur Stoves Project had produced more than 20,000 stoves. More than 300,000 stoves are needed in order for every family in Darfur to have a safer, healthier living environment.

Carbon Disclosure Project: Green transparency across industries

Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), accepted the awarded for their pioneering use of marketbased tools to tackle climate change and protect natural resources. The not-for-profit organisation works with investors, businesses, cities and governments, allowing them to measure, disclose, manage and share environmental information to reduce their energy consumption, carbon emissions and water use. The cornerstone of CDP is transparency, releasing white papers and statistics in conjunction with major industry players on their environmental activity.

Schneider Electric: efficient energy

Schneider’s BipBop programme aims to provide a sustainable solution to 1.6 billion people around the world who have no access to electricity. The BipBop programme - an acronym standing for Business, Investment and People at the Bottom of the Pyramid - addresses three key issues: the lack of necessary equipment, the lack of financial resources for innovative energy entrepreneurs, and the lack of skills and expertise. Some of their implemented solutions include renewable home lighting systems in Indian villages that are capped at an affordable Rs 3 per day per household.

March 2012



Ethical Investments

The Cleve Hill Substation has been up and running from the end of 2011

Windy days ahead BGreen looks at what is soon to be the world’s largest Offshore Wind Farm, the London Array, as wind power becomes recognised globally as the fastest growing source of energy.


ith a greater understanding of a sustainable alternate source of energy worldwide, wind power is gaining stimulus across the globe. As per estimates, the wind turbine market has experienced a growth rate of 28 per cent. According to the present scenario, onshore technology is leading with approximately 95 per cent share as offshore technology is still in its infancy, according to a report released in November 2011 by Transparency Market Research. Overheads and maintenance for offshore technology is notoriously high, causing investors to shy away from offshore projects. So how does the London Array stack up despite roadblocks and obstacles in the offshore market?

March 2012

The first turbine was installed in January 2012

World’s Largest What is scheduled to be the world’s largest offshore wind farm by the end of 2012, the London Array has erected its first wind turbine in mid February, two months past their projected end-of-2011 deadline. Armed with 175 wind turbines, London Array will have the capacity to generate 630MW, far surpassing the current record-holding 100-turbinestrong offshore wind farm. The project was taken over by Dong Energy, E.On and Masdar in May 2009 after a series of roadblocks and setbacks, including disagreements during talks with other developers over the planning of the Cleve Hill onshore substation. Since the change in partnership, the two 1,260-tonne offshore substations were completed in July 2011.

Ethical Investments

“Strict regulation is needed in this country for all building types and priority should be given to schools and hospitals”

The design was undertaken in tandem with a separate joint industry project established to overcome problems that have been reported on some monopile foundations. London Array Project Manager, Soren Thorbjorn Larsen said, “The construction and design (has been) a major technical and engineering challenge, and we have paid close attention from the very beginning to ensuring that we got the design absolutely right. On schedule 101 foundations have been installed offshore by the three installation vessels working onsite – Sea Worker, MPI Adventure and HLV Svanen.  Adventure is continuing to install foundations, Sea Worker, after completing foundation installation, has now started to install wind turbines.  Sea Worker will be joined by MPI Discovery, who will also install wind turbines at London Array, shortly. Array cable installation started towards the end of last summer and the first export cable, which will connect the offshore substations to the new onshore substation at Cleve Hill, was installed towards the end of 2011.  The Stemat Spirit, the cable laying vessel that is installing the export cables, is on station, waiting to start the installation of the second export cable. At the end of January, the first of 175 turbines was installed. Meanwhile, Siemens has been manufacturing turbines for the project since last May, with the intention that some of them will be brought to the site directly from Esbjerg Port in Denmark while the rest are brought by barge to Harwich then transported to the site. Avoiding pitfalls The Array is among the first in the world to use a conical joint at the top of its monopiles to prevent transition piece slippage.

“As well as dealing with new industry issues, such as how to safeguard against foundation grouting and slippage problems, we have had to take into account the wide variation in water depths and moveable seabed across the wind farm site.” The new foundation design features a gently sloping cone at the top of the monopile which then sits inside an inverted cone at the bottom of the transition piece. A layer of grout lies between the two surfaces. This design has reportedly met with the highest industry standards, and could pioneer a new best practice for offshore wind.

Environmental Impact – A potential model for the Middle East’s construction projects Massive construction always takes a toll on the natural landscape of the site, which is why London Array has been developing strategies to mitigate any negative impact the 100 square metre site may cause. Their aim is to help the UK meet the its environmental and renewable energy targets, such as reducing CO2 emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 and generating 15 per cent of all energy from renewable sources by 2015. Mathematically, this suggests that the completed and fully functional wind farm will be able to reduce carbon emissions by 1.4 million tonnes each year. Phase One alone will enable 925,000 tonnes of CO2 to be offset each year. With a total capacity of up to 1,000 megawatts, the wind farm will be able to generate enough electricity for up to 750,000 homes, roughly one-fourth of residences in Greater London. Phase One’s capacity of 630MW is enough to power around 480,000 homes, or twothirds of all homes in Kent. Long-term environmental benefits aside, the project presently has been issuing notices to the local shipping and fishing industries to keep them informed of all their activities during construction. These notices include details on which parts of the Thames Estuary the construction will be at on a weekly basis as construction has moved offshore. Ecologically, the project has also taken steps to monitor and survey the site with advice from Natural England and CEFAS. Before construction, the surveys provide details on the ecological conditions of the site and the requirements that may need to be followed before, during and after construction. Sustainable construction has helped the project stick to its green ideals in most steps of its development.

March 2012




Society Roundup BGreen summarises the latest green events and initiatives mushrooming in the UAE from businesses we are now looking to expand our hydroponics system with the goal of teaching our students about indoor hydro-culture and showing them how easy it is to construct a small system for personal use.” In developing hydroponics solutions students learn about sustainable agriculture, seed germination, herb cultivation and aquatic chemistry. The school’s vegetable garden grows fresh produce, and organic waste is composted using Bokashi Bins to be used as fertiliser. Hydroponics at school Students at the Dubai International Academy (DIA) in their hugely popular student-led Eco-Club have been engaged in a wide array of “green” projects, including expanding their hydroponics systems by constructing indoor hydro-culture solutions with the help of an award from the Emirates Wildlife Society and a grant from HSBC for sustainable agriculture. The DIA Eco-Club began in 2008 when students started recycling paper, aluminium and plastic as an afterschool activity. Their projects include a hydroponics herb and vegetable garden, outdoor organic garden, recycling programme, composting, utility conservation, newsletters and an international partnership with an ecoschool in the Netherlands. “The Eco-Club has been a huge success,” commented Jennifer Hager, faculty member supervising and advising the activities of the club. “With the grants

“Every year, Sharjah households generate around 600,000 tonnes of waste”

March 2012

Bee’ah steps up public recycling In tribute to the UAE National Environment Day on February 4th, the Sharjah City Municipality and Bee’ah – the first organisation to bring residential recycling to the UAE – has officially rolled out the residential recycling programme throughout Sharjah, with the introduction of dual coloured bins to encourage waste segregation and empower residents to recycle at home. The shift from the current waste collection system to the dual-stream recycling process means residents will be tossing all recyclables – paper, cardboard, glass, plastics and aluminum – into a blue bin while all other general waste will be deposited in a green bin. Valuable recyclables are diverted away from the landfill, separated upon collection to be sent for recycling. “Every year, Sharjah households generate around 600,000 tonnes of waste of which we are recovering a small percentage for recycling and the rest go to landfill. This number will drastically reduce with the residential recycling programme, boosting an increase of 5 to 10 per cent towards our target. We are currently reaching more than 40 per cent and need every percent in order to reach our objective of 100 per cent waste to landfill by 2015,” said Salim Al Owais, Chairman of Bee’ah.

Pavements along the streets of Sharjah will be reengineered in collaboration with Sharjah City Municipality to accommodate 2,000 pairs of new blue and green bins. Homeowners will be provided with a starter kit consisting of a flyer, and blue and green bin liners. Volunteers will assist with door-to-door training within each neighbourhood as the programme is rolled out throughout the year. Turtle-themed awareness 50 students took part in a beachside competition hosted by Emirates Wildlife Society WWF (EWS-WWF) to raise awareness of the conservation needs of marine turtles and to mark UAE Environment Day on 4th February. Held at The Westin Dubai, children used craft materials to make a comic strip story, while older children were to make 3D models of turtles, after learning about marine turtles’ biology, lifecycle, threats and conservation needs as part of the organisation’s Marine Turtle Conservation Project. This event comes as part of ongoing efforts by EWS-WWF to understand and protect the migratory routes of Hawksbill turtles in the region through the Marine Turtle Conservation Project. The third year of turtle tagging will start later this year in the UAE, Iran, Qatar and Oman. The beach at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina and The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina were recently awarded with a Blue Flag, making it the first Blue Flag beach in Dubai and marking a huge achievement for EWS-WWF as the National Coordinator for the global environmental accolade. Furthermore, the youngsters participating have also been involved in the Eco Schools Programme which has been running since 2010 and aims to educate children from a young age about good environmental practice.


Society | GREEN SPY

Green Spy | Society

The Road to EV Heaven This month, our Green Spy investigates ways to ease the weighty problem of energy storage off of Electric Vehicles and on to the roads.


e ask a lot of our modern steeds—keep me cool in the desert heat, play my favourite tunes on demand, get me from zero to sixty in three-point-five, and while you’re at it, cut down on those noxious emissions! It’s the last of those demands that taxes our vehicles the most, since running on battery power can be a heavy load on the car—literally. Let’s imagine a world where the energy storage burden is shifted from our cars to the roads, like a massive drive-thru service for electricity. My top secret sources tell me that this may not just be a pipe dream. A Stanford University research team are working on a high-efficiency charging system that uses magnetic fields to wirelessly transmit large electric currents between metal coils placed several metres apart. The idea is to develop an electric highway to allow EVs to get a pick-me-up on the go. A continuous supply of power reportedly would allow EVs to cut battery size by 80 per cent, which could translate to lower prices. A wireless charging system would address the barriers to entry for automotive giants, as well as concerns motorists may have: their limited driving range.

March 2012

Here’s how the wireless system would work: a series of coils connected to an electric current would be embedded in the

highway. Receiving coils attached to the bottom of the car would resonate as the vehicle drives by, creating magnetic

fields that continuously transfer electricity to charge the battery. The geniuses at Stanford recently filed a patent application for their wireless system. The next step is to test it in the laboratory and eventually try it out in the real world. The researchers need to make sure that the system won’t affect drivers and passengers (like by demagnetising their credit cards!) or the many microcomputers that control steering, navigation, air conditioning and other necessities. With an extremely high power transfer efficiency of 97 percent, the prototype may be the most energy efficient option we’ll see in the near future. Still, the research team will be making sure that the remaining 3 percent is lost as heat, and not as potentially dangerous radiation. The dream would be speeding down Emirates Road in a driverless electric vehicle that is wirelessly charged by solar power. In the meantime, let’s review: this would entail cheaper EVs that go longer and faster. Sign me up!

DIARY | Society

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

2nd International Conference on Renewable Energy: Generation and Applications (ICREGA’12) 4-7 March, Al Ain ICREGA brings scientists and engineers across fields to swap information on renewable energy applications. The conference, organised by UAE University, will span solar photovoltaic and thermal energy systems to Nanoenergy and its scope in the region. 3rd Annual MENA Natural Gas Distribution Summit 5-7 March, Abu Dhabi Featuring top industry speakers, the summit focuses on overcoming risks and challenges in the natural gas industry, the balance between demand and supply and energy efficiency strategies that can be incorporated into business practices. Big 5 Saudi 10-13 March, Jeddah The Big 5 Saudi will showcase the very latest concrete products, technologies and solutions supporting the heavy construction currently underway in Saudi Arabia. Smartech at WETEX 13-15 March, Dubai Smartech, a recent addition to WETEX, provides key B2B and B2C marketing and networking opportunities for those in the energy-efficient home appliances and green building products line. Gulf Environment Forum 25-27 March, Jeddah Saudi Arabia’s official environment exhibition and conference.

The 9th International Green Energy Expo & Conference Korea 28-30 March, Daegu Organised by the associations of wind, energy news and photovoltaic industries in Korea, this expo provides visitors with the latest in the international market, policy, finance, and technology. World Eco Construct 22-25 April, Abu Dhabi The international exhibtion on sustainable built environments is accompanied by 12 days of global summits, workshops and training courses. Construction Machinery Show 22-25 April, Jeddah The show will be the largest heavy

construction machinery event in the region. There are plans of a live auction and demonstration area for visitors to get a real idea of the capabilities of the equipment. Project Qatar 30 April – 3 May, Doha This show is in its 9th year, presenting the latest in trade construction, building, environmental technology & materials exhibition. MENASOL 2012 16-17 MAY, ABU DHABI The 4th edition of this event provides industry networking experience for the MENA Solar industry with over 300 VIP attendees involved in the CSP and PV sector.

March 2012


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COMMENT | Society

Missing Cultural Roots Romi Sebastian of the Doha Port Project ruminates on the lost cultural connection in modern architecture in the Middle East.


ver the last decade, the architecture in the Middle East somehow seems to make do without any character. The cities are getting choked in a jungle of concrete, steel and glass. One of the more difficult problems for expatriates in understanding the cities of the Middle East is their relative lack of a public realm. Globalisation has given form to buildings that resemble objects, with match-box designs and unfortunate functional separations. Designs are burdened by unnecessary stylistic demands. There seems to be this inherent copy-paste mindset among designers. This advocates methods of tweaking ideas from one cultural context and illogically pasting them onto another. As an architect, I often wonder why there is a perception that any element of Middle

East heritage - be it cultural or spiritual – is identified with the past and backwardness. Why is glass considered to be a material that symbolises ‘progress’ in the Middle East whereas traditional and practical materials like mud, clay, limestone are often related to concepts of crudeness and poverty? Images associated with “development” or “progress” does tend to look as if borrowed from elsewhere. This process of disassociating with one’s own heritage is a very harmful one. Being the tallest, biggest and longest does not lend personality to the architecture of a place. In recent years, the idea of building ‘green’ has been imported. I see these as being temporary trends set up to support marketing of related fields of construction. The ‘green’ term is certainly abused and misunderstood by most of the engineering empire. Architects now depend much on intelligent service systems to make up for their neglect in the basic building design. If well designed, a building’s skin should be able to breathe when needed, to shade when required, and be responsive to the conditions inside and outside. One would not require so called ‘green’ or ‘intelligent’ engineering methods to make up for a sluggish design process. Targeting maximum LEED points especially in GCC countries require more common sense and deeper understanding of the effect. I also urge clients and developers to be open-minded with respect to their LEED vision. Inappropriate implementation of add-on techniques has more often than not led to cumbersome processes. Advocating bicycle tracks or trying to invest in a rainwater harvesting system in the Middle East are some instances. Inexperienced individuals do not realise that considering these options in GCC countries is a waste of wealth, effort and energy, considering the facts that lay before us. Plainly speaking, the average rate of

annual rainfall in the Middle East is near negligible. I do agree that sometimes rain intensity is higher as experienced somewhere in the previous years. But this is not a strong criterion. By trying to harvest rain in the Middle East, one does not actually collect usable water. It turns into a scenario of collecting mud, dirt, and a little bit of contaminated water. This water then requires additional treatment for reuse. This requires chemicals and systems for treatment, money for these expensive mechanisms, more water to backwash the treatment filters, electricity to operate the pumps and trained manpower to maintain the tanks. In short, there’s no benefit for this idea but an endless and incessant burden. While it may fetch you extra points in the LEED ratings, the whole initiative, if analysed, is a wasteful one. In this part of the world, where methods of keeping the heat out and preventing its transfer are required, architects instead celebrate with glass. I do agree to the vision of LEED system and the benefit of this to people and the environment. However, professionals must realise the appropriate implementation of this in the right place and at the right time. There is no point in accommodating ample green ideas and techniques and ultimately land up with a building that’s not comfortable to live or work in. Common sense is the key. Traditional Islamic architecture included many innovative, functional and ecological design principles but none of them have been perpetuated by the new generation architects. As architects, we have to convince the Middle East’s elite and ourselves that the concept of importing ideas of ’progress’ will only kill the character of a place and its public realm. The future of architecture desperately lies in logical design, controlled urban growth and in the acceptance of one’s own cultural roots. Let’s go back to these roots then.

March 2012




Preserving ice in the desert


he Persian Yakhchal (‘ice pit’ in Farsi) predates modern refrigerators by thousands of years, combining ingenious architectural design with the simplicity of underground cooling. The earliest Yakhchal came to being around 400 BC, providing ancient Persians an ingenious way to store ice even in the middle of summer. The Yakhchal was essentially a giant clay dome-like structure up to 60 feet high. The refrigeration happened

March 2012

below ground, in huge caverns that could store up to 5,000 cubic metres of food and ice. The spiral-like shape with specially placed holes was used as a wind catcher that channels cool air down into the pit where the ice was stored, acting as a rudimentary air conditioning system. The walls were made of a special mortar known as ‘sarooj’ made of sand, clay, egg whites, lime, and goat hair. When combined and dried, the compound is extremely resistant to heat transfer and is almost waterproof.

Ice was brought down from the mountains in large quantities and stored in these yakhchals throughout the year for the towns to use. Some yakhchals attached special wind traps called ‘badgirs’ that were fundamentally giant walls curved off the side of the structure, to ensure that hot afternoon breezes during sandstorms wouldn’t reach the ice pit below. These structures were so ubiquitous in antiquity that even in modern day Iran, refrigerators are sometimes called yakhchals.

BGreen Magazine March 2012  

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

BGreen Magazine March 2012  

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