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Tuning down the costs From LED to CFL, how lighting solutions are saving businesses energy and money Also inside Energy and water Construction Green IT Eco-leisure Green business

Being the Green Sheikh The Emirati Royal talks about his sustainability mission

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Green IT


UN secretary general calls for global cleanenergy revolution in Abu Dhabi


Sabbahuddin Khan explains why saving energy in data centres is not rocket science


Saudi Arabia looks to address energy shortages by turning to alternative solutions


BuildGreen’s guide to the latest ecofriendly gadgets

energy and water



BuildGreen takes a detailed look at energy-saving lighting solutions Carla-Leanne Washbourne discusses the bureaucracy of climate change




Construction experts provide their top tips on retrofitting solutions Irish contractors Sammon Group talks about its UAE schoolbuilding projects





The Green Sheikh talks about his life, his mission and his inspirations


Booz & Company’s Dr Jürgen Ringbeck talks about the region’s travel industry




Branding agency Rufus Leonard reveals why greenwashing could soon be a thing of the past


Find out where the top GCC renewable energy investment opportunities exist



The green spy is back and this month targets illegal animal trading


Top sustainability professionals take part in the latest ENPARK event in Dubai



Editor’s Letter

Onwards and upwards I t’s been a great start to the year for the region’s sustainable industries. A timely kick-start was provided by the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi from January 17-20, which was well attended, lively and a sound platform from which to begin 2011. Top speakers included Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, and Pakistan’s somewhat beleaguered leader President Zardari. While their remits go far beyond the fight against global warming, they, along with other keynote speakers, used the show to try and motivate the region’s governments and businesses into action. While Ban Ki-moon talked about the need for a global clean-energy revolution, President Zardari went further, pointing out that the effects of global warming are already with us and that it is time to take responsibility for our actions. While he may have his detractors and critics back in his home

country, his message is one I am hoping to see repeated by various world leaders as we look to kick-start the revolution Ban Ki-moon called for — the next step, however, is action rather than words. For the BuildGreen team it’s also been an eventful month. Along with BuildGreen associate publisher Liam Williams, I was fortunate enough to be invited onto the radio show Siobhan Live on Dubai Eye 103.8. Featuring on the weekly Green Team, we discussed the magazine, the industry and reflected on our own experiences since our first issue hit the printers last April. If you missed the interview first time around, you can listen to the podcast online at This month is looking to be just as busy as last, but with the year already underway in emphatic fashion, I can say with some confidence that things are looking up for our growing industry.








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February 2011

Concerns at global shortage of qualified energy experts Renewable energy industry faces shortfall of fresh talent claims Siemens renewable energy head


here is a shortage of fresh talent entering the renewable energy industry, according to Siemens Renewable Energy Division chief executive officer René Umlauft. Speaking to BuildGreen at WFES, Umlauft said that in order for the renewable energy industry to continue developing more qualified people would be required. Responding to the charge that there was a lack of investment in potential graduates to work in the renewable energy field, Umlauft said: “Overall I have to say yes, we will definitely need more people in the renewable arena in the future. “For example, to erect wind turbines and maintain them so they can operate properly, the industry will need more qualified people. “With growing fleets of wind turbines worldwide we will need additional people who are willing, educated and trained to work on specific equipment,” he added.

Marwan Khraisheh, dean at Masdar Institute, agreed with Umlauft, stating: “There is a lot of education around the world and a lot of scattered activities and research projects on sustainability and renewable energy, but what is lacking is having it all under one roof, or having an integrated approach. “Abu Dhabi is answering this problem by creating Masdar Institute.” German company Siemens is currently working with universities across the globe to nurture new talent and has set up its own training centre in Bremen for both Siemens’ employees and its customers. Siemens is also working closely with the Masdar Institute. Umlauft said that educating young people and encouraging them to take an interest in environmental sciences was an important task at Siemens. “It creates an awareness of the environmental issues we face and is the

Siemens Renewable Energy Division chief executive officer René Umlauft.

best thing we can do to save energy as everybody can learn it,” he explained. “If you want people to go into the renewable arena or cleantech arena then you have to show them they will have fun.”

Climate change is the ‘new reality’

Pakistan’s president says climate change is already affecting the planet, while UN head Ban Ki-moon calls for a ‘clean energy revolution’ at energy summit


Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari declared climate change was already underway during his keynote speech at last month’s World Future Energy Summit, while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an energy revolution. Ban told the Abu Dhabi audience: “We need a global cleanenergy revolution — in 20 years’ time energy demand will increase globally by 40%.” The UN head said that sustainability worldwide required further public and private spending, adding that he believed the world to be “on the brink of a sustainable energy future”. Ban also said that Abu Dhabi was “now renowned as a hub of progress” pointing to the Masdar City projects as a vision of a sustainable future. Following Ban, Pakistan President Zardari’s message to delegates asserted that climate change was already upon us. “We have assaulted the balance of nature,” said Zardari. “Tomorrow is now and our arrogance has finally caught up with us.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addresses a packed auditorium at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

“We face drought, massive food shortages and possible starvation,” he warned, and pointed to the extent of the floods that devastated Pakistan last year and affected some 20 million citizens as a key example. In his speech, Zardari said the human race had taken a journey from denial to acceptance and noted that mankind “must accommodate this new reality”.

February 2011

New label breezes into business First consumer label for wind power industry discussed in more detail at last month’s World Economic Forum

KSA to push on with alternative energy solutions Senior Saudi Arabian official admits the Kingdom needs to focus on renewable and nuclear energy to meet domestic quota

The Kingdom earmarked US $133 million for renewable energy projects in its 2011 budget, as electricity demand rises at a rate of 8% a year. It is expected to triple to 121,000 megawatts by 2032. Yamani said he expected to produce solar energy in commercial quantities “sooner” than atomic power, with the latter option taking up to 10 years. “We will not just buy or import institutions and sell energy, we have to develop industries and research related to alternative energy,” added Yamani. Despite being home to a quarter of the world’s oil reserves, the kingdom will require eight million barrels of oil a day by 2028 just to meet its own domestic energy needs. KSA announced plans last year to build a renewable energy city, which has since encouraged green-inclined businessmen to visit the country. Areva chief executive Anne Lauvergeon recently revealed that the French nuclear reactor contractor was on the verge of signing a partnership agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Binladin Group on nuclear and solar energy cooperation.

The fast pace of growth in oil-rich Saudi Arabia has led the country to look towards alternative energy solutions.

In order to overcome its own domestic reliance on oil, Saudi Arabia has planned to invest heavily in renewable and nuclear energy sources. According to a government official, the country is in danger of burning most of its oil production domestically in less than 20 years if current consumption patterns continue. King Abdullah Atomic and Renewable Energy City president Hashim Yamani told the UK’s Financial Times: “Oil exports and economic growth will be constrained if there is no mix of alternative energy, we won’t be able to leverage prices of oil to build our institutions.”

The WindMade initiative is the wind power industry’s first global consumer label.


A global consumer label for companies using wind energy has been unveiled by a non-profit organisation. The WindMade initiative was born out of increasing consumer demand for sustainable products and has already received the support of global businesses and organisations. Steve Sawyer, Global Wind Energy Council secretary general and WindMade interim chief executive officer said: “Governments are dragging their feet, but consumers want to see change now. The private sector needs to step up to provide the solutions we need to respond to the global energy and climate crises. “With WindMade, we want to facilitate the change that the public demands.” Along with the Global Wind Energy Council, the initiative has received the support of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the LEGO Group, the UN Global Compact, Vestas Wind Systems and PricewaterhouseCoopers. According to a global survey undertaken last year by TNS Gallup, 92% of respondents

from a field of 25,000 consumers across 20 markets said they believed renewable energy to be a good solution to mitigating climate change, and would prefer products made with wind energy if given the option. The WindMade initiative has been pioneered by wind power giants Vestas Wind Systems who were recently awarded the Zayed Future Energy Prize at last month’s World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. Vestas Wind Systems chief executive officer Ditlev Engel said he hoped it would help give consumers the option to choose more sustainable products. “We hope that this will create a strong element of consumer pull which will accelerate the pace of wind energy development globally,” remarked Engel. “We strongly encourage forward-looking companies to join us in this effort.” WWF director general James Leape commented: “It is crucial that the WindMade criteria live up to the high standards necessary for the label to serve consumers’ desire to make tangible impact and boost clean renewables. “We hope to see WindMade develop into a good example of a standard for corporations to close the gap between ambition and reality in the important area of renewable energy.” The WindMade initiative was presented in more detail at a high-level gathering of the founding partners during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month.



February 2011

Green briefs EV-pilot system set for launch at Masdar City Masdar has announced an electric vehicle (EV) pilot in collaboration with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), which will test the technology’s feasibility as a point-to-point transportation solution for Masdar City. Masdar project manager in strategic partnerships Buthaina Al Mazrui said: “The launch of this pilot project is important to validate an electric vehicle transportation system for Masdar City and the region. “This project will provide regional reference to the car-manufacturers, battery and other technology providers.”

A fleet of 10 Mitsubishi Motor’s i-MiEV new-generation electric vehicle, which is powered by a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery and has a top speed of 130km/h, will be deployed for the first three months of the one-year pilot. MHI Abu Dhabi Office general manager Kinya Watanabe remarked: “Masdar City provides a real-life setting for residents to use our new vehicle technology and to begin to rely on electric-powered forms of transportation.” Residents of Masdar City and employees of Masdar will have access to the transportation system during the period of the pilot.

As Masdar City starts to appear out of the desert, 10 i-MiEV vehicles are to be tested at the site as part of a one-year pilot scheme.

Dewa announces green-tech expo

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has announced plans to launch a green technologies exhibition to take place alongside March’s WETEX 2011.


Dewa executive vice-president – customer service Abdulla Al Hajiri at the launch event for SmarTech.

WETEX, a B2B exhibition that focuses on water, energy, technology and environment, will introduce SmarTech, a B2B and B2C showcase for energy-efficient technologies. Dewa executive vice-president – customer service Abdulla Al Hajiri said: “Conservation of energy and water resources and safeguarding our environment should not be mere wishful thinking, but effective action should be implemented on the ground. “SmarTech at WETEX 2011 will give green and energy-efficient technology a platform.” As an added incentive to sign up to exhibit at the new show, participating brands and products that meet DEWA’s energyefficiency criteria will receive an official note of recommendation from the authority. The 13th edition of WETEX is due to take place at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from March 8-10.

CO2 reduction in UAE praised by German expert A German energy expert has praised the UAE for its “leading role” in CO2 reduction in the Middle East. Hans Altmann, regional manager of energy service provider Techem, called the country a “pioneer” in its environmental endeavours, citing the introduction of the Strata law and green building codes programme Estidama as core example of its environmental commitment. Altmann said: “As the influence of CO2 emissions on the environment constantly grows, UAE decision makers have taken the right decisions to prepare the country and its consumers for future energy usage. “There are regulations in place stipulating that up to 70% of the total utility bill reflects the actual consumption, while the final balances are fixed costs. These percentages comprise the cost of a tenant’s consumption as well as the costs arising in common areas.” Altmann said that a more conscious behaviour of energy consumption has acted to encourage users to save on energy use as they will see substantial cost savings on their monthly bills, while users who consume energy excessively will receive significantly higher bills.

Techem’s Hans Altmann praised the UAE for introducing new green building codes.

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February 2011


What was said at

WFES 2011... Find out what speakers, exhibitors and delegates had to say at last month’s World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi

“It is a very important summit in the region and it is becoming more important as time goes by. We see this as a platform to promote our company in the UAE, and it is positioning the UAE as a centre of new technologies, renewable energy and environmental initiatives and we would like to be part of that.”

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon

Bee’ah general manager Khaled Al Huraimel

Masdar chief executive officer Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber

IRENA acting interim director general Adnan Amin

“In the past four years the World Future Energy Summit has become one of the premier annual events on renewable and sustainable energy. Abu Dhabi is becoming justifiably, renowned as a hub of progress. The Masdar initiative speaks of a vision to build on and go beyond the age of fossil fuels to a new sustainable future.”

“The most important progress made over 2010 was the shift from a topdown internationally driven approach, to a more realistic bottom-up country-led effort. As a result we now have a substantive and balanced package of decisions and a clear roadmap of the way forward. These are significant developments that bring us close to a deal and demonstrate that international dialogue and cooperation can yield results.”


“We hope to become an authority and accessible repository of global knowledge and information on renewable energy. We are in a time of great opportunity and immense possibility.”

“Cooperation between Iceland and Abu Dhabi demonstrates how the world is indeed changing. Our joint efforts can open gateways towards a sustainable future.”

“Mother Earth has paid a heavy price for our irresponsible energy addiction. We have taken from her but not given back and we have assaulted the balance of nature. Our arrogance has finally caught up with us. This is the moment of a beginning of a new era and the future is in our own hands.”

Iceland president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson

Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari

“International agreements without national implementation are toothless, and national efforts without international cooperation limit the stage for innovation, business and vision. After Cancun the spotlight now turns to national governments to transform the Cancun agreement into action for national policies to provide the muscle that implements international will.”

“We have many students here talking about and demonstrating their projects and the activities they are doing. By having the students mingle with business leaders they are becoming more involved of what it takes to become an entrepreneur.”

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

“It is important to be here because there are lot of experts and professionals looking for energy-efficient and sustainable ideas and products. Cork is an environmentally-friendly material, so in my opinion I feel we are in the right place.” Amorim general manager and APCOR representative Carlos Manuel

Masdar Institute dean Marwan Khraisheh

“I can see the commitment from Masdar and everything that comes with it here, as well as from other countries which have plans for renewable energy such as Egypt, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Something good is going on here.” Siemens Renewable Energy Division chief executive officer René Umlauft

“All the big players are here exhibiting. When we started exhibiting here back in 2008 it was perhaps more of a mix, but now all the big players are here. This show’s reputation is growing.” Jotun Abu Dhabi general manager Sverre Knudsen



February 2011

Around the world

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




Eco family undertake six-month carbon-cutting experiment

Is the world sinking?

An adventurous family in Sweden is taking part in a six-month experiment to try and significantly reduce its carbon footprint. The Lindell family will have to live a ‘oneton life’ for six months as they attempt to prove that a family can still lead a normal, modern life, despite a significant reduction in its carbon footprint. The family of four have moved into a new “climate-conscious” house while their energy consumption, eating habits, car trips and more will be indexed and documented. Nils Lindell, the family’s father, said: “We’ve always liked adventures and challenges, and working out a climatesmart lifestyle is just about the most exciting thing imaginable. “We’re getting the chance to gain unique expertise for ourselves at the same time as we inspire others.”

Nakheel, the development company behind Dubai’s iconic islands project, The World, has issued a statement denying the islands are sinking. A British lawyer told a property tribunal in Dubai that the islands were sinking, with the sands eroding and that navigational channels between them were silting up. Richard Wilmot-Smith QC, for Penguin Marine, told judges: “The islands are gradually falling back into the sea.” Last month the tribunal found for Nakheel, stating full reasoning would be disclosed at a later date. Nakheel’s Graham Lovett remarked that the project was not dead; he did, however, admit it was currently “in a coma”. “Our periodical survey over the past three years did not observe any substantial erosion that required sand nourishment,” Lovett added.





Methane gobbling bacteria came to spill aid

Rubbish hotel open for business

Following last year’s huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill, scientists have discovered bacteria in the sea around the spill has gobbled up mass amounts of methane. According to research published by the journal Science, as the oil continued to spill the bacteria bloomed swiftly consuming the growing quantities of gas and breaking down methane at a rate that could be the fastest ever recorded in ocean waters. University of California professor of microbial geochemistry David Valentine said: “Whether or not it’s the fastest ever observed, it’s the fastest I’ve either observed myself or seen published.” Methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas, is more potent than carbon dioxide and made up for close to 20% of the released material from the oil spill.

A hotel made entirely of rubbish has opened in Spain. The walls of the Beach Garbage Hotel are covered with litter deposited by the tide in Europe, as well as landfill waste and items bought at flea markets. The hotel in Spanish capital Madrid was designed by German artist Ha Schult, who built the five-bedroom hotel for part of the city’s hosting of international tourism fair Fitur. Schult said: “I created the Beach Garbage Hotel because the oceans of our planet are the biggest garbage dump.” According to its designer, 30% to 40% of the objects found in the temporary guesthouse were found on beaches in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.



ADD Switching the complete lighting system of InterContinental and Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City Hotels with state of the art LED technology is the industry’s first project of this magnitude in the region. Together with Philips, the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) properties in Dubai Festival City have replaced their exterior façade with dynamic architectural LED lighting solutions as phase one of the project. All interior lighting will be completed in phase two, covering a total of 35,000 light points in hotel rooms, suites and public areas. InterContinental and Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City are setting the benchmark for the region’s best practice in Green. Aiming to reduce their carbon footprint, the hotels will be saving almost 2,000,000 kg per year of CO2 emission starting from today, as they switch on their new energy efficient lights. The new lighting solution will also help the hotels save approximately 80% of their energy costs incurred on lighting.

The Hotel’s Façade Lighting iColor® Accent Powercore is a direct view linear LED fixture ideally suited for creating long ribbons of color and color-changing effects. Variable resolution offers the precision to display large-scale video, graphics, and intricately designed effects in a host of architectural, retail, and entertainment settings. iColor Accent Powercore offers the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of Powercore® technology in an outdoor-rated, road-ready aluminum housing

The Hotel’s Indoor Lighting Energy efficient and beautifully effective, LED’s now offer more exciting possibilities for lightwhatever the application. Create playful moods, add extra sparkle, or light flexible ambiences that enhance your space with the power of light. Master LED lamps are the easy, reliable way to illuminate hotels, restaurants, fashion stores, jeweler shops etc. All with a fast payback time that mean your investment will still look good in years to come.

Philips Master LED Glow A60 8W


February 2011


Illuminating a brighter future Lighting professionals are confident that energy-saving solutions are now capable of not only cutting a building’s energy usage, but also a building’s operating costs. Here they discuss the benefits of different lighting solutions and the important role all technologies will play in an energy-efficient future


n a fast developing region such as the Middle East, where new high-rise towers and expensive construction developments appear at a rapid rate, it is arguable that lighting is as aesthetically important as the materials used to construct a building’s facade. Lighting, however, uses up a huge amount of energy and lighting costs account for some 16-25% of total energy consumption worldwide, according to Wilbert Heijmans, group exhibitions director at Epoc Messe Frankfurt GmbH, the group behind the Light Middle East exhibition, which took place in Dubai in October and November of last year. Heijmans notes: “According to industry research and International Energy Agency figures, a global switch to energy-efficient lighting systems

An Illume CFL bulb from Ecobility.

could potentially save a whopping AED 557.31 billion (US $151.75 billion) in energy bills, which represents an overall 40% reduction in energy use.” Along with the cost reductions that come with the installation of energysaving light bulbs, there are also obvious environmental benefits from wide-spread lighting investments with a much lower carbon footprint to account for. Tamer Abolghar, Egypt country manager and East Africa lighting general manager for Philips, says that nearly 42% of electricity expenditure in hotels is attributed to lighting, and claims that the company’s latest energy-efficient technologies could potentially save 80% of that cost. As a result, companies looking to help businesses meet the growing demand for energy-efficient lighting in the Middle East are entering the market in ever-larger numbers. Thierry Burot, managing director of Switch-Made Middle East, says that demand has changed expeditiously in the last five years. Burot notes: “In the beginning it was tough as the technology was expensive and people were cautious, but now our products have increased in terms of performance. “When we started in Europe we knew we were on the right foot and that this would be the future, and already we have six people working in the Middle East, and there will be more because the demand is huge.” RWN Trading marketing director Carol Prince says that in the UAE at least, one of the key reasons behind

The lighting industry does not stand still and technology is playing a big part and will continue evolve as demand requires it to” this growth in businesses entering the market is due to an acceptance of ever-changing technologies. Prince remarks: “The UAE is a nation that is completely comfortable with technology in all aspects of our office and our home life, and in that respect lighting is no different. “We have smart automation, wireless solutions and voice-activated lighting; our products are like mini computers with chips and sensors built in.

“The lighting industry does not stand still and technology is playing a big part and will continue to evolve as demand requires it to,” she adds.

TOP LEFT AND BELOW: An application of Switch-Made’s LED lighting products in an office environment. CENTER LEFT: RWN Trading’s products in use.

RWN’s Carol Prince.

Ecobility’s Karim Aly.

Switch-Made Middle East’s Thierry Burot.

Blinding history While all systems have their benefits, they also come with a fair amount of history. Switch-Made’s Burot says that LED technology has existed for more than 50 years, but it now at a point where improvements are coming along at a fast pace — so much so that the operating costs associated with LEDs will continue to drop. “You have it in your CD player and TV,” points out Burot. “In the last three or four years performance has improved, so the products are cost effective. “Today the initial investment is still high but there is a return. As the technology develops costs will reduce, like Plasma TVs,” he notes.


Differing solutions Of all the energy-saving lighting solutions available on the market, Switch-Made Middle East’s Burot says that light-emitting diode (LED) lamps offer an energy saving of around 70% compared to conventional bulbs. Of LEDs, Burot says one of the key benefits of an LED lamp is its 50,000 hour lifetime.

“This is about 15 years based on eight hours of daily usage,” explains Burot. “This is even more when you install intelligent sensory systems. “Another benefit is the heat dissipation, because an LED is an electronic component and it’s fully recyclable, so there is nothing that can be harmful to the environment.” Backing the case for the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) is Karim Aly, managing partner at Ecobility. Aly says: “Using CFL bulbs allows us to lead more sustainable lifestyles without having to compromise on quality, while at the same time drastically cutting our electricity bills. “CFLs use a completely different technology to incandescent bulbs,” he explains. “They consume about 80% less power and give out the same amount of light, while lasting up to 10-times longer and give off 70% less heat on average.” RWN Trading’s Prince sways towards metal halide systems, which she says provide “an intense illumination”. Prince argues: “This primary characteristic also has a secondary, space-saving benefit as well. A single metal halide fixture is capable of providing several hundred watts of light energy while other lighting systems require multiple units to provide the same light output. “Metal halides also offer aesthetic benefits that cannot be reproduced by fluorescent lighting systems and are available in different wattage and colour temperatures. “More importantly, they are differentiated by the manner in which they start, falling under either ‘probe-start’ or ‘pulse-start’ systems,” she adds. “It is crucial, however, to distinguish the different bulb types to accurately match the bulbs and their wattages to their ballast type as they are system-specific — basically the ‘wrong’ bulb will not work with incompatible systems.”



February 2011

While LED technology has been with us for around five decades, it is only in the last two decades that CFL technology has exploded in worldwide popularity, according to Ecobility’s Aly. Aly remarks: “With the technology available today, CFL bulbs have become extremely versatile. They are available in variety of shapes and sizes and are a far cry from the oversized spiral design that was common in the 1990s.” The changing face of popular lighting products is now evident when compared to the products of the past, says Lutron specification sales manager Shadi Kharouf. Kharouf says: “When we began in the late 1950s in New York, lighting control was complicated and expensive, requiring bulky rheostats that used a lot of energy and generated a great deal of heat. “Today, every product is guaranteed to save energy by reducing electrical consumption. We have hundreds of lighting control devices and systems for fluorescent, halogen incandescent,

Switch-Made’s illuminated headquarters in France.

magnetic low-voltage, electronic lowvoltage and LED light sources.” Future luminosity As lighting solutions technology continues to develop, the lighting industry clearly has a bright future, according to SwitchMade’s Burot. Burot says: “The incandescent lamp is more than 100 years old and it is still the same today. “For LED we completely changed the principles and I don’t know where it will stop in terms of performance. Two or three years

ago the lumen per watt was about 20 or 30 and now it is above 100, which is better than any conventional lighting apart from metal halide.” Aly argues that LED offers the brightest future for the lighting industry. “It is more efficient, emits virtually no heat, lasts longer and is environmentally friendly,” says Aly of LED. “The technology is still evolving, however, and its viable applications remain limited compared to the wide array of applications served by incandescent, halogen and fluorescent technologies.” RWN Trading’s Prince comments that the need to be sustainable will dictate the advancement in lighting technology. Prince notes: “There is no ignoring the fact that too much energy is being used and wasted and the lighting industry has to work together to find a solution where we can offer our clients superb quality, sustainable light bulbs at a price that suits. “It’s a tall order, but one that I am sure is achievable if you consider the advancements that have been made over the last 20 years.”

The benefits of LED streetlights From cost savings to a lower carbon footprint, Ruud Lighting chairman Alan Ruud explains why more and more cities across the globe are looking to invest in LED streetlights



ith LED streetlights lasting upwards of 15 years with near zero-maintenance, significant money can be saved over time, says Ruud Lighting chairman Alan Ruud. The savings gained from LEDway streetlights can be put to use in other areas, notes Rudd, as municipalities look for funds to pay for improving aging infrastructures and other expenses. Rudd says: “Governments, municipalities and utilities are planning energy savings and sustainability into their budgets. We’ve talked to a lot of public works people who are lining up projects that will use less energy by switching to environmentallyconscious LED street lighting. “The drive is to use the latest LED technology that emits brighter, whiter light, while reducing energy costs and carbon footprint,” he asserts. “Environmental return on investment begins immediately, while communities begin to see return on economic investments much faster than with other green technologies.”

Why convert to LED streetlights? Rudd affirms that LEDway streetlights are being installed at a growing pace and BetaLED now has thousands of successful installations globally. “With reduced energy and maintenance costs, LEDway streetlights deliver lower total cost of ownership, freeing up money for other budgetary or capital expenses,” he says. “In Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, LEDway streetlights have a life rating four times greater than the 250-watt high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps they replaced and save up to 50% in energy costs. “Energy savings from LEDway streetlights is typically 40-60% compared to high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps. In Raleigh, energy savings are also estimated at 50%,” continues Rudd. “With their energy efficiencies and leading technologies, LED streetlights cut waste and reduce the amount of energy used extensively, thereby reducing a municipality’s carbon footprint. “People can feel better that they are only using what they need.”

An important feature of the upgrading of Al Saleem Street in Abu Dhabi (pictured) was the installation of LED luminaires, which were provided by Ruud Lighting. The lights led to a reduction in energy consumption of around 50% along the street and a maintenance-related cost saving, due to the extended lifespan of LED luminaires when compared to the previous light installations along the street. The lights have provided an added environment benefit through the avoidance of fluorescent luminaires, which contain high quantities of mercury, and visual acuity for the road users has been improved due to LED’s superior luminosity.


February 2011


Renewable integration


Dr Hatem Zeineldin, assistant professor in the electrical power programme at Masdar Institute, discusses the integration of renewable energy in power systems and the work being undertaken at carbon-neutral city’s pioneering Institute of Science and Technology


eing at the forefront of science and technology is not only exciting, it’s also challenging. Today, we at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology are researching how to make mankind’s presence on earth more sustainable. In the arena of sustainability, one of the most significant of issues is how we power our lives through electricity. Of the some 474 exajoules of energy that is estimated to have been consumed globally in 2008, some 14% was in the form of electricity, of which it is believed that up to 80-90% originated from the combustion of fossil fuels — a method of releasing energy that is blamed today for the global climate change that imperils our planet. Electricity, in short, has a huge role in modern life, and we currently still source most of it from unsustainable fuels. It should be clear then that the need of the hour is to evolve mankind’s current electricity system, which is wasteful, inefficient and even environmentally damaging, to one that is intelligent, efficient, forward thinking and sustainable. In the electricity system, two parts that have been identified as being critical for this evolutionary process are the source of power and its method of distribution. That is why the research of my team and others at Masdar Institute is so crucial — we are investigating new and clean sources of energy, and also the systems needed to distribute their power conveniently, safely and economically. As most people today know, part of evolving the electricity system to be more sustainable includes tapping into renewable energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal, biofuel and others. Today we have all seen some application of renewable energy — perhaps in the form of a solar powered bus station or from a towering wind turbine. But these renewable energy applications tend to be on a very small scale and currently only contribute to a fraction of the world’s electricity needs.

The Wind Tower at Masdar Institute’s campus.

February 2011

Renewable energy applications tend to be on a very small scale and currently contribute only a fraction of the world’s electricity needs”

The Knowledge Centre at Masdar Institute.

One of the big challenges to the global push towards sustainability is evolving renewable energy from oneoff applications to where it is integrated into the grid systems that power our cities and developments. Masdar City, which is the clean-tech cluster of the Masdar initiative and the home of Masdar Institute, aims to be a pioneer in large-scale integration of distributed generation. The reason for this current limitation is that traditional power grids were created to follow a basic array system. A utility provider had perhaps one or two remotely located power plants which, through thousands of miles of underground and overhead cabling, provided power to an area. The utility provider was the only source for power on the grid with power flowing out from its core to various clients on its network through a system that tends to have around 10% of line losses. But nowadays we are looking at microgrids, which are a group of microgenerators connected to the main utility grid. While before there may have been one or two sources of power on a grid, in our sustainable future, power will be generated from a host of sources such as solar panels on an individual’s house, a windmill on school grounds or a biofuel cell at a dairy farm.

include distribution network models and renewable and distributed energy sources models. We will also be working to develop a control scheme for facilitating microgrid operation. The study will then assess the impact of the integration of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and fuel cells in the form of microgrids on distribution system protection and operation. My own speciality is in islanding detection of renewable energy sources. I work in algorithms to create the software systems that lend the energy network the intelligence and sensitivity to detect distributed generation islanded operation. Islanding protection is one of our key areas of investigation for distribution system protection issues, as well as loss of coordination, nuisance fuse tripping, and loss of protective device sensitivity. New protection schemes will be proposed to overcome any negative impacts that could be imposed as a result of microgrid operation. We at Masdar Institute are doing the groundwork today to create the electricity system of tomorrow. It is our hope that with the support of the Abu Dhabi government and the hard work and brilliance of Masdar Institute’s professors and students, we can help make these dreams a reality.


Student accommodation at Masdar Institute.

This will not only reduce dependence on conventional fossil fuel-sourced electricity, but also reduce line-losses, as the microgrid system puts the source and the user side-by-side, eliminating the need for the miles of cabling to get energy to a user. A third potential benefit of the microgrid system, beyond the use of renewable energy and reduced line losses, can be in the form of wealth generation. With a feed-in tariff system, a homeowner whose solar panels collect more energy than he needs can sell it back to the shared network and turn a profit. In order to make this idea a reality, scientists have to create the technology and systems needed to evolve our electricity system. To accommodate renewable energy technologies, reduce cost and improve efficiency, the existing grid has to undergo some serious changes that bring complications and sophistication to what was a very basic and limited system. Some of these challenges include voltage regulation, harmonics, protection coordination and islanding. Studies related to the core technology of renewable energy microgrids are required to assure safe, reliable cost-effective and efficient operation of the power system. The new power grid system needs to be evolved to handle the complexities and unique challenges of a future where individual houses and complexes may have their own solar panel on the roof or windmill in their backyard. Dealing with those complications and adding the necessary sophistication is what Masdar Institute is hoping to address through innovative research. We are looking to provide systems needed to ensure microgrids can safely provide quality and dependable energy. Part of that includes the development of distribution system models that


February 2011

A time and a place ENERGY AND WATER

In the fifth and final part of her series on carbon capture and the challenges presented by global warming, Carla-Leanne Washbourne discusses the international politics and bureaucracy within the policy setting strategies of climate control


hroughout this series of articles we have considered the who’s, how’s and wherefores of climate mitigation, from basic management solutions such as stricter regulation and implementation of carbon abatement technologies, to carbon capture and storage technologies and solar radiation management techniques. In this final column we will consider the source of overarching control over the application all of these ideas — legislation and policy. Climate change is a global phenomenon, necessitating a global approach to its management. From the outset of a global scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate influence this has proven problematic. At the most basic level, most of these schemes require a fixed ‘price’ of carbon as a pollutant to be determined, against which emitters will be required to pay upfront for their emissions or be economically penalised for over-emitting through a carbon credit allocation structure. This system would also theoretically allow global ‘trade’ in carbon as an economic commodity. The lack of international and regional agreement on carbon reduction targets has led to a stalemate between many of the globes largest current emitters and growing industrial economies.

Legislation must not be at the cost of development but must be allied to it”


Disagreement regarding relative merits and complexities of carbon trading schemes, allocations, payments and ultimately ownership of emissions has led to the unsatisfactory conclusion of recent climate action meetings. Most geoengineering technologies and other large-scale physical interventions are some years in development away from being implemented in the real-world as legitimate climate control solutions.

The lack of an international agreement on carbon reduction targets has led to a stalemate among nations, according to Carla-Leanne Washbourne.

Their development is inherently tied into policy setting with respect to climate change, with funding for these projects only becoming available when it is prudent and timely for governments and private investors to provide it. Recent political activities have tended to create obstacles in the roll-out of more adventurous climate control technologies, due to unresolved practical and environmental concerns. In late 2010, for example, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity agreed a moratorium on geoengineering. This sounds damning, but in reality simply limits the industrial-scale implementation of geoengineering technologies prior to the provision of evidence that they will

not cause discernable ecosystem and biodiversity damage. This, however, does mean that these technologies require an unprecedented, overarching international collaboration in data collection, development and investment if they are to be approved and effectively utilised. Little can be achieved in limiting anthropogenic climate change without the support of legislative bodies and policy writers; an effective adoption of climate policy requires, above all else, cooperation between countries, between industries and between individuals. These changes cannot be achieved unilaterally — global values of carbon must be appropriately and sensitively fixed in order to ensure economic stability for both economically developed and developing nations, legislation must not be at the cost of development but must be allied to it. Evaluation of and investment in physical climate change interventions should also be made with the same considerations. Nations must decide upon their respective responsibilities in the creation and mitigation of the climate crisis and only after these basic agreements are made will the legislative climate be appropriate for effective, large scale, multilateral action to begin.

‘The industries leading waterless urinal’


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Fuelling the environment

February 2011


Petrol stations have rarely been thought of as places of eco-friendly inspiration, but one facility in Dubai hopes to change that perception by offering customers a range of ecologically-sensitive services

ENOC’s Green Station in Emirates Hills, Dubai.


service station situated in Dubai’s Emirates Hills neighbourhood has opened offering a plethora of innovative environmental features such as solar-powered lighting, a waterless car-washing system, a waste segregation system and design upgrades to reduce noise pollution. The station is operated by Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), which claims the facility is the Middle East’s first ‘green service station’. How green a petrol station can be is clearly up for debate, but there can be no doubt of the sustainable attributes of some of the station’s ‘greener’ features. ENOC chief executive officer Saeed Abdullah Khoory says: “With the opening of the station, we are setting a trend not only in the UAE but also across the Middle East. We are encouraging Dubai residents to reduce their environmental footprints by using the green services we provide. The station generates half of its energy requirements from renewable sources and


Staff will encourage customers to take steps towards greener lifestyles”

customers use our services. Trained staff will encourage customers to take small but significant steps to adopt a greener lifestyle, by promoting recycling and using the waterless carwash.”

Features of ENOC’s ‘green service station’ Power conservation • Solar-powered pole lights and signage • Low-voltage LED lights for chiller, freezer and signage • Energy-saving air curtain • Motion detecting sensors

Half of the service station’s energy requirements are generated through renewable sources.

has a range of sustainable water features that aim to cut water consumption by a quarter. According to Zaid Al Qufaidi, chief executive officer of ENOC/EPPCO Retail Business Stream, the station is the first of many eco-friendly stations that the company intends to build. Al Qufaidi says: “We are excited that we can lessen environmental impact every time

Water conservation • Water recycling • Biowash – waterless car wash • Sensor type water taps • Two-stage flush systems in the toilets Waste management • Garbage segregation and recycling system • Garbage compaction system • Furniture used at the station is made from recycled material • Centralised vacuum system • Biodegradable plastic bags

February 2011

Top 7 retrofit tips CONSTRUCTION

Experts from the region and abroad offer advice on retrofitting an existing building for significant savings 1. Let the sun shine Buildings can easily and adequately be retrofitted with photovoltaic (PV) solar installations, according to Environment Power Systems vice president – technical Sander Trestain. “What’s more, once built, solar panel maintenance is extremely cheap; there are no moving parts or fuel, and typical running costs only amount to 1% of the system price,” he adds. However, AT Kearney Dubai principal Christian von Tschirschky explains that while 90% of installations in Germany have been retrofitted, integrating solar solutions from the drawing stage generally costs less and results in a more aestheticallypleasing design; something to consider if you have the option, but if not – it’s never too late. Furthermore, solar products are increasingly available in different colours, shapes and designs, so you’re sure to find an aesthetically ‘retro’-fitting solution for your building.

Solar products can be bought in a range of designs to suit your building.


The way in which a building is modified can vary enormously from property to property”

2. Use what you’ve got As US-based construction expert Steven Schoenknecht says, the greenest building is the one that is already built. If you’ve just started counting your carbon footprint, you’re certainly at an advantage if the structure already exists and those construction-based emissions are history. However, now it’s time to start renovating to transform the building into a sustainable icon, often many green solutions can be added at no additional costs.

3. Cheap and cheerful Adding to Steven’s point, industry buff Phil Clowes handily offers some examples of cost-effective green retrofit ideas, including installing olefin-based window coverings made from recycled soda bottles, which are “usually the same price as other fibreglass or polyester products”. Clowes, an advisor on window treatments at AmeriZona Products, also recommends installing LED lighting — at an initial cost — or replacing light bulbs with energy-efficient alternatives.

February 2011

4. Seal the deal Dubbed “the simple way to save energy” by UK-based design manager Nici Pickering, air sealing is a cheap and effective means of keeping heat in or out, depending on your preference and the time of year. “High-tech solutions to reducing energy and carbon emissions in building are worthwhile, but not before simple fabric improvements, such as air tightening, have been made,” asserts Pickering.

From thermal rooftop generation to LED light bulbs, retrofitting solutions come in all shapes and sizes.

6. Sky’s the limit For the more ambitious retrofitters out there, Mellor also suggests some more labourintensive modifications. “With regard to energy, most buildings could install thermal rooftop generation and indeed seek to share energy infrastructure with neighbouring buildings if possible. More intrusive measures include the installation of better-performing windows and super insulation, and building management systems to monitor resource use,” he says. Katie McGregor, BREEAM manager at independent third-party certification body BRE Global, adds that the way in which a building is modified can vary enormously from property to property. “This entirely depends on the current building, particularly when and how it was constructed, and how it is being managed,” says McGregor. “Each building should be considered on a case-by-case basis to work out where the best improvements can be made. “It may be that a simple approach such as changing light fittings has the greatest rewards, whereas in some cases more substantial works such as replacing sanitaryware to reduce water consumption and wastage is more appropriate,” she explains.

Air sealing is a cheap and effective way to keep the heat in or out, depending on your preference and the time of year” 7. Feeling flush On the topic of sanitary savings; these can be significant if the right products are installed, according to Urimat’s Vidyuth Kini. The supplier recently launched its latest waterless urinal line, Urimat Eco-compact. An ideal and sustainable alternative to traditional water-flushed urinals, the model does not require electricity, water or chemicals and can be installed easily anywhere, says Kini. Fittings such as the Eco-compact can save significant acquisition, maintenance and operating costs. Furthermore, there is no additional pipe work for the water inlet and cistern, so there is no need to break the wall when installing. You can simply remove the old unit, turn off the previous pipe work and use the existing drain – making it ideal for retrofits like ‘plug and play’.

Retrofitting a hotel can lead to significant savings in operating costs.


5. Easy eco-tel Our next tip relates to reducing operating costs specifically in hotels through clever retrofitting techniques. Many existing hotels are facing the challenge of retrofitting as the region’s municipalities set sustainable targets for the tourism sector. Andrew Mellor, group director at PRP Architects has a systematic approach to upgrading existing properties. “Our first steps would be to examine the soft measures that can be taken before any disruptive construction work takes place.

These soft measures include the education of management, the changing of fixtures and fittings to more environmentally-friendly alternatives, such as taps, light bulbs and appliances in the rooms.”


February 2011

Making the grade Sammon Group construction director Austin Duffy reveals how the family-run Irish company is meeting Abu Dhabi Education Council’s vision to deliver schools rated three on the Pearl-rating system, in record time




ecuring the budget and client buy-in can be one of the biggest challenges in delivering a sustainable project, according to Sammon Group. Sustainable objectives on the firm’s latest Middle East project to construct five schools under the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) Future Schools programme have, however, been driven by the client. “Sometimes it’s difficult to convince a client to integrate sustainable systems with the view that they will see a payback over 20 years, but the more intelligent clients are already thinking that way. Clients just need to understand the benefits, even if they don’t understand the technology,” says Sammon Group Middle East construction director Austin Duffy. As part of ADEC’s 10-year strategic plan to transform the education system, phase one of the Abu Dhabi Future Schools Programme involves the construction of 15 new institutions across the emirate. The business, which was established in Ireland in 1886, has been operating in the UAE for three years and was awarded one third of the tendered design-and-build contracts, last year.

We fully comply with our own environmental plan, even if it isn’t in the client brief. We implement wastemanagement plans, occupational health and safety practices and other elements of best practice commonly encountered in Europe”

The projects are located at Al Towaya, Al Jahly, Al Khazna in Al Ain, Al Khatem and Abu Dhabi West. But perhaps what is most significant, each school scheduled to be delivered in August and covering a combined total of one million square feet, has been designed to achieve an Estidama three-Pearl rating — the first of their kind. Delivering Pearls Working closely with ADEC, the design team and delivery partner Musanada,

Sammon Group will implement features such as energy-efficient air-conditioning systems, water conservation devices, PV panels for solar energy, solar panels for water heating, intelligent lighting controls, and landscaping featuring ‘eco-trees’ and ‘vertical gardens’. “The design and lifecycle of these buildings has to be at least 40 years, preferably heading towards 60 years; that is part of the design criteria brief. “These schools are also designed to be flexible and can be easily expanded for

February 2011

The design and lifecycle of these buildings has to be at least 40 years, preferably heading towards 60 years; that is part of the design criteria brief”


ADEC has ambitious building plans in place for the capital emirate.

A number of projects are being developed under ADEC’s school-building programme.

Government’s Department of Education, this included delivering a number of schools on a fast-track construction basis within a 20-week timeframe,” Duffy recalls. During its short time in the region, Sammon Group also partnered with Gems Education, dubbed the world’s largest private kindergarten-to-grade-12 education company, to deliver several large and reputable projects, including Gems Modern High School Dubai and Gems Millennium School, Sharjah. While it “wasn’t in the client’s requirements to achieve green

Sammon Group construction director Austin Duffy.

credentials” on the latter project, according to Duffy, the firm implemented some of its in-house, best-practice principles during the construction process. “We fully comply with our own environmental plan, even if it isn’t in the client brief. We implement waste-management plans, occupational health and safety

second and third phases. They are located in expanding communities and so must be built for the future,” asserts Duffy. The schools will also feature the latest technologies, such as interactive teaching boards, and a “dynamic layout”, he reveals. With competition among contractors at an all-time high, one may wonder how a family-run company, relatively new to the region, won these government-funded, highprofile projects. “We have expertise in design and build having completed a lot of work for the Irish


February 2011

RIGHT AND BELOW: Construction is underway on 15 schools in Abu Dhabi. Each is aiming to achieve a rating of three on the Estidama Pearl-rating system.


practices and other elements of best practice commonly encountered in Europe.” These processes include using material excavated during large earth-movement exercises for non-structure fill material on another project, as well as segregating materials within 40km of the construction site, where possible. On the Modern High School Dubai, it was necessary for the firm to work with the head teachers at the school, which has a capacity of more than 2500 pupils, to ensure a smooth relocation from the previous site.

If you want sustainable schools delivered quickly, in a limited timeframe and there is a lot of repeat design involved, preengineered solutions are the way to go”


The firm was also working to a short, sevenmonth timeline. “We must also create better environments to work in. On all of our projects, a huge amount of thought has gone into the acoustics, optimum lighting levels, solar shading, external elevations and indoor air quality,” says Duffy. “In some of the Dubai schools we introduced a simple-but-innovative system incorporating tiers of air-ventilation fans, allowing more recycling and movement of air. This means that for a couple of months of the year, during winter, the air conditioning can be switched off.

“It’s a very simple idea that works well and that is why when we asked for feedback from head teachers, this was one of the things suggested.” But Duffy says it’s even more essential for all parties to fully embrace the task of creating a sustainable building. “Don’t have a back-up plan,” he advises. “Often, clients invest massive amounts of money implementing sustainable features and still install the big chillers and boilers — just in case. That is not truly embracing the concept.” If done properly, Duffy suggests 10-20% savings can be made on the lifecycle cost of a building. Overcoming obstacles However, while the firm has had a positive response to its methods in this region, as

with all new markets, entering the Middle East has posed challenges for the firm. “There are things we have to worry about here that we don’t have to consider in Ireland. The UAE schools are larger and of a very high quality. “The challenge any international company expanding into the Middle East will experience is training the labour force,” explains Duffy. “We bring our formwork systems from Europe and they are quite advanced products. If I bought over four Irish carpenters, they would erect the system like clockwork, but the local workforce — which comprises several nationalities — may take a while to understand new formwork systems.” The firm uses the reusable aluminium formwork solutions — “that don’t require huge cranes” — as an environmentally-

February 2011

The challenge any international company expanding into the Middle East will experience is training the labour force”


“We can do a 32-classroom school in 20 weeks having taken possession of the site,” asserts Duffy. Whether it’s speedy construction or environmental awareness that gives a contractor an edge in today’s competitive industry, every firm must have one — and it seems Sammon Group has both.


ABOVE: Workers get to grip with the technical side of constructing a pearlrated school.

friendly alternative to traditional timber frames, which tend to be used and then disposed of. “To overcome training challenges, we have bought over teams from the UK and Ireland to train staff and the progress has been remarkable,” Duffy notes. “It’s been a learning curve and we now consider the introduction of new western practices to be working well. No matter what culture workers are from, once they have found a better way to do things and witnessed the benefits in terms of productivity, it becomes second nature.” Another challenge has been finding suppliers with a “likeminded” attitude to environmental considerations, says Duffy. “Any contractor that works for Sammon must adhere to our quality-management systems, including environmentalmanagement plans,” he insists. “We issue questionnaires and if they can’t answer the questions they don’t

make it onto our supplier list — we are seeking likeminded people, not just lip service and have dedicated people to manage this side of the business.” However, Duffy also highlights one particular benefit of working in the region; the weather: “The dry climate means we can get the structure and interior finishes completed early without worrying about waterproofing the roof and windows. This allows us to start the fit-out earlier in the construction process.” It seems timely delivery is as important as environmental considerations for Abu Dhabi, as demand for educational institutes increases in the emirate. One method that has helped the firm stick to strict construction schedules has been pre-engineered buildings, which Duffy dubs “the future of schools construction”. “It’s cheaper to build pre-engineered schools; thought has gone into every aspect and they’re delivered very quickly onsite,” he notes. “If you want schools delivered quickly, in a limited timeframe and there is a lot of repeat design involved, pre-engineered solutions are the way to go. It’s something we have done a lot of work on, which we have carried into the GCC market and it has been welcomed.

Construction trivia • Sammon Group is tendering for kindergartens, private education facilities and university buildings • It has been operating in the UAE for the last three years • The firm has delivered 1.5 million ft² of school accommodation in the UAE • The five ADEC schools the company is currently working on will provide 5200 new school places • These schools are designed and constructed to achieve an Estidama three Pearl rating • Construction commenced in July 2010 and is scheduled to be completed in August 2011

Profile Austin Duffy, Sammon Group’s regional construction director, is responsible for the management of operations in the MENA region, including the Abu Dhabi Government’s Future School Building Programme. With more than 17 years’ experience in the construction industry in the Middle East, Ireland, UK and the US, and a former director of a leading international project management company, Austin has particular expertise in the delivery of complex construction projects across commercial, residential, industrial, leisure, civil engineering and educational sectors. He was the project director for the Irish Department of Education & Science School Building Programme in 2008, delivering 25 schools on a design and build basis within a demanding 10-month programme.

Being the

Green Sheikh The UAE’s smallest emirate is home to a member of the royal family who has adopted a green outlook on life. Ajman’s Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Ali Al Nuaimi is using his royal linage to promote charitable and environmental causes in and around the emirate. BuildGreen talks to the Sheikh who embraced sustainability

It is about connecting stronger bonds between faith and cultural understanding”

BG: How did you get your nickname the ‘Green Sheikh’, and what are the benefits and pitfalls of carrying such a title? The Green Sheikh: The title ‘Green Sheikh’ was unconsciously given to me in my childhood through my father’s vision. He was one of the few pioneers in falconry in the region and when I was six years old I went with him on a hunting trip. On the trip I said to him: “Baba, I want to be like you when I am older.” He responded by telling me: “No, you may focus on your education and one day I want you to be the falcon himself.” Other reasons came from environmental activists in the UAE and GCC region, and the fact

that my carbon footprint is a third less than my peers across the county’s royal family. The title inspires me towards continued environmental stewardship where I encourage all types of communities, especially youths. There are not many pitfalls once projects, programmes and activities have been initiated. Jealousy and misconception, however, are the main issues, and I normally overcome these by turning to Allah and by walking the talk. BG: What inspired your environmental outlook? The Green Sheikh: There are five things that inspire my environmental outlook. Firstly I want

December 2010

BG: Is it difficult to get the sustainability message across to those in top government and private sector positions in the Middle East?

Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Ali Al Nuaimi, The Green Sheikh.

The Green Sheikh is involved in several charity projects across Ajman.

to be a great example for others; I encourage people to take responsibility for their actions; it is a part of my lifestyle, I believe in the concept ‘award for the hereafter’, and finally I believe it is important to leave a sustainable peace legacy. BG: What is the key to encouraging sustainability in the Middle East? The Green Sheikh: On one side it is about connecting stronger bonds between faith and cultural understanding with relation to sustainability; these are related to morals, values and ethics. On the other side, it is about continuous education and awareness in sustainability, as well as knowledge of low-cost green technologies. BG: What reaction do you get from people when you introduce yourself as the ‘Green Sheikh’?

The Green Sheikh: In the medium to long term I am able to influence policy through a bottom-up approach of young ambassadors who I have guided and inspired on the role they will play in a sustainable future and the responsibilities that come with that. BG: What ‘green’ projects have impressed you most and why? The Green Sheikh: I have been most impressed with geothermal and biomass projects, and with industrial symbiosis; this concept contains a key metric of industry, that waste from one could feed another. The reason I am impressed, is that it will reduce the resources from both feed-in and waste-out streams. BG: From a sustainable point of view, are you impressed with the development that has taken place in the UAE over the past two decades? The Green Sheikh: Yes and no — yes because there are many great examples of sustainable projects, but they were high-cost investments. No, because there are still places in the UAE lacking basic infrastructure, such as

The Green Sheikh: At home my personal carbon footprint is 37 tons of CO2 emissions per year. I shower for less than three minutes per day, which uses about 15 litres of water and I use the minimum of water for abolition — the ritual washing before prayers. I recycle papers, batteries and other waste materials, and I have reduced air-conditioning usage in unused rooms. I only have one meal of meat a week and I follow a mostly vegetarian and seafood diet. I also educate my children at home with good manners and behaviour in environmental responsibilities. I only own one car for personal use and I grow native vegetation around my home. BG: Finally, please tell us about your charity work in Ajman and the role it is playing in the emirate’s society? The Green Sheikh: The Al Ihsan Charity Centre, of which I am chairman, was founded in Ajman in 1990 to meet the needs of children without sponsors, and women without spouses in the UAE. The beneficiaries are given a daily and monthly food ration, financial assistance, clothing, home necessities, school supplies and other donated items. The Centre, with the cooperation of local and international philanthropy, supplies these families with home necessities, new and used furniture, kitchen appliances, clothing, shoes and personal items. It also offers assistance to locals in acquiring health cards and medical prescriptions, as well as schooling supplies for their children.

The Green Sheikh hopes his actions will inspire others to act.

The Green Sheikh: Most people respond with surprise and are often impressed and inspired. Sometimes, however, people react negatively through annoyance and panic!

BG: Are you able to influence environmental policy in the Middle East?

BG: Are you ‘green’ at home?


His Highness and the BuildGreen team.

The Green Sheikh: It is not difficult at all. Once there are profit outcomes, short pay back and future resources management for the generations, people in the region will — for the most part — be encouraged. The most vital method of delivering the message is through the third sphere of partnership between public-private NOGs. This cooperation will definitely enhance the message of sustainability collectively and through collaboration.

electricity, water quality, sewage, landscaping, waste management, and environmental laws and regulations. Housekeeping devices for saving energy and water are essential in the country, where more than 60% of energy and water supplies are not fully utilised.


February 2011

Saving power in the data centre


US $80 million of wasted energy is lost through data centres in the US every year .

In his exclusive column for BuildGreen, Sabbahuddin Khan, Allied Telesis regional manager for the Middle East and Pakistan, explains why going green and saving energy in the data centre is not rocket science


Many of the new ‘green’ solutions, however, are expensive with a long-term ROI and others require wholesale changes across the business — neither of which are appealing to the IT managers or budget holders, particularly in the public sector which faces big cuts across the board. This does not need to be the case, however, as there are many ways to cut energy costs in the data centre without breaking the bank or forcing staff to change the way they work. The biggest areas of energy usage in the data centre are the running costs of the

Cutting costs in data centres is not rocket science.

t is a commonly accepted fact that data centres are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to power consumption in the IT industry. Billions of dollars are spent each year just on power and one Lawrence Berkley Labs researcher estimated the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) effort on reducing power through the implementation of Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) alone could save US $450 million per year just in the US — with $80 million in wasted energy lost through data centres.


February 2011


ABOVE: Sabbahuddin Khan, Allied Telesis regional manager for the Middle East and Pakistan.


equipment and the air conditioning required to keep them running efficiently. Within this it is the efficiency that is the key statistic to look out for. Even choosing 90% over 80% efficiency can make a big difference; inefficient products produce more noise and heat, which has a knock-on effect on another set of costs. The efficiency of the power supply is key, as the power lost due to inefficiencies is just wasted energy. For example, the difference for a 100W supply in a switch being 70% or 90% efficient equates to around $30 per year. The majority of network equipment has a recommended ambient temperature range of 20-24°C, but it is surprising just how many data centres are spending that much extra to keep the temperature at 20°C. Running at an extra 4°C makes no difference to how the equipment operates, but can result in impressive savings. The layout of equipment within the rack can also make a big difference and moving equipment around does not cost anything. For racks with only a few switches, leaving a gap in between each one reduces hot spots and improves the airflow around both this switch and others around it, making best use of the air conditioning. The specification of each switch is another key factor. Many data centres feature Layer 3 technology, which is more expensive, complex and consumes more power. But much of the functionality offered by Layer 3 is unnecessary for use in a data centre, with Layer 2 a much better and lowerpower option.

Some energy-saving tips are so obvious it makes you wonder why people have not already implemented them” Some data centre energy-saving tips are so obvious that it makes you wonder why businesses have not already implemented them. One of these is switching off the lights, both on the switches themselves and in the room. Many data centres are kept locked and days can pass by without a single member of staff entering the room. Something as simple as a switch that can turn off LEDs at the front, can save 3% of power and reduces load on the power supply, helping to improve efficiency. There are other obvious savings to be made by reviewing what needs to be left on and when. For instance do you really need to have all your services running at 11pm on a Friday night?

Many systems offer the option to power down certain features between set times and on set days. Wireless access points are a great example of this; outside of office hours these are just sat around wasting power and using Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology they can be powered down at the end of the day and back on ready for staff at the start of the working week. As well as switching to more ‘green’ products and changing the way we work, millions of dollars can be saved through simple and inexpensive changes to data centres. These require relatively little effort but can have a huge impact on the energy bills, particularly for major companies. So much so that it’s a mystery as to why people aren’t doing it already.

February 2011

Green gadgets


If you want to kick your carbon footprint into touch then take a look at BuildGreen’s gadget guide

The Siemens Gigaset SL 780 is a stylish metal handset frame and charger, which comes with a TFT colour display and an innovative user interface. Along with its energy-saving power supply, it also comes with ‘ECO Mode Plus’ allowing a 100% reduction of transmitting power of the base station. It allows transfer of 500 vCards via Bluetooth or USB,


and Gigaset QuickSync software can be utilised to synchronise contacts from Microsoft Outlook. SMS messages of up to 640 characters can also be sent, while an answering machine with up to 45 minutes of recording time is also available.

The Canon LV series features two new LCD-based projector models. The LV-7280 is an ultra-low cost XGA resolution projector with a brightness of 2200 lumens, which is designed to meet the needs of education and office workers. The LV-8215 is Canon’s second cost-effective WXGA model, with a longer lamp life of up to 4000 hours in normal

The Smart Table interactive learning centre is a great tool for teachers to quickly and easily modify existing activities to suit their lesson themes and learning objectives. The interactive whiteboard table is available with a series of themed activity packs that contain a number of individual activities, which can be downloaded for free from the Smart Exchange website The table is designed for easy collaboration and

mode, and 5000 hours in silent mode, without compromising on brightness. All products within the range consume fewer than 0.7 watts of power in standby mode and a handy ‘carbon metre’ calculates the difference in electrical energy used in quiet mode from that of normal mode and as a result displays the amount of CO2 reduction.

interaction within the classroom, and brings more than two decades of collaborative research and development to a broad range of easy-to-use, integrated solutions that free students from their desks and computer screens. Recently 250 brand new activity packs were released for the Smart Table, joining an extensive range of multi-touch, multi-user activities.


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

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

Whether you are an individual or an organization, if you want to participate and help make Earth Hour in the UAE even bigger and better, please sign up at

February 2011

The big

picture T


aiwanese environmentalists joined divers from Greenpeace to form a mock-up school of tuna bearing the message “The Last Tuna?” last month. The Greenpeace organised activity, which took place in Pingtung County, Taiwan, was designed to promote marine protected areas around coastal Taiwan. The group is also looking to gain the support of Taiwan in its global efforts to stop the collapse of Pacific tuna stocks.


(Image credits: © Paul Hilton/Greenpeace)

Lampoo lights Dubai hotel installs energy-saving lights made from discarded shampoo bottles A hotel recently noted by its parent company for its energysaving initiatives has demonstrated its environmental prowess by installing a series of novel lights across the property. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City, which won Rezidor Middle East’s Responsible Business Award 2010, created the lights by using discarded shampoo holders. The lamps, which stand on a recycled stainless steel base, each comprise 16-20 shampoo holders and an energy-saving LED bulb. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City general manager Pasquale Baiguera said: “We estimate that the lamps, which we have named Lampoo in honour of their shampoo holder-origin, are twice as eco-friendly as their traditional counterparts. “Our engineering team combined engineering skills and creative ideas to create the Lampoo eco-friendly lighting system team using recycled materials salvaged from a bathroom refit that took place in some rooms,” says Baiguera.

As part of the hotel’s wider environmental commitment it has recently placed recycling bins for paper, glass and cans across the property, as well as energy-saving light bulbs in all offices and corridors. A battery recycling programmes has also been initiated and water-saving devices have been installed in guest toilets. Baiguera added: “The hotel’s responsible business activities are well recognised and we will continue focusing on introducing additional environmental-friendly activities.” A staff member at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City installs LED lights at the property.

February 2011

News update Hotel aims to boost environmental image Abu Dhabi property looks to eco-friendly programmes to improve common perception of energy-intensive industry

Fishy guests book in at Abu Dhabi resort


A hotel in the UAE capital is planning to adopt a range of eco-friendly programmes in an ambitious attempt to pull other properties up to scratch and improve the image of the city’s hotel industry. Immanuel Williams, manager for total quality management at Cristal Hotel Abu Dhabi, said: “The hotel industry is often considered as one of the most waste-producing businesses in the world, but we aim to change that perception here in Abu Dhabi by adopting sustainable strategies to complement our local growth. “Cristal Hotel intends to introduce more eco-friendly programmes to help raise environmental standards among hotels in Abu Dhabi and throughout the UAE, and promote the concept of sustainable growth among all local industries.” The hotel, which opened its doors in 2009, owns the largest recycling cages among all of Abu Dhabi hotels. It was also the first local hotel to switch to compact fluorescent lamps for its guest rooms, and became the first hotel in the emirate to recycle six products: paper, plastics, aluminium cans, glass, Tetra Pak packaging, and printer cartridges. Despite an increase of 26 % in occupancy between 2009 and 2010, the hotel’s energy consumption increased by only 9% throughout the same period.

More than 1000 fish move into five-star property Electric-powered, low-carbon motorised abras traverse the waterway, allowing guests to view the aquatic wildlife. The waterway has previously been deep-cleaned by hotel engineers, who constructed a makeshift dam to house the aquatic life before draining the water. The Shangri-La Hotel and its sister property Traders Hotel have decreased energy usage by introducing energy-saving bulbs, saving the equivalent of 120 tonnes of CO2 a year.

Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri in Abu Dhabi has adopted more than 1000 fish.

An Abu Dhabi hotel has adopted more than a thousand fish that have made the property their new home. The fish are living in a 700-metre waterway at the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri; the hotel has also recently dramatically decreased its CO2 emissions. According to the hotel, the waterway, which connects the entire Qaryat Al Beri complex, is now home to many species of fish and a team from its engineering department has been working to ensure their welfare by feeding them every morning.


February 2011

Adapting to change BuildGreen caught up with tourism consultant Dr Jürgen Ringbeck, senior vice president at Booz & Company, to discuss the Abu Dhabi tourism industry and the changes it will have to make in order to adopt a sustainable approach


BG: What are your thoughts on the Abu Dhabi government’s approach to sustainable tourism?


Jürgen Ringbeck: If you look at the energy consumption rate of the hotels here, my guess is it is clearly beyond the benchmarks of the rest of the world. They don’t design green hotels, at least on a large scale, as it is more about building hotels quickly and ensuring that the capacity is there if needed. But I believe the government of Abu Dhabi has the ambition to do it right. Look at what they started to do some years ago before the global financial crisis with Masdar as well as big announcements on transforming from an oil-lead economy to a non-oil lead society. I think it is now about the next level of execution and connecting existing programmes across different industries. Tourism is one significant part of this cake and linking it to the mission of a sustainable society is next. This connectivity has to be kick started and events such as World Green Tourism 2010 have helped to kick start the process. They provide the government with more focus on the subject. My belief is that this government wants to make a difference; it is listening, investing money and really wants to learn.

the best-in-class operations ‘green’ does not sit on top of their agenda. It is more about making sure their operations are functioning and that the people within the service industry are offering a good service. The training has not really embedded a deep understanding of environmental

BG: Does the private sector take sustainability as seriously as some government authorities do?

The Grand Mosque is one of Abu Dhabi ‘s key tourist attractions.

Ringbeck: It is about the link between the developer and operator that has to be improved. The operators are often in execution mode and in order to execute

There is a lot of greenwashing across the sector, but tourists learn very quickly”

February 2011

BG: What are your top tips for the Middle East’s tourism industry as it attempts to adopt a sustainable outlook? Ringbeck: First of all I would look at sustainability as an element of the design of the infrastructure, because this is where the really binding commitments are today and the money is being spent. Secondly, it is to invest in the international knowledge transfer and the training of managers and the people on the ground. There is a lot of behavioural thinking that would make a big difference. In the end tourists and inhabitants will merge to share the beaches and the safari parks, and in that respect it is very important that the spirit of the community as a whole, not only the tourists, is a sustainable one. BG: Is ‘green’ tourism and travel the future of the industry?

Sustainability is fast becoming a key growth generator within the travel market.

but they are also very open about the need for radical change in the way growth is nurtured throughout the region.

BG: What do you make of exhibitions and discussions dedicated to the sustainable tourism sector in the Middle East?

BG: Is sustainability really on the agenda of tourists when they book a holiday? Ringbeck: Those that come to Abu Dhabi today are perhaps not the ones who have it on their agenda, but there is an emerging trend of tourists who are looking at the sustainability of the destination they book. It has started with small signals from the tour operators and the catalogues with the green labelling of hotels and destinations. There is a lot of greenwashing across the sector, but tourists learn very quickly and there are many online channels such as social networks that will accelerate knowledge about what is ‘green’ and what is greenwash. In that respect, I believe there is a growing trend to connect your buying decision with a very conscious fact — is it a sustainable destination or not? I believe the competition is very high within the tourism sector and I believe, at least in the long run, that ‘green’ will become a major factor in the quality equation of customers and will account for 10% of the customer’s benefit equation.

About... Dr Jürgen Ringbeck is a senior vice president of Booz & Company based in Düsseldorf, Germany. He leads its global commercial and public travel and transport activities and acts as a senior mentor to its emerging global climate change and sustainability practice.

Ringbeck: I believe the concept of events such as last November’s World Green Tourism conference is very timely; however, the attendance was a little low and audience engagement was more focused on listening rather than debating. It seems like a very early stage of thinking about sustainable tourism in this region, unlike in India or south-east Asia, the US or Europe, where you have huge debates with the audience on these topics, because everyone has an opinion and has been talking about it for several years. There is something of a ‘teach-and-learn’ approach here so I believe people within the industry have to energise. Even though they have the experts here, the experts often behave in a politicallycorrect manner. I have found that in private discussions experts are very cautious about criticising any aspect of economic development plans,


concerns, and this starts with the smaller elements such as how to deal with energy consumption within the hotels.

Ringbeck: It will become a significant segment and ‘green’ initiatives will be embedded in most of the top class hotels, because they cannot afford not to be ‘green’. From the low-end resorts such as campsites and budget hotels, there will be smart concepts that combine smart-end solutions promoting the motif that ‘cheap is green’ — this is currently a developing sector within the industry. The real challenge lies in delivering the same convenience and quality a customer expects using 40-50% less energy. Whoever cracks it will have the real competitive advantage, because they will be the ones saving costs while also making customers and travellers who want to be politically correct happy. I see a lot of entrepreneurs experimenting with different models, and in this region I see some developments but nothing to be seriously looked at. In general it’s not a big deal here; but it is coming.


February 2011

Investment update GREEN BUSINESS

...ATM utilises power of the sun...Investment boost for 2011 claims bank...French firms join together for eco venture...

Better year ahead for ‘green’ investments claims HSBC

Regulations lead to venture by French firms

Consumer behaviour affected by ‘finite resources’

While last year investment in green projects and technologies faltered due to the combined effect of the global economic recession and the hangover from the Copenhagen talks, 2011 is looking a lot more positive according to a report from global bank HSBC. In the report, the bank’s analysts stated: “Doubts about science have been replaced by the realities of extreme events and rising commodity prices. “The shocks to European renewables incentives sparked by the fiscal crisis appear to have run their course, and efforts to drive energy efficiency will be intensified in the EU in the next 12 months.” The report said that the majority of demand for investment would come from the emerging world, with India looking particularly attractive for green investors, due in part by the country’s voluntary target to reduce emissions by 20-25% below 2005 levels by 2020. The report noted that while the US ‘green’ investment market remains stable, it also remains a less-friendly place for green investment following the recent mid-term elections, and pointed out that planned federal climate legislation was likely to be halted by the new congress.

French power generation firm Alstom and construction and communications group Bouygues have joined together to provide energy services for eco-friendly projects across Europe. According to Alstom, the joint venture was prompted by the growing demand for ways to monitor and minimise the consumption of energy in buildings. The agreement follows last year’s introduction of energy-efficient property regulations, which were approved by the French parliament. Laurent Demortier, a senior vice president at Alstom Power, told the Financial Times: “These energy regulations are one of the drivers.” Demortier remarked that the proposed services included audits for new ‘ecodistricts’ and information systems that utilise smart-grid technology. “It is a way to differentiate our offering, in that we are bringing something which has an impact on the financial costs of a district,” added Demortier. The venture, which has been named Embix, has already been asked to write proposals by external corporate and public sector customers looking to improve energy efficiency in their buildings, and has already worked at an Alstom property in Paris.

Unprecedented changes in consumer behaviour lies ahead, according to a report by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte. Presented at the US National Retail Federation in New York last month, the report stated that economic and demographic trends across the world were changing due to considerations of finite resources and sustainability. It also singled out the role played by ever-changing technologies on consumers’ daily lives and noted that a dramatically falling fertility rate in the Middle East would have a knock-on effect on the region’s economic output. Deloitte & Touche Bakr Abulkhair & Co audit partner Nasser Sagga said: “The shrinking of a population in the Middle East consequently results in a similar diminishing of the labour force and national consumption power. “As a result the growth potential of the country’s economic output becomes weakened,” he added. The report noted that consumers now have the power of information at their fingertips, which has enabled them to comparisonshop and make purchases at anytime and in any place — a trend Deloitte claimed was likely to accelerate.

Solar first for Abu Dhabi ATM


The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) has become the first bank in the UAE to launch a solar-powered automated teller machine (ATM). The country’s first solar-powered ATM became operational last month at NBAD’s Al Bateen Branch, Abu Dhabi.

NBAD general manager of consumer and elite banking, Suvo Sarkar, declared: “We are proud to be the first bank in the UAE to launch a green ATM. As part of our CSR initiatives we hope to be the trendsetter in adopting solar power for future ATMs in this country.” Sarkar added that the ATM would reduce the bank’s carbon

footprint and act as an example of how banks could contribute to the sustainability of the environment. NBAD is planning to install solarpowered ATMs at all its branches as well as at stand alone ATM sites. The bank also has plans to launch a range of eco-friendly debit and credit cards produced from recycled products.

February 2011

Building the brand As businesses across the Middle East embrace environmentally-friendly models, company brands are gaining something extra to shout about. BuildGreen talks to brand agency Rufus Leonard to find out how its environmental endeavours at its UK headquarters are being transferred to its Dubai office, and asks if the region’s firms are looking to boost their brands through the promotion of their ‘green’ initiatives




ith a comprehensive corporate social responsibility (CSR) plan in place at its London office, brand and digital agency Rufus Leonard knows a thing or two about promoting its environmental commitments. This international agency, which has a core focus on its environmental efforts within its CSR plan, has an office in Dubai and is utilising its eco-experience from its London office at its base in the Middle East. Rufus Leonard head of HR and facilities Lucy Kay, who is based at the company’s London headquarters, says the UK office has been transformed through its ecofriendly commitments. In 2006 the company set up a Green Team, which polices the ‘green’ activities at its London office. Kay explains: “One of the driving reasons for us to do this was because we were finding ourselves increasingly asked by our clients to supply our green credentials at the pitch-process stage. “There was a commercial element behind it, but we found our staff were quite emotive about the topic of environment.” Kay describes the in-house voluntary group as a team of people who brainstorm ideas on how the company can implement green initiatives throughout the workplace and act as environmental police at the firm’s head office. “We recycle pretty much everything, but we’ve also gone quite extreme in regards to vetting our suppliers,” states Kay. “We will not work with other companies unless their green credentials are up to scratch.

Greenwashing still takes place out here, but not to the extent it did a year ago”

“This includes couriers using bicycles rather than motorbikes and ensuring the cars we use to pick up clients are in some way ‘green’.” The company recycles as much as possible and ensures all computer equipment and electrical hardware is disposed of responsibly. Despite the successes achieved by its London-based Green Team, Rufus Leonard Middle East regional head Richard Bowcott says it was much harder to implement an equally stringent environmental programme at its Dubai office. “When I first came out here three years ago it was hard to find someone to take away our paper, card and cans for recycling,” says Bowcott. “That has got easier, but when we first opened the

office it was more about implementing the practical things such double-sided printing and talking to our suppliers to find out their environmental credentials. “There are some things we can’t do and greenwashing still takes place out here, but not to the extent it did a year ago,” he notes. Last year the Dubai office undertook a campaign to promote paperless statements with Lloyds TSB. “There are lots of things going on at Lloyds TSB at the moment and it has a big

Don’t have a cow

Cow’s produce methane. A lot of methane. In fact, methane from livestock – cows, pigs, sh and the like – accounts for 18% of global green emissions. By reducing consumption of meat, we can all reduce greenhouse emissions. Have a Meat Free Monday. Whole towns in Belgium are doing it. So is Ozzy Osborne. So can you. The Green Team

A selection of posters distributed by Rufus Leonard’s Green Team.

February 2011

Good e nerGy

Great ene

Kay remarks: “No matter how far communications move online, there is still a will to print it; you can’t get away from that.” Greenwashing According to Kay, the state of greenwashing in the UK market has improved drastically since the company began its ‘green’ drive back in 2006. “It is much better than it was and today people are taking the subject very seriously,” she notes. “It started off with people paying lip service to it, but that just wasn’t acceptable. Back in the early days, clients would ask in pitch documents what we recycle; now they ask for evidence, which needs to be attached to the proposal. “It’s not considered ethical to lie and greenwash for the sake of it, and the incentive is not just about the environmental impact — you end up saving money by taking environmental endeavours on board.” In this region, greenwashing is more evident than back in the UK, according to Bowcott, but the situation is fast improving. “Some clients are excessively pushing what they are doing in regards to their environmental endeavours, but we are still yet to receive a pitch document from a company asking about our green credentials,” reveals Bowcott. “From a greenwashing perspective it depends on who you talk to, but there is a growing acceptance


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that things need to get done because they feel they should be doing it, rather than because someone else is doing it.” Kay points to a similar experience in the UK a few years ago. “People wanted to be seen to be doing something because it was cool or more politically correct,” Kay remarks. “But now people want to do it because they have seen that there is a real benefit.” Commenting on the UAE market, Bowcott says: “We’ve noticed there are fewer companies jumping on the bandwagon claiming to be green and while there may be fewer people doing it in this region compared to in the UK, they are doing it properly. “Even things like car sharing and using the Metro are becoming more widespread; when I first moved here there was no public transport and you either got a taxi or you drove.

yes yo u can ! recyc your cle ans

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Rufus Leonard’s Richard Bowcott.


programme within the company on how it can become more energy efficient and cut down on printing,” says Bowcott. “We have worked with the bank in Dubai on a paperless statements campaign and it is perhaps keener than some of our other clients to internally and externally push the fact that people should be more environmentally responsible. “Generally we are looking at ways in which our clients can move their campaigns online rather than using paper campaigns. Gone are the days when they ask for a 600 metre billboard down Sheikh Zayed Road,” he adds. “We are looking at ways in which our clients can reduce the amount they print, and often we will ask them why they are doing the campaign in the first place. We are now seeing more and more of our clients asking us to go down that route, because they don’t necessarily need to print 250,000 pieces of literature to send out to clients and customers.” But, as Kay points out from her own experiences, print exposure still remains a popular choice for many firms in the Middle East.

The Green Team

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February 2011


“But the fact that three years later there are buses, a metro and water taxis is representative of a big change.” Kay adds: “It does appear to be moving very quickly out here — far more quickly than it did in the UK.” Broad benefits Environmental considerations are often at the forefront of campaigns the firm works on. Kay points to an in-house campaign the company worked on, on behalf of oil giants Shell. “It was a particularly interesting client to work with because of the nature of its business,” remarks Kay. “We were asked to work on a campaign where we could communicate environmental initiatives effectively in house with its staff, rather than externally. “You have to look at your ability to do work for responsible clients and you have to balance that with having to stay in business ethically,” she adds. Internally Rufus Leonard has undertaken its own campaign, organised by the Green Team, to encourage staff to work as sustainably as possible. Posters featuring slogans such as “Recycling isn’t just for paper and cans” have been posted around its London office to encourage staff to recycle old mobile phones. Pursuing campaigns such as this is beneficial on many levels, Kay notes. “If you’re a good employer you’re not just interested in getting the work out of the door,” she says. “You’re interested in the employers themselves, and what motivates them and makes them tick.

“If you’ve got happy, motivated and engaged members of staff you’re going to get a far greater quality of work out of them, and if you appeal to something that isn’t necessarily seen as a business decision such as these types of environmental campaigns, then it extends beyond what you’re doing in the workplace.” Bowcott comments that it also makes financial sense to pursue such environmental endeavours. “From a company point of view there is a financial element involved,” says Bowcott. “By recycling paper, utilising double-sided printing options, or even just cutting down on the amount of paper you print, you will ultimately save money because you’re not buying as much paper as before. “Whether that’s a saving of 50 fils or AED 50,000 it’s still going to save you money as well as having a better impact on the environment,” he concludes.

Rufus Leonard’s Lucy Kay.

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February 2011



February 2011

GCC renewable energy markets – business roundup Abu Dhabi-based Marc Fèvre, energy and infrastructure counsel at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, provides his take on the developing renewable energy markets of the six GCC countries. Fèvre points out the potential areas investors should be aware of and documents upcoming projects worth knowing about



The sector is at a very early stage in Kuwait, but in 2009 a target of 5% of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 was announced. In November 2010, the Minister of Public Works announced that a wind project would be developed by Japanese contractors in Abdally and that the government planned to introduce solar energy to government buildings. Kuwait is generally considered to have a relatively high level of political risk compared to other GCC countries as there is regular conflict between the

Bahrain While the sector is still at a very early stage in Bahrain, the government announced in 2010 that it would develop experimental wind and solar power projects and has appointed technical consultants to assist. Bahrain is more budget-constrained than some other GCC countries, which may limit the ability of the government to support development of the

Saudi Arabia

The government has recently established the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE). This will bring together the development of technology and policy formulation. A renewable energy law is currently under preparation, following which projects are likely to be announced. In the meantime, there are a number of small-scale, off-grid projects under development. There is currently no legal or regulatory framework to support development of the sector on a stand-alone or long term basis. The policy-making process in Saudi Arabia is relatively slow and unpredictable.


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

government and parliament, which means not all initiatives and projects are carried through. At the moment there is no legal or regulatory framework to support development of the sector on a stand-alone or long-term basis. The government is committed to private sector investment in the energy and infrastructure sector generally and has recently launched a wave of PPP projects, including the Al Zour IWPP and projects in the transport and social infrastructure sectors. These are centrally coordinated by the Partnerships Technical Bureau.

sector. The country has no legal or regulatory framework in place to support the development of the sector on a stand-alone or long-term basis. While there is currently no renewable energy market in Bahrain, the country has a good track record of private sector involvement in the power sector, having developed two IWPPs and one IPP, which could provide a viable model for renewable energy projects.

Accordingly, it is difficult to determine the outcome of policies in advance; however, once a policy is committed to, it is likely to be carried through. Until a renewable energy support law is in place, the market is unlikely to develop on a large scale There appears to be a growing consensus in the government that it is necessary to develop renewable energy and nuclear power to meet the Kingdom’s rapidly growing energy needs and to be able to export crude oil at international market prices rather than burning it domestically. The country has both solar and wind power resources and these can be developed more rapidly than nuclear power, so there is no conflict between renewables and nuclear.

Qatar The sector is at a very early stage in Qatar. The country is, however, committed to diversifying its economy and expanding the domestic technology sector, and has announced plans to build 12 fully solar-powered stadiums as part of its successful bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar Petroleum is also interested in carbon capture and storage and plans to inject carbon dioxide into oil deposits to boost output. Outside investors are likely to be required to commit to a degree of technology transfer and knowhow sharing in implementing projects in Qatar. As with Bahrain and Kuwait no legal or regulatory framework is in place to support development of the sector on a stand-alone or long-term basis. The 2022 World Cup provides a hard deadline for projects and means Qatar is under the international spotlight. There are strong political incentives for Qatar to push development of the sector and show commitment to sustainable development. Qatar also has the funds to “think big”.

February 2011

Oman The government has been studying ways to develop the renewable energy sector for several years. According to recent announcements by the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company, a tender for a 50-200 MW solar power project on an IPP basis will be launched in 2011. There is a separate initiative underway to develop off-grid systems. Oman is less wealthy than some its neighbours in the GCC and the development of renewable energy is one of several competing priorities for national development. Though there is a good track record for private sector

investment in the power sector, projects have been subject to changes and delays in the past. There is currently no legal or regulatory framework in Oman to support the sector’s development on a stand-alone or long-term basis. Unlike the Gulf States, Oman has good wind and solar resources. The government of Oman is committed to developing the renewable energy sector in the country as well as genuine need for alternative sources of energy due to limited fossil fuel reserves. Oman also has a strong track record of attracting private sector investment into the power sector generally, though having tendered a series of IWPPs and IPPs.


United Arab Emirates

Policy and projects are currently led by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi through The Masdar Initiative. The Federal Government, however, has a 7% renewable energy target by 2020 and is looking at a national policy for the sector. Until the legal and regulatory framework is clearer, the market is likely to be led by Masdar and developed on a piecemeal basis. The UAE government and the Abu Dhabi government have made high profile commitments to the development of the renewable energy sector in the UAE and in Abu Dhabi as part of the attempt to diversify the national economy. Though the renewable energy sector is one of several areas earmarked for development, it is a high profile sector and should experience significant growth in the long term.

Projects in the UAE are currently led by Masdar. Masdar has announced plans to develop a 30 MW wind farm on Sir Bani Yas Island and a 100 MW photovoltaic project, called Noor 1. Masdar has also announced plans to develop an experimental geothermal project and may also carry out an experimental carbon capture and storage project. Torresol Energy, which is a joint venture between Sener and Masdar, has announced a plan to develop a 2x 35 MW solar thermal project called the Abu Dhabi Central Towers Project. The legal and regulatory framework remains undeveloped and fragmented and there is currently no legal or regulatory framework to support development of the sector on a stand-alone or long term basis.



The green spy This month our intrepid spy uncovers the region’s shadowy illegal trade in exotic animals, which goes on unabated underneath our own noses

ith narrow crowded streets dotted with glittery shops, neighbourhoods like Dubai’s Karama are certainly worth visiting at least once. Despite their fame for counterfeit garments, bags, and shoes, these zones seem to have a vivid second life as important hubs for the illegal trade of furs and skins. It is quite sickening. Behind the dazzle of “Made in China” paraphernalia, I discovered back rooms full of items with hefty price tags. The guy behind the counter asks: “You want crocodile skin, leopard, iguana? “No problem,” he answers. A wave of anger and aggression overwhelms me as I struggle to keep a friendly face and continue the conversation. The man amicably continues to explain how all those skins and furs come from Thailand on a regular basis. Instead of dwelling too much on the subject of dead animals that I can no longer help, I decide to undertake an operation across the animal markets in the region. Tough reality – next to a tin of fly-infested veggies I see a cardboard box marked “Fragile”; inside, beneath a soiled rag, a month-old baby gorilla, sits scared and emaciated beyond belief. After some talks and tea-sipping, I persuade the sellers to show me crocodiles, chimpanzees, baboons, tigers, lions, green velvet monkeys, bush babies, bears, pythons, ring-tailed lemurs, tortoises, birds of prey, and cheetahs. Rumour has it that most originate in either Somalia or Egypt. It is not even considered cyber crime — check out the Facebook Page of Tamer Box at Animal Kingdom, he has them all. A famous journalist and a friend of mine, directly states: “Egypt is the pit of hell when it comes to illegal animal trading. “It comes from the Ministry of Culture, which has always protected circuses and has given traders licenses because they see it as national heritage and culture; it obviously spills over with corruption and greed.” Since the opening of Africa’s forests to European and Asian logging companies, illegal trade has quickly developed into a brutal unsustainable business. Unchecked, the rate of hunt and slaughter of many exotic species will certainly bring about their extinction in a few decades. And what of those left alive? Illegal trade of exotic animals is a worldwide problem. As a historic commerce hub, however, the Gulf States have always been on critical animal trading routes, which continue to operate despite international bans. Even the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the international organisation tasked with regulating wildlife trafficking, has been infamously half-hearted about bringing offenders to task, so it is essentially empty words and a substantial part of the problem. Word is that CITES provides export licensing for the big brands of the world. The challenge with conventions like CITES is that they rely on the home country and if that country is corrupt or poorly run, you have a situation in which the wolves are left guarding the henhouse. Let’s remember that most regional exotic pet collectors of “high social status” consider themselves “above the law” and give a flawed example to the public. And so laws are flouted. International authorities prefer to look the other way. Traffickers such as Tamer Box and many others can give the finger to the world. The wealthy can parade their living trophies. A big round of applause! It’s the classic Pontius Pilate washing-of-hands; expat communities are afraid to do anything and authorities have other priorities. A lot has been done to expose the situation, and the policymakers, NGOs and everyone else can no longer say they didn’t know what is going on. Still there is a lack of awareness among the region’s public that wild animals need to stay in the wild! It’s not rocket science, is it? Until the next time...

The Green Spy


Photographic evidence provided by the green spy on the illegal animal trade tacking place in the backstreets of Dubai.


February 2011

Waste not, want not The fourth in ENPARK’s series of seminars on environmental practices touched on the subject of electronic waste, and attracted an effusive and interested audience. Taking place at the Amwaj Rotana Hotel in Dubai, the event featured four speakers from across Dubai’s growing sustainability sector



ast month, a seminar entitled ‘Solid Waste Recycling and Management’ took place in Dubai, with the intention of addressing the fact that the GCC ranks among the fastest growing markets for electronic goods in the world, and to tackle the issue of growing e-waste at the region’s landfills. Organised by the Energy and Environment Park (ENPARK), a member of TECOM Investments’ Sciences Cluster, the event attracted professionals from the local building industry, business communities and government. All seminars at the gathering featured presentations and open debates to help raise awareness of new energy and environment-related technologies, as well as solutions available in the regional market. ENPARK senior business development manager Ahmed Lootah, who was one of the four speakers at the event, says the seminar served a crucial purpose in highlighting an area of concern that is often overlooked. “The decreasing prices of electronic equipment resulting in their greater affordability, combined with growing penetration of technology, has led to increasing quantities of equipment being used by all of us,” Lootah remarks. “Given the continuously shrinking life-span of electronic devices, the challenge of e-waste can be easily anticipated.” Dulsco senior manager – operations Ajay Kumar, another of the event’s speakers, notes: “While corporates in the UAE are generally diligent about the appropriate disposal of waste, the huge challenge resides within the household domains that need to give importance to the proper segregation and disposal of e-waste. “For this to happen, the municipalities need to introduce a workable infrastructure that educates and engages the public to mitigate the problem.” The event was the fourth part of ENPARK’s Green Brunch series of educational seminars, which has already seen seminars conducted on energy efficiency, retrofitting and wastewater management.

Guests listen on as Dulsco’s Ajay Kumar gives his pres entation.

g Stuart Flemin Enviroserve’s t. ev or at the en takes to the flo

February 2011


Sat alongside ENPA RK senior business development mana event’s panel was Wa ger Ahmed Lootah agner Biro Gulf direc on the tor Peter Neuschaefe operations Ajay Ku r, Dulsco senior ma mar and Enviroserve nager – chief executive office r Stuart Fleming.

s embarking on the ProfesGu soest r Mu fid Samarai from tour of Sharjah Research Su mm Academy poert ice. seow s an’s quoff estio n to the panel.

rence. e to eat at the confe Delegates enjoy a bit


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February 2011

Middle East Electricity

February 8-10 Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre UAE International Conference on Product Development and Renewable Energy Resources

February 19-20 Hyderabad India International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology

February 26-28 Peninsula Excelsior Hotel Singapore

March 1-3 Ecobuild

ExCeL London UK

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

Water Innovation, Technology and Sustainability Conference

International Conference on Environment Science and Engineering

March 17-19 São Paulo Brazil

April 1-3 Bali Island Indonesia

World Biofuels Markets

Middle East Waste Summit

March 22-24 Beurs-World Trade Centre, Rotterdam The Netherlands

April 12-13 The Palladium Dubai UAE

March 28-29 Green Building Middle East


A guide to environmental and sustainability-themed conferences and events taking place in the coming months

CityBuild Abu Dhabi

April 17-20 Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre UAE

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre UAE

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

March 28-30 Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre UAE

May 17-19 Sustainable Facilities Expo

Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre UAE

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

Gulf Environment Forum

March 6-8 Jeddah Hilton Saudi Arabia WETEX 2011

March 8-10 Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre UAE

March 9-10 Manila The Philippines

GeoPower Asia



February 2011


A look at our sustainable heritage


uch of the water supply for the region’s fastgrowing towns and cities comes from energy-intensive desalination plants, but for many in the more remote areas gathering water from a well remains an essential daily task. Well water often contains more minerals in solution than surface or desalinated water and usually requires treatment to soften the water to remove certain concentrations of minerals such as arsenic and manganese. Before the recent explosion of high-rise buildings and water

desalination plants in the Middle East, a large percentage of drinkable water was collected from hand-dug wells, with nomadic societies settling at sites where underground water cavities were found. Today technology allows us the benefit of being able to dig deeper and utilise automated pumping systems, a process that does not have the carbon footprint associated with desalination plants; but spare a thought for communities across many of the world’s poorer regions which still rely on age-old well-digging expertise.

Build Green Magazine  

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

Build Green Magazine  

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