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Issue 12 JUNE 2011


explorations 2041

One man’s mission to save Antarctica by powering the world sustainably

Also inside

Energy and water Construction Green IT Eco-leisure Green business

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


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Green IT


IPCC: up to 80% of energy to come from renewables by 2025


BuildGreen finds out how you can make your website environmentally friendly


Going green in the UAE. BuildGreen approves!


Green Gadgets presents eco-friendly cell phones. Chat away!

energy and water



Jourdan Younes discusses micro-finance via the clean development mechanism



BuildGreen explores TerraSave: a reed oasis solution to the region’s water woes



BuildGreen turns one. Check out its inspirational super eco-friendly party


The green spy tackles suits. What does it cost our environment to dress in style?


EPIC is coming to town. BuildGreen reports on the sustainable living expo




Masdar’s Richard Reynolds gives tips on product lifecycle assessments


BuildGreen introduces sustainable lightweight aggregate options

BuildGreen explores the rising trend of ecotourism in the region





BuildGreen catches up with Antarctic explorer Robert Swan

DEWA celebrates the UAE’s conservation champs




Editor’s Letter

A month of firsts T

his month was a month of firsts; my first issue of BuildGreen and most importantly, BuildGreen’s first anniversary. As the magazine celebrated turning one, its editor of the last year Ben Watts left for the UK and I took over. As I began my journey at the Middle East’s first and only sustainability title for the business arena, I was pleasantly surprised by the positive responses I encountered. Indeed, in just one year BuildGreen has established itself as one of the most trusted and well respected sources of all things green in the region. For a year, Ben had been writing about the solutions businesses and organisations in the Middle East need to implement the best practices that, not only increase efficiency and profits, but also protect and preserve our precious planet. His efforts have clearly paid off. I now continue where he left off and I am happy

to say I am not alone in this journey. From our incredible sponsors to our many affiliates, I am supported by the very best in the industry to ensure that together we build a green future for the region, leading the way for a sustainable healthy planet that benefits us all. In this month’s issue, we cover TerraSave, a unique waste water management system that can also offer a solution to the region’s solar energy issues. We also introduce EPIC, the international sustainable living expo to be showcased in The Dubai Mall June 22-24, and new features neverbefore-seen in the magazine. Finally, we bring you coverage of our one year anniversary; an eco-friendly celebration that saw the UAE’s green elite congregate for a night filled with inspirational acts and speakers and plenty of green mingling. Happy Birthday BuildGreen! Here’s to many more...

Loukia Papadopoulos Editor

Publisher Dominic De Sousa Associate Publisher Liam Williams COO Nadeem Hood

Editor Loukia Papadopoulos Contributing Editors Melanie Mingas Christine Fashugba

Director Business Development Alex Bendiouis

Designer Marlou Delaben

Group Sales Manager Rhiannon Downie

Photographer Cris Mejorada

Business Development Manager Nayab Rafiq

Webmasters Troy Maagma Elizabeth Reyes Jerus King Bation

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Head Office PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 440 9100 Fax: +971 4 447 2409 Web: © Copyright 2011 CPI. All rights reserved. While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.

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June 2011

IPCC report: Almost 80% of global energy from renewables by 2050 Long-awaited UN-commissioned renewable energy report released from Abu Dhabi The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their long awaited special report on renewable energy sources (SRREN) from Abu Dhabi on May 9. The report showed that with the right policies to support growth, renewable power sources could dominate the world’s energy supply by 2050. “As well as having a large potential to mitigate climate change, renewable energy can provide wider benefits. Renewable energy can contribute to social and economic development, energy access, energy security, and reduce negative impacts on the environment and health,” states the report. The SRREN report, that reviews 164 scenarios for the growth of new renewable energy sources,

foresees renewable energy growing in scale by three to 20 times by the middle of this century. This rise could lead to between 220 and 560 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide savings from 2010 to 2050, said the report. The document is now set to enable policy makers, the private sector and civil society globally to identify ways in which to integrate renewable energy technologies into future energy systems. So far, the IPCC has produced four assessment reports. The fifth is due in 2012.

US scientists draw link between Antarctic ozone hole and weather changes

New study first to demonstrate how ozone depletion in the polar region influences tropical circulation


A new scientific study published by Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is the first to demonstrate how the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is affecting weather patterns across the entire Southern Hemisphere, according to its writers. Lead author of the paper Sarah Kang said: “It’s really amazing that the ozone hole, located so high up in the atmosphere over Antarctica, can have an impact all the way to the tropics and affect rainfall there -- it’s just like a domino effect.” According to scientists, the protective ozone layer, located in

The hole in the Antarctic ozone was first discovered by scientists in the mid-1980s.

the Earth’s stratosphere, absorbs the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. However, the widespread use of manmade compounds containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) during the second half of the 20th century damaged this layer causing a hole over the Antarctic. In 1989, an international treaty to protect the ozone layer called the Montreal Protocol entered into force phasing out CFC production. It was since reported that ozone depletion had been halted. However, this new study may put a damper on this positive view. The study’s co-author Lorenzo Polvani, a research scientist at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, said: “While the ozone hole has been considered as a solved problem, we’re now finding it has caused a great deal of the climate change that’s been observed.” The study has important implications for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who didn’t even mention the ozone hole in their last summary for policymakers, Polvani explained.

June 2011


UAE third highest resource user in the world: UN Qatar and Australia ranked first and second A United Nations report released on May 12 ranked the UAE as the third highest resource user in the world. The study, commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme, examined residents’ use of resources including minerals, metals, fossil fuels, wood and food from 175 countries.

Residents in the UAE were found to consume just under 40 tonnes of resources per year, while the average person in India consumes just four. Qatar and Australia were ranked first and second on the list with Qatar reporting an average resident rate of more than 40 tonnes per year.

Annual Investment Meeting 2011: green FDI key in Middle East UAE committed to sustainable development says minister of foreign trade

Expos going green in Dubai Facilities Management Expo and The Hotel Show Summit featured dedicated environmentally-related sessions Green is in and it seems more and more industries are catching up with the trend with both the Facilities Management Expo (FM EXPO) and The Hotel Show Summit featuring sessions dedicated to sustainability and environmental issues FM EXPO is the largest exhibition for the facilities management industry in the Middle East. this year. FM EXPO, a facilities management exhibition that ran from May 17-19 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, included for the first time the Sustainable Facilities Expo. The new expo was Dubai’s first and only show dedicated to showcasing the best sustainable products and services in the facilities management industry. The unique expo featured sessions on energy management systems for more sustainable operations with case studies on the trials and tribulations of getting LEED certification for NASA’s headquarters in Washington and on the Atlantis Hotel. Both expos were carbon neutral. Meanwhile, the 12th edition of The Hotel Show, also from May 17-19 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, featured the Green Initiative which recognised companies offering cost and energy saving facilities leading to a greener future. Sessions included environmentally related discussion panels with international experts. A solar-dedicated session discussed pairing the technology with water-efficient appliances and fixtures, analysed project costs, payback timelines, solar panel placement and visibility and presented case studies on the most successful solar-powered hotels. Meanwhile, a green hotels session tackled developing an environmentally responsible brand and reducing carbon footprint and costs without impacting the guest experience. Shaikha Ebrahim Al Mutawa, chairperson of the Government of Dubai’s Dubai Green Tourism Award, emphasised the importance of great leadership and said the media played a role in propagating the myth that going green is not costeffective for hotels.

The Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), that took place at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from May 11-12, highlighted the importance of green foreign direct investments (FDI) for Middle East economies. UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2010, unveiled exclusively during AIM, revealed that up to US $90 billion were invested in 2009 green initiatives and businesses and that these figures were expected to The Annual Investment Meeting is an important grow exponentially in the global platform for foreign direct investments. coming years. The report also pointed out that the renewable energy sector proved to be recession-proof and that post recession climate change dialogue had generated a steady wave of FDI toward emerging markets tapping into the vast potential of resources-rich (sun and wind) fast developing economies, including the Middle East.  Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade, also highlighted the UAE’s commitment to sustainable development during her speech at AIM’s UNCTAD High Level Meeting on Green FDI saying: “Since its formation the UAE has been well aware that its understanding of the relationship between trade, environment and sustainable development is the driving force for its commitment to international pacts that emphasize both development and sustainability. The special impact of the Emiratis’ high level of awareness has been the implementation of unprecedented worldclass clean environmental projects.”

Consumption worldwide is always on the rise.



June 2011

Going green in the UAE

Everywhere you turn it seems everyone is going green and we could not be happier. BuildGreen spreads the good news, the joy and gives our seal of approval.

Green maids? Yup you heard right. Hurray for the UAE’s first eco-friendly cleaning service! Ecomaid uses none of the harmful corrosive products regular cleaning agencies do but charges the same as its often toxic competitors. Using citrus oil instead of dangerous chemicals, these ecomaids will leave your floor clean enough to eat from and safe enough to actually do it. Visit them at or contact them at (+971 4) 346 9774.

The Total Office opens LEED rated showroom in Dubai The Total Office, a UAE based company specialising in ergonomic and environment friendly workspace solutions, opened a spacious new outlet in Dubai that follows US Green Building Council LEED’s regulations. On an average, The Total Office’s new outlet uses 30% less energy than a typical showroom of the same size and has

All bags in the UAE to be biodegradable by 2013. Finally!


The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) announced it has finalised changes in the systems and processes involved in bag production so that all plastic bags in the UAE will be biodegradable by the year 2013. Acting director-general of ESMA Mohammed Saleh Badri said: “All plastic bags used in the UAE must be biodegradable from 2013 and on. We’re currently coordinating with the providers of plastics, including manufacturers and traders, and informing them that they need to be registered with and verified by ESMA. We are also conducting a series of educational sessions where the new bag producing processes will be showcased and explained.”

incorporated technologies such as automatic dimming lights, LED lighting and energy saving appliances. Managing director The Total Office Siddharth Peters said: “We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint by embracing energy efficiency methods in line with the UAE’s Green Building initiatives. Our Abu Dhabi showroom was the first LEED certified facility of its kind in the capital and for Dubai, we have adhered to the requirements of the latest version of the LEED system.”

Emirates Bank and du are moving to electronic billing and saving trees Emirates Bank and du are encouraging their customers to switch to electronic billing reducing paper waste. Best of all, they’ve launched their initiatives by text messages. Another eco-friendly means of communication!

A sharp rise in recycling in Sharjah! Bee’ah, the UAE’s leading integrated environmental and waste management company, announced that recent audits conducted at its waste management complex in Al Saj’ah revealed a 34% drop in waste delivered to landfill in Q1 of 2011, as compared to the same period last year. One of the highest contributors in increasing recycling levels, said the company, has been plastic - including PET and mixed plastic, with a 700% increase from March 2010 to 2011, paper and cardboard second at 366%, followed by a 135% increase in aluminium recycling for the same period. Bee’ah also announced that Municipal Solid Waste diversion rates from the Al Saj’ah landfill increased from 14% in 2010 to 33.7% in 2011. More than 100 million kilograms of organic waste was recycled at the Al Saj’ah Compost plant and 90% of construction and demolition waste was recovered. Additionally, more than 286,000 tyres were recycled every month at the Tyre Recycling Facility. Moving forward, Bee’ah aims to increase the diversion rate from 33.7% to 40% by the end of 2012 and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for years to come after that.


June 2011

Around the world

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

Squid-like devices to harness power of waves Scotland’s leading marine energy test centre, the European Marine Energy Centre, is opening two new berths specifically designed to test prototype machines, one of which will aim to harness wave energy using squid-like designs. Scottish energy company AlbaTERN is already testing a 10KW modular wave energy converter called SQUID, in reference to its resemblance to the marine animal. SQUID has an inflatable absorber similar to a large balloon which fills with sea water. Sitting just under the surface, the absorber is moved by passing waves and the energy from this motion drives a generator to produce electricity.

Three Gorges Dam catastrophe to come clean The Chinese government has decided to curb the well-known environmental deterioration in the Three Gorges Dam region by 2020. A statement released by China’s State Council said the government will “properly handle the negative effects brought by the dam project to the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and improve the long-term mechanisms for geological disaster prevention.” The State Council also stressed the need to “curb water pollution in the middle and lower reaches of the river” which affects eight provinces with an area of 633,000km2. The area is also the nation’s most densely populated which adds significant pressure to ensure the safety of the river’s drinking water.



Now you can eat your pie and use it to power your car too Greenergy, a privately owned company that supplies one fifth of Britain’s road fuel, has begun producing biodiesel from left-over pies. The company is recycling edible oils from unsold pies, pasties, crisps and other food waste, which would previously have gone to landfill, and converting them for use in biofuel and energy production. Greenergy had already invested around US $81 million in its biodiesel production facility to update it to process used cooking oils. The company already uses more than 20 million litres a month of biodiesel from used cooking oil supplied from a range of food producers.


Philips to light 22.9 million energy efficient bulbs The Mexican Ministry of Energy and the Electric Energy Savings Fund have contracted Phillips to replace 22.9 million light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs by the end of 2011. This is part of the first phase of the government program ‘Sustainable Light’, which was announced by Mexico’s Federal Government at COP 16 in Cancun. The ‘Sustainable Light’ program consists of an initiative to change traditional light bulbs and replace them with energy efficient ones for free in more than 11 million households across the country. The program is expected to be repeated in 2012.



June 2011


Wind turbines do not produce any electricity in the absence of wind.

Industrial pipes at a geothermal power station in Iceland.

Opening up the grid Senior associate at Taylor Wessing Michael Krämer discusses how feed-in tariffs attract home or business owners to invest in renewable energy



t is understood that the Government of Abu Dhabi aims to generate 7% of its overall electricity from renewable sources by 2020. This is a fairly ambitious goal, given the high rate of current consumption and forecasted energy usage for the Emirate by that time. Dubai, on the other hand, announced its vision for a “Green Dubai” in 2008, however no particular project plan has been announced yet. Electricity generation and consumption, are the key contributors to overall annual carbon-dioxide emissions. This is why any goal of a sustainable lifestyle cannot ignore energy generation via renewable sources. Taking recourse to nuclear power generation is not the ideal solution either. Nuclear power generation may not produce any carbondioxide emissions, but still has associated risks that are no less significant. Chernobyl and Fukushima bear witness to this fact. There are many ways to generate energy from renewable sources, including offshore or onshore wind, solar, biogas or geothermal energy alternatives. They all come with a certain price tag, however, which in most cases is a higher per KW/h cost than that of conventional power generation using oil, gas or coal. There are various ways of dealing with such a cost: it can be borne by a government or utility company or, it can be paid for by the

general public, or the costs can be shared between the government, the utility company and the general public. Around 50 countries and territories around the globe have so far decided to share the outlay with the general public by introducing so called feed-in tariffs. Such feed-in tariffs are usually based on three key principles: Access to the grid is guaranteed to renewable energy producers; All electricity produced will be purchased at an agreed value for a guaranteed period of time (in many cases 20 years); and The tariffs are calculated depending on the energy source (i.e. wind, solar, biogas) and tend to reduce over time (this does not apply to existing contracts). This takes into account economies of scale for renewable energy over time. Feed-in tariffs that are based on the abovementioned principles provide an incentive for individuals and businesses to generate energy from renewable sources. Any investment in, for example, a solar array or wind farm will pay off over a certain period of time. This can be achieved in a significantly shorter time-frame than that for which the feed-in tariff is being paid. Therefore, it represents a fairly secure investment with a solid return. In addition, the general public benefits from renewable energy investments as they provide for a

The introduction of feed-in tariffs is not a prerequisite for private renewable energy generation. However, it is a prerequisite for access to the public grid.” healthier environment and thus, better living standards for all. So where do things stand in the UAE? The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is working on a feed-in tariff scheme for solar installations on public and private roofs, though this has yet to be introduced. The Emirate of Dubai and the Northern Emirates do not yet appear to be working on any particular scheme. What does this mean in practice? Is the introduction of feed-in tariffs a prerequisite for private renewable energy generation? The short answer is no. The introduction of feed-in tariffs is not a prerequisite for private renewable energy generation. However, it is a prerequisite for access to the public grid. Feed-in tariffs are a tool to attract home or business owners to invest in renewable

June 2011 Solar panels do not work at night.

Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids with alcohol.

source of electricity for the house I live in, I will be unable to keep the AC running during the night. Therefore this option becomes ineffective in a climate such as ours. Energy generation from renewable sources requires the public grid as backup. It can assist in managing the power demand at peak times (i.e. solar installations reach their peak output around lunch time when the sun has reached its highest point and when demand is usually the highest during the day), but it lacks the required reliability if used as a stand-alone power supply. Simply put, the public grid acts as a gigantic battery, which provides power when renewable energy sources fail. To be clear, this is not to say that (in the long term perspective) the generation of electricity exclusively from renewable sources is impossible. The combination of different sources of renewable energy can be used to ensure a steady supply throughout the grid (i.e. there may well be wind at night

energy. Simply put, it makes it worthwhile for businesses and individuals to invest in the production of renewable energy, because they profit in monetary terms over the mid to long term. The lack of a feed-in tariff scheme as such does not necessarily make investments into renewable energy production impossible. However, the lack of access to the grid basically does just that. Most forms of renewable power plants come with a notable flaw. Their actual power output is not consistent, and thus not reliable. Solar panels, for example, depend on the sun in order to produce electricity and do not work at night. Wind turbines do not produce any electricity in the absence of wind. Private homes and businesses require a steady and reliable source of electric power. Think, for example, about the need for air conditioning in the UAE. The weather in the UAE requires air conditioners to run virtually 24 hours a day during the summer months. If, however, the solar array on my private roof is the only

What does this mean in practice? If the lack of a feed-in tariff scheme does not keep one from investing in renewable energy generation by, for example, fixing solar panels on the roof of one’s house, one is left with the problem of not being allowed to connect the solar array to the public grid. That, in turn, leaves no choice other than to either fix solar panels with a capacity that ensures sufficient power supply even at the worst of times (and coupled with a very expensive battery bank to ensure power supply during night time), or not invest in renewable energy sources at all. Even the most ambitious, most environmentally conscious person (and I dare to consider myself as being quite environmentally friendly) will refrain from investing in renewable energy generation if it means involving significant amounts of money in return for an unreliable power supply. The problem can be solved by allowing individuals and business owners to connect their individual power plants to the public grid. For the time being, the mere absence of any feed-in tariff scheme will ensure that only a handful of renewable energy sources would be connected to the grid. In the long run, however, granting access to the grid and also introducing a feed-in tariff scheme would in my view be the better option. Many countries around the world have done just that and have thus done their bit for a healthier environment for their people. The UAE, with its abundance of untapped solar power, wouldn’t want to lag behind.


when solar panels cannot work or biogas in circumstances where both wind and solar fail). Therefore, this can only be done on a grid-wide basis and does not work for the individual or business owner.



June 2011


The Power of MicroFinance via the Clean Development Mechanism - a Global Perspective


Sustainability expert and educator Jourdan Younis discusses solar derived carbon trading in the MENA region and the key barriers to Jordanian solar power

ith all of the recent events unfolding around us in the Middle East, you may find it interesting that my colleague, Zaher AbuHijleh, and I were able to perform an in depth analysis on the potential for carbon trading opportunities for our region. Over the past year we travelled globally to interview professionals from the UNFCCC, national utilities, venture capital firms and professors from leading institutions such as London Business School and the Masdar Institute. Interestingly enough, while on a brief stopover in Hong Kong we were granted the opportunity to interview the former CFO for Enron-Europe who led the development of Enron’s proprietary European carbon trading platform (one of the seed platforms which were instrumental in the design of the Kyoto Protocol). The result of our research is a rather comprehensive report which analyses the potential for solar derived carbon trading in the MENA region. For the purpose of this article, we have distilled the relevant information from the report and will relate it to how local investors may embrace carbon trading to develop a financially rewarding environmentally sustainable solution to the region’s growing electricity needs. The details of the report, due to length and confidentiality reasons, are omitted. Carbon trading, a brief background: As has been demonstrated by internationally renowned scientists, the buildup of CO2 emissions in our atmosphere is contributing to global warming and climate change. In order to mitigate this buildup in CO2, a cap and trade mechanism for emissions was put in place which allows countries with emissions lower than the level specified in the Protocol to sell excel allowances to countries which exceed their Kyoto targets, thereby creating a commodity in greenhouse gasses (known as the carbon market). Why is this important

to us? The carbon market is currently valued at over $100 billion and according to Point Carbon, is expected to reach $3.1 trillion by 2020. Yes that is trillion with a T! Carbon trading in our region: In order to bring these numbers back into perspective, while the MENA region is an attractive supply market for carbon credit offsets as it is rich in renewable energy resources (i.e. solar and wind energy), very few CDM projects are taking place in MENA countries. In fact only less than 50 CDM projects have been registered to date, representing less than 2% of the total carbon market. The report, The power of micro-finance via the Clean Development Mechanism: Our research focused on the financial potential for using distributed solar panels as part of a joint utility and private investor program. Given that KSA is the largest market in the MENA region, we initially focused on their vast solar potential, but once we started running the analysis we discovered that we needed to expand our research to include the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan. Of these four countries, Jordan was the only location where the use of distributed solar panel installations (as opposed to solar power plants) made financial sense. In fact, it was the only market that we analysed which did better than break even. The reason for this is twofold. First of all, due to a lower level of government subsidisation, the utility rate for fossil fuel based electricity is higher in Jordan than in the other countries. The second reason is that Jordan offers very generous feed-in tariffs to those entities which provide renewable energy to the grid. It is a combination of these two factors which allows for a relatively large favorable spread to develop between ‘dirty’ and ‘clean’ energy for the Jordanian market; this, in contrast with most of the states in the region, allows for the breakeven price of derived carbon credits in Jordan to be quite low.

The question you may be asking yourself is, “why isn’t this plan currently being implemented in Jordan?” Essentially the key barriers which limit the investment in Jordanian solar power are: A relatively high upfront cost which is challenging for typical families to bear, limited means of traditional financing, a lack of Sharia compliant financing, a general lack of understanding regarding PV and an acute lack of financial reserves at utility companies. Thankfully my partner in research is Jordanian and he was able to complement our official data with some local context. The report addresses these formidable barriers and offers a country-wide integrated solution which involves stakeholders from the private investment market, systems providers, household owners, renters, carbon coordinators and the utility company. Essentially the report demonstrates a method which enables private investors to use the principles of micro-finance to, at minimal risk due to the backstop provided by the utility, profitably fund the development of a distributed solar grid. Other noteworthy information from the report: - Expected internal rates of return of 75% for the carbon coordinator, 12% for the utility company and 10% for the sharia compliant bond holders - The bonds are Sharia compliant since the payments to the bondholders are derived from the value of the energy which is produced by the underlying assets - An estimated $300,000 in start-up costs - An estimated break-even price for Certified Emissions Reduction (CERs) for one tonne of carbon equivalent that is significantly below the current market price of ~$17.00. Until next month, feel free to contact me directly or to drop me a question regarding the trajectory of the sustainable development movement, cleantech or sustainability education.

June 2011


Brain power BuildGreen’s Christine Fashugba reports on how Schneider Electric is raising energy managers using an online education scheme


he statement, knowledge is power might one day be realised, literally. At least Schneider Electric management hopes so. Acknowledging that energy demand is increasing faster than new sources are found and quicker than the development of new technology, staff at the global energy management company plan to transfer their resource-saving know-how in the form of an online study community called Energy University.

The Energy University may effectively drive home the harsh facts environmental ambassadors have been attempting to make people aware of for years.”

Schneider Electric is raising energy managers using an online education scheme called the Energy University.


The free courses on product-agnostic, critical concepts and best practices aim to teach members a high degree of energy management as well as help organisations achieve more than a quarter energy usage saving. Susan Hartman global customer education manager Schneider Electric says: “By employing active energy efficiency measures, organisations can easily achieve 30% energy savings or more today.” “Energy University continues to provide a very valuable service to our industry–basic education on how customers can use energy efficiency solutions to help save money and the environment,” she adds.

it is still estimated that we will use about 25% more energy in 2030 than we did in 2005 and about 60% of our energy will still come from oil and gas. Speaking of the effect energy use has on the climate resulting in unexpected, uncontrollable weather pattern changes Hartman says: “We at Schneider Electric believe that the solution for these challenges is a combination of Schneider courses are free. cleaner generation and efficiency. Hence we developed Energy University to educate the market about the With the economy and population closely ways to approach opportunities for energy related to energy demand the Energy efficiency in University may effectively drive home the harsh facts environmental ambassadors have all industries.” Staff at Schneider Electric, which offers been attempting to make people aware of integrated solutions to make energy safe, for years. efficient, and green across multiple market Giving a talk earlier this year at the World segments, launched the website in 2009 in Future Energy Summit 2011 technology an effort to reduce confusion about energy forum, Sarah Ortwein, president, Upstream and raise usage awareness. Research Company Exxon Mobil USA, The programme initially offered 11 confirmed the world currently uses 15 billion foundational courses. Today it offers 50 in British thermal units of energy every second, multiple languages. which is the equivalent of 40 light bulbs The courses have been submitted to running continuously per person worldwide. staff at professional associations and Although the statistics take into account the 1.2 billion people without access to electricity,

June 2011

Staff at Schneider Electric launched the website in 2009.

for sustainable energy savings that is unaddressed by industry and consumers in today’s world.” “While as a company we can provide any number of services, products and support, our belief is that the greatest impact to be made on sustainability and energy savings is through behavioral change and greater education of the population.” She adds: “Through this means we can make the greatest impact for change. It is this idea of education that led us to the creation of the Energy University.” The absence of access limits, travel time or costs enables Energy University to successfully reach trainees globally with a registration of more than 30,000 users from over 120 countries. Registrations from Europe, Middle East and Africa mark 33%, Asia Pacific accounts for 34%, 22% of members are in North America and 11% applied from South America. As the series of training is modular allowing individuals to tailor their curriculum to suit their

organisations which have reviewed their content and confirmed they are appropriate for their membership to gain continuing education credit beyond their current degree programs. Among the groups which have given their stamp of approval are the Italian Federation for the Rational use of Energy, an energy efficiency non-profit association, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership a global non-profit, renewable energy and energy efficiency specialist and the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington, D.C- based, non-profit organisation specialising in cost-efficient and energy-saving buildings. Some of the website’s most popular courses are energy efficiency fundamentals, alternative power generation, lighting basics, measuring and benchmarking energy performance and going green with leadership in energy and environmental design. Staff at the global energy management specialist, which is already committed to helping individuals and organisations make the most of their energy, hopes the initiative equips its members with the knowledge they need to act on energy efficient solutions so they can do more with less resources. Hartman says: “Schneider Electric believes there is a significant opportunity

requirements, industry and role, staff and workers from a range of sectors are choosing to complete the courses. Designed to support anyone involved in the decision-making, management, planning, design, or construction of a space impacted by energy, the courses provide awareness of energy opportunities and the impact on the bottom line. Content includes how to prioritise projects, win approval, successfully acquire safe, reliable and cost effective solutions, and monitor performance to sustain savings over time. Hartman says: “All courses supply a solid grounding in their relevant applications and do not focus on Schneider Electric products or solutions, making this offering a unique corporate-sponsored education platform. “Further, by providing the courses free of charge, it ensures immediate access for a broad audience of individuals.” She adds: “Through Energy University, we expect to enable anyone to better understand and act on these opportunities, so they can do more with less.” As the global economy sees signs of recovery and global populations around the world continue to seek higher standards of living, this is a critical time for increasing energy demand to be addressed and Schneider Electric supporters are convinced this can only be done through education and awareness. “Only through education and awareness can companies take advantage of the significant energy savings available to them today,” says Andy Chatha, president and CEO of ARC Advisory Group, a global market intelligence company. “By providing users with commercial-free knowledge and expertise on various topics, they will be able to implement sustainable energy-efficient solutions that are good for the environment and good for their bottom line.”


The programme today offers 50 courses in multiple languages.


Because learning to save energy can’t be bad for your business

Enroll in Energy University today for FREE and learn how to conserve energy. Even while the economic crisis impacts all business segments, the consumption of energy is projected to continue to rise dramatically, pressuring businesses, governments, and consumers alike. The new demands of the Digital Economy add urgency while environmental and climate change concerns leave little room for error. Now for the good news: we can help you guide your company through these difficult times with Energy University™. Energy University is a Webbased, on-demand resource for anyone interested in energy efficiency for their organisation. Based on the philosophy behind energy efficiency and conservation, these one-hour courses cover energy consumption, applications, ROI calculations, and solutions that can support meaningful change. By taking these convenient courses yourself, or delegating the task to an ‘energy champion’ within your organisation, you will be better equipped to handle your current challenges as well as any new ones that crop up unexpectedly. It’s no news that our reliance on energy is reaching critical levels — the costs to your business, and the environment, have never been greater. The time is right for energy efficiency. The time is right for Energy University.

Take a big step toward a smaller footprint Energy University topics focus on critical end markets that represent 72 per cent of the worldwide energy consumption:

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June 2011

BP solar MENA director and chairman of ESIA (Emirates Solar Industry Association) Vahid Fotuhi discusses his views on solar versus nuclear and why the latter is no longer the obvious choice experts expect solar costs to continue dropping in the coming decade as the industry continues to come of age. On the other hand, the cost of nuclear power is set to rise. After the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the US, construction costs for nuclear reactors rose 95%. After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, construction costs rose another 89%. The construction costs soared because of design changes required to address safety concerns. The same price hike is likely to take place following the Fukushima incident. As the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei, recently said: “In the past we had to plan for the unexpected. Now, we have to plan for the impossible.” Planning for the impossible will not be cheap. Nor will the cleanup costs should something go wrong. Compensation claims from the Fukushima explosions are expected to exceed US $100 billion. With liabilities like this, investors will think twice before committing to nuclear projects. In terms of the potential for solar power, no other region is as endowed as the Middle East. In fact, if we were to sprinkle Saudi Arabia’s Rub Al Khali desert (Empty Quarters) with solar panels, we would produce enough energy to power two earths. And of course there’s the safety issue. No matter how small the risk of another Fukushima accident may be, it can never be excluded. Even if nothing goes wrong, there remain questions about the sustainability of the radioactive waste that gets buried underground. In comparison, solar power is completely recyclable and does produce any bi-products that could harm us or our planet. This new energy equation has shifted the spotlight to solar power. A recent survey by the Swiss bank Sarasin believes that one

third of new and old nuclear capacity will be replaced globally by renewable plants with an overall capacity of 500 Gigawatt. Moreover, the oil giant Total’s recent majoritystake acquisition of SunPower at a cost of a $1.4 billion is further evidence that the smart money is now on solar. In Majles across the region there is now more and more talk about solar power. The UAE has led the way with the creation of Masdar and its official plan to deploy some 1,500MW of solar power by 2020. Saudi

Vahid Fotuhi

Arabia, never to be outdone, recently came out and announced plans to install some 18,000MW of solar power over the next 20 years. The momentum is rising. All that is missing now is an over-arching regulatory framework and an incentive structure to give life to the region’s nascent solar industry. The events in Japan will no doubt serve as a catalyst and help lay the foundation for policies that will allow this region to make far better use of its most abundant form of energy: the sun. As such, 2011 will be remembered not only as the dawn of a new political era in the Middle East but also the dawn of a new energy era.

2011 has been a memorable year for the Middle East. But while all the media attention has been focused on the unfolding political changes a more subtle shift is taking place in the region’s energy sector. Historically, the Middle East has been focused on the extraction and exportation of fossil fuels. But as oil and gas reservoirs start to show their age and as new fields become harder and more expensive to develop the Middle East is starting to look for alternative forms of energy to satisfy its growing energy needs. The obvious choice so far has been nuclear power. Nuclear is branded as the most secure form of energy, requiring minimal fuel and operating at a very low cost for 40-60 years. From an environmental point of view, nuclear is also the best choice, generating far less CO2 emissions than conventional fossil fuels. While renewable energy such as solar and wind are equally environmentally friendly they have not been as reliable. As a result, governments across the Arab world have been tripping over each other to adopt nuclear power programs. Even Saudi Arabia, the custodian of the world’s largest oil reserves recently made headlines when it declared that nuclear power is “a must.” The revolving doors at hotels in Riyadh have since been busy welcoming senior executives from foreign nuclear companies armed with shiny shoes and glossy sales pitches. Earlier this year, those revolving doors came to an abrupt stop. The dramatic explosions at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding its safe shutdown has led many people in this region to ask: Is nuclear power worth the risk? It’s true that historically nuclear power has been the least expensive and most reliable form of clean energy. But things are changing. In the past 10 years, there has been a dramatic shift in the cost of solar power, with prices dropping by some 50%. Industry


The dawn of a new energy era



June 2011


A reed oasis solution to the region’s water woes BuildGreen explores a unique sustainable system that filters biological waste water with solar energy while creating lush green landscapes even in the middle of a desert


nside Dubai’s Ras Al Khor Industrial area, surrounded by dust, construction machinery and mechanical workshops, lies an unexpected reed oasis complete with clean water, cool shaded areas, vegetable plantations and butterflies and birds. It’s called Terrasave and it’s a unique sewage solution by Emirati-Austrian construction company Waagner Biro Gulf. Installed at a worker’s accommodation, TerraSave is a sustainable environmentally-friendly system that features reed beds occupying only 600 m2 that treat the waste from up to 150 people. Daily, almost 35,000 litres of sewage is filtered and made usable. The sewage treatment produces no smell and the runoff water once treated is used to grow fruits and vegetables and clean the solar panels that will one day power it. The water is so clean that some of it is used in ponds outside Waagner Biro Gulf’s offices where Nile cabbages float atop feeding the pond’s tilapia fish and cleaning its water. Nothing goes to waste here. The excess cabbages are collected quickly and used as compost for the workers’ vegetable garden, leaving space for younger healthier cabbage to grow. This system not only produces clean, even potable, water, it is also completely sustainable with each element being put to good use. In a region suffering from water shortage - a recent report by the Strategic Foresight Group indicates that the Middle East is likely to plunge into a serious humanitarian crisis due to the depletion of water resources - the TerraSave solution is heaven sent.

Water shortage in the Middle East has long forced countries to reuse treated wastewater for agriculture, industry and recreation. However, the primary problem associated with using treated wastewater was always the inherent health risks from bacteria, viruses, and a wide range of parasitic organisms, as well as the costs of maintaining technical treatment plants. TerraSave offers a solution to all of these issues. Peter Neuschaefer, director Middle East for the water, energy and environment technologies of Waagner Biro Gulf, says: “The TerraSave concept requires little energy, doesn’t pollute the atmosphere with CO2, doesn’t need skilled labour for its maintenance,

can treat even heavy metals and best of all, can pass as landscaped area. There is also no sludge and it doesn’t require chemical additives.” Additionally, TerraSave may also offer a solution to the Middle East’s solar energy problems. It is a well known fact that photovoltaic solar panels do not work to their full potential in the UAE and other countries in the region due to high summer temperatures and dust. But TerraSave could offer a solution. According to Neuschaefer, during an eight-hour sunny day, a dry and dirty panel produces a maximum of 70Wp (Watt-peak output). A clean panel can give a maximum of 150Wp and a TerraSave-cleaned and cooled panel up to 200Wp.

1: The reed beds at the Waagner Biro Gulf Dubai offices. 2: The TerraSave system at Dubai Creek’s floating bridge. 3: Solar panels covering the reed beds at the Waagner Biro Gulf offices also offer shade from the sun.



June 2011


In this version of the TerraSave system, the sewage generated by technician lavatories is filtered and processed through a roof-top garden on top of the lavatory cabin. The result is treated waste water that is clean and cool enough to wash away dust from the


Increasing the efficiency of solar panels could lead to their application in more projects, says Neuschaefer. To test this theory, Waagner Biro Gulf erected someTerraSave cleaned solar panels near the Dubai Creek floating bridge to charge a small battery-powered boat.

solar panels powering the boat charger. Neuschaefer adds that there’s one more advantage to the TerraSave system; it gets better with time. The older a reed bed is, the more evolved its microorganisms are and the more capable it is to treat even more complex sewage. So far, TerraSave has seen Waagner Biro Gulf receive Qatar Today’s Green Award 2009, MEED’s 2010 Quality Award for Projects in the sustainability category and the Middle East Architecture’s best five Green Buildings 2010 award. Neuschaefer explains that it takes just one month to get the reed bed in place but once installed the system requires very little maintenance. This is a distinct advantage over technical treatment plants that require a lot of energy, skilled labourers, chemicals and eventually part replacements. Not to mention the CO2 emissions that these plants produce. Neuschaefer says: “The TerraSave treatment plant not only requires 70 to 80% less maintenance, the reeds can also be harvested for biomass, generating a new



June 2011

more eco-friendly source of power.” “About 2.5kg of reeds produce a burning capacity of 10kWh equivalent to one litre of fuel. But whereas a litre of fuel generates at least 19 kg of CO2 emissions, reed biomass is carbon neutral. Whatever is generated when the plant is burned has already been absorbed during its life,” adds Neuschaefer. The plants can also be used to produce reed plaster which holds carbon emissions and protects against heat in climates such as the ones found in the Middle East. Coincidentally, it is these same climates that result in the faster growth of reeds due to an increase in bacteria. As such, the TerraSave system, adapted to the region by Neuschaefer and his team, is ideally engineered to produce optimum results 1

using the UAE’s particular climate and environment. Since 2005, Waagner Biro has installed 20 reed bed systems at different locations in the Emirates and 2

1: Untreated sewage can lead to the spread of diseases such as cholera. 2: The final effluent coming out of a waste water treatment plant is usually cleaner than regular tap water. 3: Effective waste water treatment, such as reed beds, returns clean water into the environment while removing the harmful by-products of untreated sewage.



in Qatar and is now installing the TerraSave system at the UNESCO Doha Offices. UNESCO’s ecological science adviser in the Arab region Dr Benno Boer says: “One of the most significant differences between decentralised systems, such as TerraSave, and conventional ones is the creation of symbiotic habitats as a part of the water treatment solution, rather than the reliance on purely technological solutions. Moreover, these systems can actually generate solar-energy which can be used for a variety of purposes. The water can also be used to clean the dust on the solar panels, as well as to cool them, ensuring they remain efficient. “ Dr Boer added that UNESCO intends to measure the results produced from TerraSave’s installation in order to continue to evaluate and enhance the Doha office’s ecological footprint. He also hopes to inspire colleagues, friends, and visitors to chose eco-friendly alternatives to water and waste management. “The costs of polluting the Gulf, with whatever pollutant, are difficult to quantify, but they nonetheless impact us all with potential losses in biodiversity, changes in meso-climates, health side-effects and more. Specialists have warned very seriously that we are simply not treating the Gulf ecosystem well enough. We need to reduce our pressure on natural ecosystems if we want to continuously enjoy the services they provide, such as the production of drinking water,” concluded Dr Boer.

‘The industries leading waterless urinal’

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June 2011


Water for Life


Dubai’s Heriot-Watt University academic director of civil and architectural engineering Dr Olisanwendu Ogwuda and water resources expert Dr Abdullah Yilmaz explain the importance of water management in the Middle East


enjamin Franklin, the famous American statesman and scientist, once said: “When the well is dry, then they will Know the worth of water.”If you imagine that the volume of water in the world is equivalent to seven twolitre coca-cola bottles, the total amount of available fresh water is equivalent to a can of coke (0.35 litres) and the usable supply of this fresh water is only as much as a teaspoon. Only 2.5% of the earth’s water is good for drinking, irrigation and industrial use and only 0.015% of the earth’s total volume of water is readily available to us. In addition, fresh water is not proportionately distributed throughout the world. For example, Canada, has only 0.5% of the world’s population, but has 20% of the world’s fresh water. China, with 21% of the world’s population, has only 7% of the world’s water supply and the Middle East is very unfortunate in terms of water availability. According to World Bank reports, the Middle East and North Africa region is the most water scarce of the world and in recent years the amount of water available per person has declined dramatically. Moving forward, alterations in the hydrological cycle due to climate change associated with population growth will continue to affect water availability and quality, and will increase the Middle East’s water problems. The Middle East is likely to observe longer droughts due to temperature increase, more frequent and intense floods, and, finally, desertification due to the change in variability and intensity of rainfalls. As such, sustainable management of water resources in the Middle East is vital for meeting the water demands of future generations. Heriot-Watt University already has plans to contribute to alleviating the region’s water resource management issues through education and training. The university is introducing from September 2011, the first international MSc programme in Water Resources at the Dubai Campus. The programme will cover important aspects of water resources management including

According to experts, the Middle East could very well suffer from severe water shortages within a decade.

According to World Bank reports, the Middle East and North Africa region is the most water scarce of the world .” environmental hydrology and water resources, sustainability, water supply and drainage, waste water treatment, irrigation and geographic information system (GIS)

applications. It will also include key regional issues such as groundwater hydrology and desalination. Sustainable water resources management has long been one of the most important fields around the world due to rapidly increasing populations leading to higher water demand, intense climate changes and strong impacts on the hydrological cycle. Nowhere is this field more important and in need of development than in the region and Dubai is the ideal place to lead the way for better more efficient more eco-friendly water management everywhere.

Elite British Education Since 1821 Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus

Water Resources MSc/Diploma Taught in Dubai from September 2011 The aim of the programme is to provide a comprehensive understanding of sustainable water resource issues. The programme develops the knowledge and skills necessary for planning and management to meet the needs of the built and natural environment within the context of climate change. The Water Resources programme builds on the success of Heriot-Watt University’s UK-based programme which has trained many people now working in leading positions all over the world in this discipline.

MSc Energy - now taught in Dubai Due to increased demand from UAE and abroad, the MSc Energy is now being offered as a taught programme at the Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus. Choose a full-time (1 year) or part time (2 year) option with classes for both options being held in the evenings.

Why study MSc Energy at Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus?

• A broad range of disciplines covered by Energy are reflected in this degree which covers Energy Resources, Energy Efficiency, Future Technology, Energy Demand Management, Renewable Energy and Energy in Buildings. • Programme relevant to several industries and functions • Postgraduate Diploma in Energy also available • Flexible class delivery • Multiple intakes annually • Competitive fees - Corporate packages

Please contact the Admissions Office for more details on intake dates and application procedure. Tel: +971 4 361 6999 Email: Web:

Distinctly Ambitious

June 2011

Four Things You Should Know about Product Lifecycle Assessments CONSTRUCTION

Tips for achieving that green marketing advantage by Richard Reynolds, Manager – Supply Chain Consultancy at Masdar City


ssessing the environmental impacts of a product is one of the most important things a company can do to begin the process of pursuing a green marketing advantage. Product analysis helps a company fine-tune its understanding of environmental-related risks and opportunities, pinpoint specific areas to target for improvement, and help evaluate complex options and trade-offs in product and process design. However, not only are there many competing methodologies and tools available to use in conducting a product lifecycle assessment (LCA), but the process itself is an extraordinarily complex one. You are trying to account for, and quantify, every possible environmental impact of every input and output at every stage of a product’s lifecycle, from raw material extraction to use to end of life. Fortunately, what usually matters most is getting a good enough sense of what a product’s main impacts are (and which elements are the chief culprits) to steer you on the right path to reducing them. In those cases, simple tools that produce rough estimates will likely suffice. However, companies that want to make claims about how “green” their products are should plan to invest in rigorous analytical efforts.

Assessing a product’s impact is one of the most important things a company can do to begin the process of pursuing a green marketing advantage, says Richard Reynolds.


Below are four facts about LCAs you should know before undertaking a product lifecycle analysis: • LCA is a generic term used to cover many different types of studies. • The basic idea behind the LCA method is to assess various environmental impacts across different stages of a product’s life from extracting and processing raw materials to manufacturing, use/reuse/maintenance, and disposal/recycling. The biggest differences stem from choices about the lifecycle stage and types of impact: • Lifecycle stage: Most LCAs seek to assess, even if only roughly, the environmental impacts of products from “cradle to grave” that is, from resource extraction to final disposal. But LCAs sometimes use different boundaries, including: “cradle-togate” (from resource extraction to the factory gate); “gate-to-gate” (from the gate through which materials enter the production process to the gate through which they); and “cradle-to-cradle” (from resource extraction to recycling). • Type(s) of impact: To make things more manageable, some LCA studies limit their scope to assess impacts on just one environmental issue, such as climate change; in fact, a “product carbon footprint analysis” is actually a type of LCA. Other LCAs assess impacts more comprehensively, including threats to human health or ecosystems from toxic chemicals, depletion of natural resources, and water use. LCAs also can focus on social impacts of particular products and processes. • It’s critical to know why you want to do a product LCA so you can choose the right tool.

What question(s) are you trying to answer? What problem(s) are you trying to solve? What decision(s) do you need help with? In other words, what’s your company’s goal for the analysis? Being explicit about this up front is a crucial prerequisite to choosing the right tools for the task. • Most studies build off an international standard approach for LCAs. • A set of international standards have been painstakingly built over decades to establish a unifying framework on which most LCAs build: ISO 14040 and ISO 14044. • An LCA is only as good as the data and assumptions behind it – no LCA is perfect. With so many potential variables at play, the reality is that even the most meticulously crafted LCAs can produce findings that are uncertain, incomplete or controversial. Certainly, higher quality input data will result in a high-quality assessment. Also, note that unless two companies’ products are verified by the same third-party certification agency, there is little meaning in comparing environmental impacts across competitors. LCAs try to distil complexity down into single numbers or “scores”, but doing so when nature is involved inevitably requires subjective judgments, which means numbers can only be trusted to a point. For any organisation standing at the beginning of a lifecycle assessment process, the unfamiliar terrain may seem daunting, but there’s no need to be intimidated. The four tips outlined above give you a head start on understanding this process, while any number of qualified organisations – all of whom are committed to a more sustainable world – are ready to guide you through a process that will deliver marketing and corporate social responsibility benefits, among others, to your organisation.

Green Environmentally Friendly ConstructionTechnology That will help to earn:

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June 2011


Sustainable concrete: reconciling sustainability and economics Gareth Moores, group managing director of Lytag FZE, takes a look at the challenge of meeting sustainability requirements set by Middle East governments, industries and clients while maintaining the highest levels of design and performance in the context of a tough global economic climate

Using lightweight aggregate in structural concrete makes it lighter.



oth governments and industry in the GCC region are embracing the drive for green building. The introduction of the Estidama rating system for communities, new buildings and villas is a convincing step in the right direction. Add to this the high profile MASDAR initiative and interest in the BREEAM Gulf scheme, and it is clear that real and positive action is being taken in the region to address the environmental impact of the construction industry and of the built environment. Yet, there is little doubt that in the wake of economic and political instability, 2011 is set to be a challenging year for construction in the Middle East. As other pressures take their toll, there is a danger that minimising the environmental impact of a construction project will slip down the agenda. In a region where energy

Garret Moores

consumption per capita is high, and where the impacts of climate change could exacerbate existing problems associated with high temperatures and low rainfall,

maintaining a commitment to sustainability is imperative. So how can the sustainability agenda and the economic climate be reconciled? One answer that can help clients, design teams and contractors achieve this is to apply construction processes and to use materials that deliver on both counts. There are opportunities in the choice of construction approaches and materials specified which can improve sustainability credentials, achieve the highest levels of performance, and enable cost and programme benefits on a project. The ongoing construction project to expand Dubai International Airport provides a good demonstration of this approach in practice. The airport first opened in 1960 and it has been developed considerably over the past 50 years. A new expansion

June 2011

Further benefits include enhanced durability aspects such as chemical resistance, frost resistance, fire resistance and permeability reduction.”

achieving the highest quality is of primary concern. As the Dubai International Airport project shows, there are materials and processes that can help project teams to deliver impressive designs and performance on construction projects alongside improved sustainability credentials. In addition, they can even help offer project cost and programme savings. But the benefits don’t stop there. Further benefits include enhanced durability aspects such as chemical resistance, frost resistance, fire resistance and permeability reduction. Its use reduces the coefficiency of thermal expansion and the material’s lower density can improve insulating properties. In addition to the design and engineering advantages of its lighter weight, practical advantages on site can make it easier to place and work with concrete made using lightweight aggregate.The drive for a sustainable built environment in the GCC must be maintained, and all indications show that government and industry are both committed to the environmental agenda despite the challenging economic and social climate. All those involved in the region’s construction industry are presented with both an opportunity and responsibility to maintain commitment to sustainable working, quality engineering and iconic design. Construction processes and materials that enable all these at the same time will be an invaluable tool for design teams and contractors over the coming months and years.


master plan was launched in 1997, and expansion works continue on Terminal 3 which include the construction For example, of the new Concourse 3, using a LYTAG expected to open in the lightweight coming year. aggregate The need for space is in structural paramount in any airport concrete makes design, as are high quality, it 25% lighter strength and durability in but with the its realisation. Marrying same structural these with sustainability integrity as requirements is a challenge concrete made for any airport construction with traditional or expansion project. For aggregate. Using the expansion of Terminal the material 3, building the concourse It is easier to place and work with conin screed can floors posed an engineering crete made using lightweight aggregate. enable a 50% problem as traditional weight saving. concrete would weigh too The weight saving can enable a number of much for the demands of the terminal’s benefits for clients and project teams, such design and its load bearing properties. as reduced foundations and slab sizes, or With the support columns that would column sizes, and reduced or eliminated be necessary, the usable floor space in need for reinforcement as well as logistical the lower ground floor areas would be and handling advantages. These can reduced. all allow a flexibility of design as well as As a solution, main contractor Al project time and cost savings. Naboodah Contracting and concrete At Dubai International Airport, lightweight supplier CEMEX UAE chose to use aggregate was used to create 10,000m3 concrete made with lightweight aggregate of lightweight concrete in a project that in the floor slabs for the concourse areas. started in March 2010. The reduced This material is a secondary aggregate weight of the concrete floor slabs for the made by sintering Pulverised Fuel Ash – a concourse at Terminal 3 has reduced by-product from coal fired power stations deadload, and is enabling the floor space which may otherwise be sent to landfill as in the lower ground areas to be maximised. waste. Its use not only diverts material from Using this lightweight aggregate landfill, it also reduces demand on has allowed CEMEX UAE to provide quarried aggregate. a readymade, effective solution to a Using secondary lightweight aggregate significant design and engineering in structural or precast concrete, screeds, challenge faced by the project team. It is as a fill or as a drainage medium can also a unique, high quality material and its use deliver crucial performance and project has mitigated any quality issues that may cost benefits as well as environmental otherwise have been experienced. This advantages, thanks to the opportunities was crucial on a project such as this where offered by using a light but strong material.

Lightweight aggregates also offer chemical resistance, frost resistance, fire resistance and permeability reduction.


June 2011

Walking the talk An interview with the man who walked to both Poles to save the planet


obert Swan, the first person to have walked to both the North and South Poles, is the man behind 2041, an organisation which seeks to preserve the most desolate place on earth: Antarctica. His global expeditions and contribution to both education and the environment have been recognised worldwide earning him an appointment as UN Goodwill Ambassador for Youth, a Special Envoy to the Director General of UNESCO and an Order of the British Empire. BuildGreen speaks


to the adventurer about his views on the region, his missions and walking under the hole in the ozone layer. You’ve said that India and China have the opportunity to change things as opposed to the old world. Do you think the same about the Middle East? Yes, the story of my trip to Dubai is very indicative of that. Initially, I came here to fill up with petrol for my yacht on my way to India and China. I had been here before but I had not been here on my voyage for cleaner energy to the worst carbon foot print place on the planet. This time,

I looked around here and thought; this is interesting. There’s a lot of vision here and there’s a lot of good leadership here because people can say we are doing this and it’s done. When you’re dealing with an issue that really does need attention, good leadership really counts. You can’t have 500 parliamentary debates and 65 executive meetings to discuss certain things. We need to get things done. Additionally, there are no more sustainable people then those who come from the desert. People from the desert have to respect their environment. They have to look out for it, care for it. They

June 2011

The Antarctic covers 20% of the Southern Hemisphere.

*Zornitza Hadjitodorova from Dubai, division manager at Enviroserve, went on Robert Swan’s recent expedition to the Antarctic. Her experience and pictures are featured below.

So is the problem the degree to which these fuels are used? For sure. Look at India and China’s population. When my mother was born the population of the planet was 1.8 billion and she’s still alive. It’s now 6.8 billion and 1.2 are in India and 1.2 are in China. We have to get real. And I’m sorry to say this but nuclear energy is going to have to be part of bridging this energy gap even after what’s happened in Japan. Aren’t the risks associated with nuclear energy too high? The risks are too high to build a coal powered station every week in China. Go live in Shanghai for a week and then vomit every time you ride your bicycle. And when you come back to civilisation you’re blowing black gum from your nose. That’s the danger.

Robert Swan on one of his expeditions.

You are sponsored by BP, Shell and other oil related companies. Some have said that this is ironic. What do you have to say? The future of our world all has to do with where the energy comes from. How we make energy, how we save it and how we blend our energy mix is the issue of our survival on earth. Sadly, renewable energies aren’t going to power us, especially in places like India and China. So I work with these companies because our survival won’t continue from

people saying don’t use oil. People will use oil. How we use it is the real question. The whole world is asking what the future energy mix is going to be. Solar and wind are fantastic. All those must move forward. But right now these alternatives are only 1 or 2 % of the energy mix. Therefore, 98% is coming in from the big oil companies. Rather than looking at oil companies and saying “you’re wrong”, it’s best to get in there and work with them. Unless, you want to live in a cave, you have to be realistic. We need fuels. Additionally, technology is moving forward on the types of fuel we are using. The future will be about cleaner burning fuels. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that we work with these companies and inspire their employees and their future leaders to contribute to a better energy mix.


can’t destroy it. Therefore there’s something inside the leadership of this country that does respect nature. Maybe there is power to change here. Money and influence does make change. So I thought I would hang out for a while and see what I can find. What I’m finding is what BuildGreen is doing and Zornitza* from Enviroserve and all these people who truly care. Now, I have a plan to work more with the UAE and I will make a voyage around the Middle East in September to inspire young people and business leaders to create a more sustainable future.


June 2011

If I am anything today; I am the Indiana Jones of the environment”


Do you believe we can reduce energy consumption worlwide? Well if you talk to people who lived through the Second World War there was a need to do it and they did. It used to be that you had to inspire people to change, to sacrifice a bit and to think about it. But now the costs are so high that it is starting to happen all the time. People are starting to think we should not waste energy. So it’s a balance between inspiring young people and showing it can save money.

pound sled on your back, you reached your goal - the South Pole, only to learn your expedition rescue vessel had just sank three minutes before your arrival. In one instant you lost all your savings and perhaps your mission. What did you feel at that moment and what were the thoughts that helped you rise above it all? When things go really wrong you should control what you can control. Standing there I was thinking; what can I control and what do I really mean? What I am I really? And I thought; as long as everyone is safe nothing else matters. I lost all my money but I’m young and healthy and I just walked to the South Pole. I’m still in the game and if I built it once, I can do it again. Tell us about the 2041 campaign that removed and recycled 1500 tons of garbage and military debris from Bellingshausen Station on King George Island. How did you achieve such an incredible feat? It’s very helpful to readers to know that I didn’t really know what I was doing when I started. I went to see the world leaders in Rio at the first World Summit and I asked the young people there how they wanted to be inspired. They said; let’s clear all this rubbish. I did not

want to do it because I knew it would take all I had to succeed. But I did it. It took 10 years and I had to raise $10 million and it was appallingly difficult. It was a mighty battle. But if you want to save Antarctica, you can’t just send an email. You have to do something that inspires people. In return for the clean up, the Russians allowed 2041 to set up the very first ecamp made of 100% renewable resources on their base. It was the world’s first permanent education base in Antarctica and you lived there for two weeks, in the harshest climate on the planet, solely off of renewable energy. Tell us about that. I spent all those years battling to remove that garbage, and on the day the beach was cleared I thought; I can’t save Antarctica by doing it this way, I have to change the game. I have to get more business minded because the only reason someone will come to Antarctica to destroy it, is to make money. So how could I make Antarctica less attractive? The fact that it is far away and no one owns it makes it less attractive. But people can still do it. The only thing I could do was to ensure we were using enough renewable energy here and saving as much energy here so that it would not make financial sense to go to Antarctica. So I became a renewable energy champion and tester. Testing something in Antarctica is really

2041 led the first corporate expedition to the Antarctic in 2003.

You’ve said that “the biggest threat to the planet is the belief that someone else will save it”. Well, it’s true. Isn’t it? BuildGreen would not be doing what you do if you thought someone else will do it. People go through their whole lives thinking somebody else will sort things out. But leadership, at whatever level, decides that the problem is theirs and that they can do something about it.The problem is people get buried in a porridge of: “what can we do?” We need to give people something to do and they will do it.


In your first expedition, after having spent a year in a tiny hut 3000 miles away from civilisation, battling through ice and snow for 70 days, pulling a 350

The Antarctic had no indegenous population when first discovered.

The region’s leading sustainability magazine

This planet is the only one we’ve got...

To advertise please contact: LIAM WILLIAMS Associate publisher Email: Tel: +971 4 440 9158

LOUKIA PAPADOPOULOS Editor Email: Tel: +971 4 440 9118

June 2011

The Antarctic is visited by more than 40,000 visitors annually.

was about inspiring people and showing that renewable energy can indeed work.


Tell us about the time you walked under the ozone layer’s hole. At the time, I did not know there was a thing called the ozone layer around the planet. We didn’t know. More people had walked on the moon than on the poles so it was a bit uncharted territory. We were walking and it started slowly. Our faces and eyes started burning.


We thought it was a bit odd but we also thought this is what it is like in Antarctica. When we returned with our faces and eyes all burnt, scientists saw us on TV and called us to explain that we had walked under the hole in the ozone layer. That’s when I realised; we had to do something about it. Most people don’t know that 2041 is actually a promise you made to French marine pioneer Jacques Cousteau. Tell us more. Jacques Cousteau was an incredible explorer. He invented the Aqua Lung and the most famous of all boats; the Zodiac craft. In that time, he developed a passion for the ocean and he started to inspire people through these amazing documentaries on underwater life. He taught us that we’re not planet earth, we’re planet ocean. Jacques inspired people to look after the ocean. He talked about balance of nature on a global scale. That is why I am proud to honour his name, because I if I am anything today; I am the Indiana Jones of the environment. It was him who gave me the 50 year mission to preserve Antarctica and I have 30 years left to go.

hard because sometimes there’s no sun, no wind and it’s very cold. It was a fantastic challenge to get it to work and then get online and send messages to school kids saying; I am here and it works. This project





Leadership on the Edge

inspire sustainable leadership within our communities and companies. As the sheer power and enlightenment of that expedition started to sink in, I recognised I have a critical role to play as an official ambassador of 2041 not only in the Middle East but also globally.

Zornitza Hadjitodorova recounts her experience on one of Robert Swan’s expeditions to the Antarctic They say the worst part of a beautiful dream is when it is over. The best part is when you realise that that dream has just transformed your world and marked the beginning of an inspiration for a lifetime. Early this year I was given the exceptional honour of participating in the first of its kind Renewable Energy Expedition to Antarctica. In March 2011, I joined a team of 27 senior environmental experts from across the world. They were leaders from organisations such as Shell, the Asian power house CLP Group, Duke Energy, National Geographic, Lokheed Martin, Newscorp, US Green Building Council, and EPA among others. This consortium of like-minded people got together not only to witness Antarctica but to share their own contribution to global sustainability development and write the first Corporate Sustainability Report from Antarctica. The two-week expedition was organised by 2041 and led by ACORE, the American Council on Renewable Energy. As our group stood in awe before the remnants of the Larsen B ice shelf, camped on snow beside seals and penguins, dove

in sub-zero waters, and hiked volcanoes, we quickly realised that even though we were confined on a ship with strangers, we were part of an exceptionally supportive environment with an incredible pool of knowledge, experience, and decision making power. We were ripped out of our comfort zone, which lead to a powerful transformational experience where the extremity of our surroundings dug deep in our hearts and motivated us to leverage our joint efforts even more. We had the opportunity to step out of the systems we are part of and look from outside at the challenges we face, obtaining invaluable feedback from all the team members. The severe yet pristine and fragile environment of Antarctica reignited our passion to power on and

Through my work in e-waste recycling with Enviroserve and my involvement with various publications and NGOs, I am directly involved in environmental preservation and raising awareness on ecological challenges. And it is certainly my long-term goal to progressively move up in the field and assist companies in adopting sustainability practices that benefit everyone – people, profit, and the planet.





June 2011

They said



I urge individuals around the world to stand up, and ask local leaders, if they haven’t already, to pledge to purchase cleaner cars, build green facilities, and buy green power like wind or solar energy. Our actions may determine if we become a casualty in the war for a habitable planet for generations to come. Leonardo DiCaprio, American actor


One of the first laws against air pollution came in 1300 when King Edward I decreed the death penalty for burning of coal. At least one execution for that offense is recorded. But economics triumphed over health considerations, and air pollution became an appalling problem in England.  Glenn T. Seaborg, Atomic Energy Commission chairman, speech, Argonne National Laboratory, 1969

The cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use in the first place. Sheryl Crow, American singer and songwriter

In the future, energy security will be almost as important as defence. Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, The Independent, 17 October 2006

Man will survive as a species for one reason. He can adapt to the destructive effects of our power-intoxicated technology and of our ungoverned population growth, to the dirt, pollution and noise of a New York or Tokyo. And that is the tragedy. It is not man the ecological crisis threatens to destroy but the quality of human life.  René Dubos, French microbiologist, experimental pathologist, environmentalist, humanist, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book So Human An Animal, quoted in Life, 28 July 1970

Energy will be one of the defining issues of this century, and one thing is clear: the era of easy oil is over... We need your help. At Chevron, we believe that innovation, collaboration and conservation are the cornerstones on which to build this new world. But we can’t do it alone. Corporations, governments and every citizen of this planet must be part of the solution as surely as they are part of the problem. And so, we ask you to join us. Chevron’s will you join us mission:

We’ve embarked on the beginning of the last days of the age of oil. Embrace the future and recognize the growing demand for a wide range of fuels or ignore reality and slowly—but surely—be left behind. Mike Bowlin, chairman and chief executive officer of ARCO (now BP), speech in Houston, 9 Feb 1999

You go into a community and they will vote 80% to 20% in favour of a tougher Clean Air Act, but if you ask them to devote 20 minutes a year to having their car emissions inspected, they will vote 80 to 20 against it. We are a long way in this country from taking individual responsibility for the environmental problem.  William D. Ruckelshaus, former Environmental Protection Agency administrator, New York Times, 30 November 1988

Organising such a Forum supports the Supreme Council’s mission to ensure the provision of all of the future needs for energy of the growing economy in Dubai, by securing primary sources of energy at reasonable costs, and mitigating the negative effects that causes harm to environment. HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, vice chairman of the Supreme Council of Energy on the first Dubai Global Energy Forum in April of 2011

June 2011

Going Green Online Whether you are a business owner, blogger, website creator or avid Facebooker, the time you spend online wastes a lot of energy. BuildGreen’s Anjala Gulati reveals the truth about online energy consumption and suggests ways to make your site greener


All websites have a carbon footprint.


he advent of the World Wide Web has worked wonders to make our lives easier. Thanks to the instantaneous exchange of information, constant access to new data and unlimited memory storage options on web servers, we now move in a high-speed world. And, best of all – we no longer leave a paper trail! Gone are the days of wasteful piles of notes, reports and pound-heavy encyclopaedias, taking us one step closer to an environmentally-friendly world.



June 2011


June 2011

It may seem like a daunting task, but don’t despair. Green web hosting is possible! ” A number of companies offer renewable sources of energy for businesses, such as: Smartest Energy GreenQloud i/o Data Centers There are also a number of web hosts who already use renewable energy to power their data centres. If you are looking to launch a website or take up space online, consider green web hosts such as:

The internet’s most powerful characteristic is that it knows no boundaries. Troy Magma, IT manager at CPI Publications, says: “Regardless of where you are located in the Middle East and North Africa region, you can still use an eco-friendly web hosting service from an international source.” Additional options for reducing your website’s carbon footprint include purchasing green certificates or even something simple such as planting a tree or sponsoring a local organization. We put a huge amount of effort into ensuring our daily activities. are eco-friendly. It seems only right that we put the same effort into ensuring our online space is eco-friendly too.


But, just how eco-friendly is our new, online world? Think about the amount of power and energy required to host and run one website. Electricity is needed to power the server that hosts the site. Electricity is also needed to run the global networks connecting the servers to computers, as well as the computer you use to view the site! It’s also easy to forget about how that electricity is created. Fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas, are burned to produce electricity, releasing harmful greenhouse gases into the ecosystem in the process. Then, factor in the number of trucks needed to transport the fossil fuels to the plants, and the power needed to run the factories. When it comes down to it, all websites have a carbon footprint, and the more we surf the internet, the more power is needed to support it and the more we increase it. The detrimental affects this overuse of power has on our world is worrying. With so much information available today on the importance of caring for our ecosystem, more and more consumers are demanding that websites and hosts take responsibility for their energy use. Facebook recently announced its plans to build a new energyefficient data centre. Although the social network company’s investment in energy efficiency is noteworthy, Greenpeace and have called attention to the fact that the new centre will receive electricity from Duke Energy, a plant that uses coal to generate its power. When the ecosystems, livelihood and our own health is at stake, it isn’t enough to rely on creating more efficient ways of utilizing energy – it is vital that companies also invest in renewable resources to source energy from. Not only is this an important step in preserving our future, it also demonstrates the integrity of an organization, a characteristic that will definitely be taken into account by customers. It may seem like a daunting task, but don’t despair. Green web hosting is possible! A variety of options are available today to decrease the carbon footprint of websites. The first step is to invest in alternative sources of energy. Renewable resources such as solar, wind, tidal and wave power or carbon neutral energy are viable options to replace coal, fossil fuels and oil.

WebHostingHub iPage HostGator FatCow GreenGeeks SuperGreen HostPapa


June 2011

Green gadgets


Bla bla bla... chatting has never been so eco-friendly thanks to these new high-tech cell phones brought to you by BuildGreen

For green gadget fans the solar-powered mobile phone is the holy grail of green technology and it can’t get any better than this one. Samsung Blue Earth is an elegant touch phone that has a solar panel on its back which generates enough power to fully charge the device. Yet, the gadget’s sleek design ensures it is small enough to fit in your pocket.

If you’ve ever worried about leaving home with your phone uncharged, you need worry no more! The Kyocera EOC is powered by kinetic energy derived from human interaction, which means the more you use it, the more it charges. The EOS also features a lowenergy organic light emitting diode (OLED) display that folds up like a wallet. It can be used in its folded-up shape for simple phone calls or unfolded to reveal a wide screen. The phone’s unique shape memory allows its keys to pop up when in use and blend in with the surface during downtime.

Sony Ericsson’s GreentHeart is made from recycled biodegradable materials such as bio-plastic housings and recycled plastic keypads. The phone also features environmentally-friendly packaging and a digital manual rather than a paper one. On top of that, the design ensures that even during use, the phone does as little as possible to impact the environment. The handset’s charger works so that, once the device is fully-charged, the charger will switch itself to stand-by in order to cease the flow of power and wasted electricity. It’s so green, once you’re done with it, you can probably compost it!


Soon to come: If you’re the type of person to spin a keychain on your finger then this is the phone for you. The RevOlve Kinetic Phone, still in the design phase, uses the kinetic energy released from being spun to power itself. This energy-smart device also gets dismantled without polluting the planet. The shell and parts of the handset can all be recycled. So spin, baby, spin!


big picture The

In May of 2011, Greenpeace released the preliminary May 2011 results from their marine radiation monitoring work off the coast of Japan, near the melteddown and leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The results showed worrying levels of radioactive contamination in seaweed – a staple of the Japanese diet. The new data also showed that some seaweed contamination levels were not only 50 times higher than safety limits – far higher than Greenpeace’s initial measurements had showed – but also that the contamination is spreading over a wide area, and accumulating in sea life, rather than simply dispersing like the Japanese authorities originally claimed would happen. Photo’s credit: © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert / Greenpeace)

Ecotourism: Is green the new cutting edge? Ecotourism is growing in the Middle East but it still has a long way to go. BuildGreen explores the industry in the region as well as some of its potential dangers



he Arabian Travel Market, that ran in Dubai from May 2-5, featured a unique discussion this year; a session exclusively dedicated to ecotourism. Indeed, ecotourism seems to be growing worldwide in January of 2011 the United Nations added resolutions to the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism encouraging the sector- and the trend is also developing in the Middle East. This should come as no surprise. The region’s vast areas of natural, ecologically rich environments that are yet to be developed, combined with abundant sunshine, offer an ideal environment to cater to the increasing popularity of ‘eco-friendly’ tourism activities. But what exactly is ecotourism?

Ecotourism, also referred to as ecological tourism, is environmentally responsible, low impact travel to natural, pristine and usually protected areas. It can serve as a tool to fund the areas’ conservation, educate people on the importance of preserving our natural landscape and benefit the economic development of local communities. But the grass may not be as green as it seems when it comes to ecotourism. Indeed, when the industry is not properly planned and managed its results can actually have the opposite effect to its intended goals. Professor of human ecology at Lund University in Sweden Stefan Gossling explains: “Very often, forms of tourism are labelled “eco” that are just taking place in some natural setting, but have little

RSCN’s approach to protected area management was first piloted in 1994.

Ecotourism, also referred to as ecological tourism, is environmentally responsible, low impact travel.”

According to officials in Jordan, up to 975,000 tourists visited the Petra National Park in 2010, while 500,000 visited the country’s nature reserves last year. This rise has been very beneficial to the country’s economy. RSNC’s Khaled says: “As the number of tourists to nature reserves increased, the economic conditions of local communities around the reserves boomed. Over JD1.5 million (US $2.11 million) was generated from ecotourism activities in the Kingdom’s different reserves last year, excluding Wadi Rum.” The Kingdom is home to eight nature reserves which contain different ecosystems and preserve locally and globally threatened fauna and flora and the number is set to rise to 16, three of which will be launched this year. Meanwhile, at the start of the year, Morocco announced plans to make “sustainable tourism” a key part of its national economic strategy with an aim to double its number of visitors. Currently the Middle East offers a wealth of environmentally friendly vacation spots including the famous Eco Village in Lebanon’s Dmit Valley, where guests live in huts, farm and eat organic food and are educated on the environment. The resort also offers classes in disciplines such as yoga and tai chi.


Ecotourism in Jordan is considered one of the main pillars of the country’s tourism industry.

to do with conservation. As there is too much greenwashing in the sector, activities need to be properly monitored and ideally certified by independent institutions in order to ensure they are truly eco-friendly. Self-control works in some areas, but usually after a while there is a motive to move towards more profit-oriented operations and then the environment loses out. Gossling also states that the Middle Eastern sector may be particularly susceptible to greenwashing. “I am afraid that ecotourism in the region may be based on energy-intense transport - flights, 4x4s, diving - all of which increase the emissions of greenhouse gases. I also assume that many of the environments that are potentially attractive for ecotourism in the Middle East are particular susceptible to human pressure.” Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) director Yehya Khaled feels the problems with the industry are more related to logistics. He says: “The challenges we face with ecotourism are the lack of a national agency to organize and coordinate the sector and develop guidelines for it, weak human resources and the continuous destruction of natural habitats that are outside the protected areas.” Still Khaled insists there has been great improvement. “When RSCN started the development of its first ecotourism program in 1994 there were no ecotourists in Jordan. So, I can say that the industry jumped from almost zero visitors to Jordan’s protected areas to 400,000 in 2010. And that number does not include the hundreds of visitors that come in on their own,” he says.


June 2011

Investment update


…Multi-million dollar investment in US solar...EU shipping and aviation to finance climate fund...Carbon trading insurance launched... Innovative solar plant lands US $737 million loan

Shipping and aviation carbon pricing could finance $100 billion climate fund

The US Department of Energy has agreed to back an innovative solar facility in Nevada, awarding the company a $737 million loan guarantee. SolarReserve’s 110MW Crescent Dunes molten salt system will store thermal energy for up to 10 hours, producing uninterrupted power. The Nevada project, the first of its kind in the US, will boast the world’s tallest molten salt tower (640 feet) and feature around 17,500 solar mirrors that will focus the sun’s energy at the tower’s receiver. Inside the receiver, molten salt will be heated to over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and the resulting steam will be used to drive a turbine to produce electricity. The facility is expected to produce approximately 500,000MWh annually, about a fifth of the annual generation of an average coal-fired US plant, saving approximately 290,000 tons of carbon pollution. The project is also expected to create more than 600 jobs.

European finance ministers have proposed that a system of carbon pricing for the shipping and aviation industries could pay for the $100 billion a year climate fund agreed at last year’s United Nation Climate Change Conference in Cancun. In a statement released, ministers said raising the cash annually would be “challenging but feasible.”They also suggested that regulations imposing a global cap on emissions and incentivising industries to curb emissions could contribute towards the fund. The statement added that private sector money should make up a “major source of the necessary investments”. Last month, climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard warned that the EU would not wait much longer for the International Maritime Organisation and the International Civil Aviation Organisation to develop voluntary mechanisms for cutting emissions. She added that the EU would push for shipping and aviation to be addressed at the Durban climate summit in November and in any successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol.

‘World’s first’ carbon credit insurance launched

Operator of Japan’s tsunami-hit nuclear plant reports US $15.4 billion loss


Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the operator of Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant, has announced record losses of 1.25 trillion yen ($15.4 billion) as it counts the cost of ongoing efforts to contain the Fukushima nuclear accident. The losses, the biggest ever by a Japanese firm outside the financial sector, are a result of the costs incurred in handling the crisis and scrapping four nuclear reactors at Fukushima. Plans to build two more reactors have also been abandoned. The firm faces a compensation bill running into the trillions of yen that will hit profits for years to come while its stock has fallen 83% since the day before the tsunami, wiping 2.9 trillion yen off its market value. The firm however has no immediate plans to increase electricity charges. Instead, it will attempt to raise 600 billion yen by selling various assets including land.

Underwriter Parhelion has launched what it claims is the first insurance policy protecting the value of carbon credits. Created in response to clients increasing worries over regulatory risk in the carbon market, Parhelion’s credit insurance is designed to manage and protect the value of credits during regulation changes. Alice Chapple, director of sustainable financial markets at think-tank Forum for the Future, added that mitigating the risk of regulatory changes would encourage more participants in the market and therefore increase rates of emissions reduction. Chapple said:”Policy uncertainty is one of the main barriers to investment in carbon emissions reductions. By reducing the policy risk, an innovative insurance product of this kind will give confidence to the buyers of CERs and support projects that are critical to the fight against climate change.”


June 2011

BuildGreen turns May 25 marked our one year anniversary and we celebrated in style with inspirational moving speakers and acts and lots of gifts for our excited guests!




et at the Zumtobel lighting centre, BuildGreen’s one year anniversary featured a green sustainable carpet that lead to an environmental photo exhibition by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Guests were given green tags and escorted by hostesses into the centre’s main room in preparation for the night’s activities. Hosted by BuildGreen’s Rhiannon Downie, the event’s entertainment began with an introduction on the magazine and its history, including the story of BuildGreen’s founder Liam Williams. Presentations were then made by Marcos Bish of Summertown Interiors, who discussed the steps to creating a successful green committee, Neil Hegarty of Liquid of Life, who explained the concept of water footprint,

and Harry Moses of Zumtobel MENA, who introduced the centre’s pioneering lighting solutions. The crowd was also privy to a unique eco-friendly musical experience by a talented crafty group of musicians, SunRoof, who built their instruments in the most sustainable way: from material sourced right out of garbage bins. Finally, world renowned speaker and international explorer Robert Swan, the first person to have walked to both the North and South Poles, gave a stirring inspirational talk on his many expeditions to the Antarctic and on the importance of following your dreams. The event concluded with a draw that saw many guests go home with a variety of sustainable gifts.

“BGreen is without a doubt the most comprehensive green platform in the Middle East. This transpired through the magazine’s one-year anniversary event which was very business-oriented and very focused. Enviroserve is happy to support such fantastic initiatives. Well done!” Enviroserve division manager Zornitza Hadjitodorova

“Brilliant ‘bgreen’ Anniversary Event @ Zumtobel last night! Great speakers, funky sounds & interesting peeps.........I’m inspired! Thank you.” BuildGreen reader Anne Alexander Sinclair

“The event was amazing! Thanks for your efforts and the invitation.” Reader Hany Riad

June 2011

“Zumtobel is proud of its association with BuildGreen. To address a serious topic such as sustainability through an anniversary celebration was certainly a unique way of communicating a good message. We thank BuildGreen and everyone that attended the event at our Light Centre.” Zumtobel brand manager MENA region Harry Moses

“A very successful event! Well done to the BuildGreen Team! The event was excellent in bringing together individuals and companies who are on a drive to learn more about, and improve their sustainability policies. Robert Swan too was an inspired choice of speaker!” Summertown marketing manager Stefanie Patel “Congratulations on putting on a successful event last night. It was a great chance for people in this tough but ever growing industry to discuss ideas and develop new ones. The speakers were spectacular and inspiring and of course the goodie bags and giveaways were fantastic too. I look forward to working closely with CPI for a long time to come.” Ecomaids managing director Tolga Soytekin

“The green community is growing exponentially and a magazine such as BuildGreen is an important support to it at all levels: SMEs and larger companies have a roof under which they can promote their businesses.” Goumbook co founder Tatiana Antonelli Abella “The evening was a great success with the highlight truly being Mr. Swan’s inspirational speech.” Dubai Marriott Hotels public relations manager Candice Turner

“The event was cool. I loved that you had a picture gallery and various rooms with different atmospheres. We were just expecting the speakers.” Aldes communications and operational marketing executive Audrey Leble


“BuildGreen’s first annual event was a milestone for sustainable practitioners across the UAE. The event was well organised and I really like the idea of using sustainable products and materials during the event. I would also like to personally thank the organisers for inviting us to showcase our environmental images.” Canon Middle East regulatory compliance and environmental specialist Jorge Obrador


The green spy BuildGreen’s environmental spy brings a new angle to this month’s column taking on a staple of today’s business attire: the suit

ith all this talk about global warming, nuclear disasters, species extinctions and water shortages, thinking about the environment can be a really depressing exercise, not to mention complicated, conflicting and overwhelming. And this gets most of us to shut it out of our day to day concerns. But, this is a sure fire way to make each of these problems worse. If we can pick one thing out of the thousands of issues and start by learning a few important details and then act on that knowledge, we have a chance. Still not a great chance, but a chance. Here’s one. I have never liked wearing suits, coats or collared shirts. I can’t remember if my dislike for this type of professional uniform caused me to find evidence to discredit its use or if I just happened to find the evidence, but the fact is, wearing suits in a hot climate wastes significant amounts of energy. Air conditioning makes up more than half the energy used in buildings, and buildings account for almost half of all the energy most of us use in our daily lives. So AC is roughly 25% of our total energy/carbon/ecological footprint in hot climates. There is a building design standard that addresses what type of activity will be done in that building (office, gym, home, etc) and what the likely dress code will be. There are different metrics (numbers) assigned to tee shirts, shorts, skirts, trousers, and suits. As you go up this scale, AC designers have to increase capacity, which equates to more energy usage when they design for the majority of occupants to be wearing bulky clothing, especially suits. But most of us are not AC designers. What most of us are is someone who goes to an office and has to conform to whatever dress code is explicitly or implicitly placed on us by bosses, clients, cultural norms and lastly, except for a few lucky ones, personal preferences. While wearing swimming suits at the office might be a lot of fun, this would be a pretty extreme solution. What isn’t extreme though is going from a suit (men and women) to a light shirt and slacks or from a collared shirt and noose to a polo and jeans. See if you can get your thermostat group (the people you work or live with that are affected by the same thermostat) to try the change clothes for a few days and adjust the thermostat up a couple of degrees. You all will probably be just as comfortable at 24 degrees in short sleeves as you were at 22 in the suit. And this action has gained traction. In a move that was tried a few years ago, Japanese Government officials, in an initiative called Super Cool Biz have recently asked office workers to wear lighter clothing in order to reduce the air conditioning demand on the energy infrastructure of that country, in part because of the damaged nuclear reactor. Another example of the benefits of wearing comfortable and applicable clothing comes from Silicon Valley, in California. The home of Google, Apple, Yahoo, and a hundred other technology companies not only revolutionized the industry, but also how employees dressed. Billionaires wearing old tee shirts and flip flops and financial managers with a partially buttoned shirt and slacks were the norm, not the exception. So, join me in moving away from ridiculous uniforms and find something that is comfortable, stylish, and appropriate for the place you live. And if a boss or client disagrees, ask them if they think Sony or Google are well-run companies.

Until next time...

The Green Spy

June 2011

Purchasing power The sustainable living expo EPIC’s management invites Dubai’s consumers to “buy a better future” as it introduces a range of eco-friendly products to the region




t sounds a little bit dark but the world is going to come to an end at some point so I guess nobody can stop it. We can try to delay it a little but it’s not going to make much of a difference is it?” comments Karim Soliman, an investment banker from Dubai, when asked why he doesn’t use environmentally friendly products often. It is exactly these kinds of opinions that organisers at EPIC, the sustainable living expo, are on a mission to change. The exhibition, set to take place on June 22-24 at The Dubai Mall, is the Middle East’s first consumer show designed to promote eco-friendly products and services. The event plans to showcase clean energy initiatives already present in the region, as well as increase awareness of lesser known products, companies, individuals and initiatives contributing to a more

EPIC will cover a variety of sectors including transportation and government.

Bee’ah eEnvironment vice president Jeremy Byatt

Philips Consumer Lifestyle Middle East & Africa marketing director Vincenzo Ventricelli

EPIC Sounds will bring local and international musical acts to an ecologically-aware platform.

June 2011

The event’s chefs will create dishes from organic and freerange produce at EPIC Cooking Stations.

for 2011. The global conglomerate is also willing to work with companies to design, engineer, install and maintain sustainable and profitable energy programs. Philips launched its energy efficient, lifestyle products range across the Middle East in 2010 and now aims to generate 30% of its revenue through environmentally friendly products by next year. Vincenzo Ventricelli, marketing director at Philips Consumer Lifestyle Middle East and Africa, believes that in addition to fair prices consumers are looking for fully functioning products that will match existing merchandise on the market. One of potential eco-shoppers’ biggest concerns is having to compromise on performance.

habits is likely to have a lot to do with availability. As we saw, the UAE is quite good at buying ecological and organic products but could do better at recycling.” “That’s because they don’t have a welldeveloped system for collecting recyclables, which helps explain this. So the results don’t necessarily mean that people don’t want to be greener - it may just be that they can’t,” he adds. Vice president eEnvironment at Bee’ah Jeremy Byatt has a different view believing many consumers don’t fully understand the concept of sustainability and do not take the time to look into how it affects their lives. He says: “The word sustainable confuses people, while many have no time within their busy daily lives to research which sustainable products are available in the Middle East, let alone find out how sustainable they really are. He adds: “When they have time to shop, they differentiate products by price, function and style – characteristics which are easily seen in advertisements. Sustainability is less visible, so people will need to hunt for this information, which they often do not have the time to do.” Eco-products may be limited in comparison to conventional merchandise but with large brands choosing to market going green, such products are on the rise. Siemens successfully generated nearly US $40 billion in revenue through its green technology in 2010, exceeding the US $36 billion target previously set


sustainable future. EPIC, organised by the UAE’s SS Lootah Group and Dubai Events and Promotions, stands for ‘Eco-Wise, Progressive, Intelligent Consumer’. Tracy Fast, show manager, EPIC, says: “EPIC is all about awareness of green products. The main goal of EPIC Dubai is to increase and or build upon this awareness.” Although a recent study by one of the top global market research firms, Synovate, revealed consumers in the UAE to be among the top purchasers of ecological and organic products, but ranking near the bottom for recycling household waste, Soliman’s opinion reveals there are still people in Dubai who know very little about green products. He would however be willing to buy products that would benefit the environment if they were affordable. He says: “Usually the price concerns me. Nobody uses them on a large scale. You need to produce a lot more of those products for people to use them regularly so they become cheaper but that doesn’t really happen so until it does, if the product is the same price and it’s environmentally friendly I will use it.” Although eco-products are not being sold on a scale as large as conventional ones, consumers worldwide are becoming more and more aware of them and with international companies creating new departments for environmentally clean merchandise, sales are predicted to increase. Tamer El Naggar, Synovate chief executive officer for the Middle East and North Africa, is convinced UAE residents’ purchase of environmentally friendly products in the country is mainly affected by the amount of merchandise on the market. El Naggar says: “Correlation of green

The EPIC Kids corner will feature eco-arts and crafts and interactive games and toys.



June 2011

He says: “We know that consumers in the Middle East are open to new environmentally sound choices as long as they see results. They are looking for tangible and concrete solutions – they want to understand what their actions mean for example how much energy they are saving if they use an energy saving iron or lamp?” He adds: “Consumers are also concerned that green solutions will cost more. That is why we have made sure that green solutions are available in most cases to consumers at the same price points.” Assurance of affordable prices will come as a relief to 30-year-old consumer and graphic designer Khubaie Eisar from Dubai, who uses recycled paper at work. Although he is not aware of which other environmentally friendly products are available he would be willing to use them to help the environment. Like many people, cost is his main concern. Considering his eco-product options, he says: “Organic food is there but these things are way too expensive for normal people. “Natural gas is cheaper but the government is not doing anything to promote it. If campaigns were run to make people aware then people would go for them.” Despite some consumers’ reservations, EPIC show manager Tracy Fast confirms EPIC management’s decision to come to Dubai has had a positive response so far with people willing to support the green movement. The show’s management has

EPIC Eco-Fashion Shows will feature sustainable clothes.


The event, set in the Dubai Mall, will also feature the sustainable beauty industry.

The ‘ecoconscious consumer’ is the most brand-loyal consumer in the world.”

invited consumers and is promoting the message that going green is not just a corporate issue. Fast is confident that people in Dubai want to know what they can do, which companies to support and how to make a difference individually. Speaking of the reception the exhibition has received, she says: “In the Middle East, the UAE is a global business hub and leads the way in the region in terms of sustainability. People here are excited and believe the time is right for an awareness expo of this magnitude.” She adds: “The ‘eco-conscious consumer’ is the most brand-loyal consumer in the world, and individuals want to know which products are available, which companies are leading the way and who is contributing positively to the environment.” Essentially the decision remains with the consumer on which products they buy and when they choose to buy them. Fast is keen for anyone interested in green products to be aware of the purchasing options they have. “As consumers we have the power, and it’s time to realise that our choices do make a difference and you can buy a better future,” she concludes.


June 2011









“SUSTAINABILITY BEYOND H CERTIFICATION’’ n behalf of The American Society for Heating, ciety for Heating,








“Sustainability Beyond Certifi cation’’ ABU DHABI 2011 CONFERENCE











Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineering ning Engineering E E Falcon Chapter in UAE we would n- ASHRAE UAE we would H Endorsed By: n behalf of The Conference will address many key topics, Endorsed By: vite to annual attend and participate inThe theAmerican annual ate you in the n behalf of The American Society for Heating, including: Regional Conference Society (CRC) for forHeating, ASHRAE C) for ASHRAE Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineering Refrigerating, and AirUNEP Energy Efficiency –EHVAC design for hight Large (RAL ). conditioning - ASHRAE conditions. - ASHRAE Engineering Falcon Chapter in UAE ambient we would Falcon Chapter in UAE, weparticipate would Green construction retrofitting Endorsed By: like to invite you to attend and in the annual C annual Conference will be accompanied with accompanied withlike to invite you to attend and Environmental movement and sustainability Index Chapter Regional Conference (CRC) for ASHRAE participate theGolden annualSponsor: Chapter Waste Golden management Sponsor: s scientific Conference inincollaboration with collaboration withAt Region Large (RAL ). Regional Conference (CRC) for Sustainable cities and buildings ed Program – UNEP. m Nations – UNEP.Environment ASHRAE Region At Large (RAL). Urban horticulture Our CRC Conference will be with transport Theannual CRC will be accompanied byaccompanied Sustainable ference address many Key topics like and ey topicswill like and a two-day scientifi c conference, Renewable Golden Sponsor: a 2 days scientific Conference in collaboration with energy d to: in collaboration with The United Low carbon economy The United Nations Environment Program – UNEP. Nations Environment Programme – CarbonSilver economy and footprint Sponsors: Silver Sponsors: CONFERENCE Building Information Modelling (BIM) Energy Efficiency-UNEP. HVAC design for high gn for high ABU DHABI 2011 This Conference will address many Key topics like and CONFERENCE t conditions. not limitedABU to: DHABI 2011 construction retrofitting Silver Sponsors: GOLD SPONSORS SILVER SPONSORS H mental and Sustainability Index nability Movement Index • UNEP Energy Efficiency- HVAC design for high , Management H ambient conditions. gable cities andEBuildings Category Sponsors: Category Sponsors: • Green construction retrofitting d Horticulture E • Environmental Movement and Sustainability Index l able transport Endorsed By: • WasteEndorsed Management By: Eable energy ENDORSED BY CATEGORY SPONSORS • Sustainable cities and Buildings Category Sponsors: rbon economy • Urban Horticulture Economy and footprint • Sustainable transport h g Information Modeling • Renewable energy Golden Sponsor: h • Low Carbon economy Golden Sponsor: • Carbon Economy and footprint e information about conference, registration and sponsorship opportunities; For more information about the Conference, registration and sponsorship opportunities, ence, registration and sponsorship opportunities; • Building Information Modeling og • d • into: please visit: •








ve sponsorship packages available; forcontact: more information please available; for more information For please information on sponsorship packages, please contact: contact: Silver Sponsors: ad AlaaEldin: +971-50-641 8999 • Mohammad Ibrahim: +971-50-655 7612 Dr Ahmad AlaaEldin +971 50 641 8999 8999 • Mohammad Ibrahim: +971-50-655 7612 For more information about conference, registration and sponsorship opportunities; khalil: +971-50-491 Stephanie McGuinness +971 55 667 9459 | pleaseSilver log Sponsors: into: •


Attractive sponsorship packages available; for more information please contact:

June 2011


Conservation Champs! The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority celebrate the UAE’s best energysaving educational institutions


he Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) in partnership with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) held the ceremony for their ‘Conservation Award – For a Better Tomorrow, 2010-2011’ last month. The award celebrates outstanding energy-saving performances by educational institutions in the UAE. The ceremony was attended by HE Saeed Al Tayer, managing director and chief executive officer of DEWA, Dr Abdulla Al Karam, chairman of the board of directors and director general of KHDA as well as representatives from the winnings schools including enthusiastic students and parents. Speaking at the award ceremony HE Al Saeed Al Tayer said: “All initiatives done by DEWA are effective tools to spread a culture of conservation. Targeting the education sector helps to build a young generation that is aware of the importance

of saving natural resources to safeguard Dubai’s future.” Measures adopted by students, faculty members and parents for the award helped save 10,774,239 kWh of electricity and 229,260,970 gallons (IG) of water, the equivalent of 6,465 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, 7,305 trees to offset or 295,185 CFL bulbs. Dr Abdulla Al Karam said: “Building an understanding within a student that the use of precious resources is an important factor in his or her life is the same as teaching them any of life’s big values. We are not talking about a small thing here. Our children will be our future ambassadors and it is important that they treat our resources with care.” This year the award expanded its scope to include special needs centres, nurseries and adult centres. In total the award featured 84 public schools, 111 private schools, 46 universities, 91 nurseries, five special needs centres and six adult centres.

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June 2011


Find out what environmental events are happening where throughout the coming month International Green Energy Conference-VI June 5

International Renewable Energy and Environment Conference 2011 June 24


Kuala Lumpur



Clean and Green Investment Forum July 6

San Francisco, California US Renewable Energy World Conference and Expo - Europe June 7-9

Fiera Milano, Milan Italy

June 22-24 EPIC

The Dubai Mall, Dubai UAE

The EPIC Sustainable Living Expo (EPIC) is the Middle East’s first consumer show designed to promote eco-friendly products and services. EPIC, organised by the UAE’s SS Lootah Group and Dubai Events and Promotions (DEPE), stands for ‘Eco-wise, progressive, Intelligent Consumer’.

july 4-6 Environmental Management and Engineering

Calgary Canada

This conference will explore the challenges posed by the confluence of finite energy supplies, demographic trends, and political considerations, and discuss possible solutions to these problems Charged 2020: The Global Renewable Energy Forum July 11

San Diego, California US Solar Asia 2011 July 28-30

Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy  Sri Lanka 2011 International Conference on Environment and BioScience October 21-23

Cairo Egypt



June 2011

A look at our sustainable heritage


his picture of Abu Simbel in southern Egypt with sculptures of sun deities reminds us that this ancient civilisation revered the sun as gods and for good reason. This civilisation not only valued the sun’s power over crops, they also put it to good use. The ancient Egyptian pharaohs solar heated their palaces by capturing solar energy in black pools of water by day and draining the hot water into pipes in the floor at night. In 1912, this same country saw one of the first solar pumping stations come to life. Engineering company Shuman and Boys used the sun to generate a


60 horsepower engine for an irrigation project. Solar visionary Frank Schuman then famously declared: “Sun power is now a fact and no longer in the ‘beautiful possibility’ stage.” With so many benefits and long-term track records of successful operation, one has to wonder why solar energy is not more commonly used? Perhaps the reason lies is the now famous words of Sir George Porter. The renowned British chemist once said: “If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries ago.”

Buildgreen Middle East  

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

Buildgreen Middle East  

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