Please recycle after use
Issue 31 | FEBRUARY 2013
Waste not, want not
The lack of efficient infrastructure and equitable distribution systems have exacerbated food scarcity in the developing world
ALSO INSIDE | WFES 2013 in review | eco-leisure top spots | green gadgets | corporate ‘heroes’ recognised Publication licensed by IMPZ
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Praseeda Nair Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
he global economic and social systems have failed us. A third of the world consumes about half of our global resources, producing about the same percentage in waste, while another third live below the poverty line, fighting for basic necessities that have long plagued governments in the developing world. Per capita income levels are rising, the global middle class is expanding and the population is projected to hit 9 billion by 2050, which is well within most of our lifetimes. In the shadows of these concerns, looms the ever present issue of climate change. Immediate challenges relating to this threat, such as food, water and energy, need to be addressed as we are confronted by growing statistics. Two billion people around the world are malnourished, with more than half of them going hungry on a daily basis. These urgent issues provide fertile ground for debate. We need a new economic approach that acknowledges the magnitude of profit, while recognising the importance of business activities on the environment and people. A triple P approach (profits, planet, people) is crucial for sustainable business especially considering the new role the private sector plays in the global economy. The impact of corporations has increased exponentially over the last 50 years, considering the connectivity and ease of global trade. With cash balances in the heady trillions, some of the world’s largest companies can mobilise technology, skilled labour and innovation in a way that can transgress geographical boundaries. This issue of BGreen examines how the UAE’s own ‘Corporate Heroes’ have taken charge of their own actions in efforts to reduce the private sector’s impact on the nation’s ecological footprint. In February, we also look at the top eco-leisure hotspots that have yet to see excessive human activity; investigate the role of renewables in our energy mix; and look at the global food-water-energy nexus in light of the UAE’s consumption and waste patterns. As the cliché goes, the global paradigm needs to shift. Accountability over the environment and people can no longer be shouldered by the public sector alone. Looking at a circular economic structure, where sustainability links back to every business decision, could be the next tenet in our capitalismdominated global economy. Perhaps this shift could narrow the gap between the haves and the have-nots.
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CONTENTS February 2013
ENERGY AND WATER
16 The rise of the renewables A look at the major committments and investments in power and water in the GCC
Waste not, want not Food scarcity and food waste lie at polar ends of the spectrum. BGreen examines how this global concern is heightened by the lack of efficient infrastructure and equitable distribution systems
22 Change from within BGreen visits The Change Initiative’s sustainably designed store 30 Energy reboot A look at Dubai’s shift towards sustainability, from DEWA’s green HQ to ENOC’s eco-friendly stations 31 A model home Estidama’s life-sized model villa on display at WFES 2013 highlighted sustainable living as a tangible option
News 10 UAE 12 WORLD 14 REALLY?! Burning calories for energy— Truth can be stranger than fiction
COMMENT 24 Michael Kramer on eMobility 29 Saeed Alabbar on 2013 construction trends 42 D.Y. Kim on 2013 technology trends
SPECIAL FEATURE 32 Waste not, want not The dynamics between food waste and scarcity in the global context
TECHNOLOGY 40 Green gadgets From bamboo keyboards to water-saving pebbles, the latest gizmos in the market
ECO-LEISURE 44 Pristine territory The best of the best around the world
BUSINESS 48 Beyond badges The Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF’s Heroes of the UAE Private Sector Programme in focus
OIL & GAS 52 Damage control Learning from the recent incident in the UNESCO-protected Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park
SOCIETY 55 Reaching the top: Edmund Hillary 59 Diary dates Notable events, conferences and exhibitions in the region 62 Sustainable past The Yellow River - China’s sorrow
His Highness Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi
Environmental Advisor Ajman Government Chief Executive Officer Al Ihsan Charity Centre Chairman International Steering Committee Global Initiative Towards a Sustainable Iraq, UAE
JosE Alberich PARTNER AT Kearney
LEED AP, Estidama PQP Vice Chairman Emirates Green Building Council Director Alabaar Energy and Sustainability Group
NCARB,LEED AP, BD +C, ESTIDAMA PQP Chief Technical Officer Middle East Centre for Sustainable Development
Dr Michael Krämer
DR Mutasim Nour
Senior Associate Taylor Wessing (Middle East) LLP Legal Counsel Emirates Solar Industry Association
Director of MSc Energy Heriot Watt University, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence
Charles Blaschke IV
Director - Africa, Middle East, India and Oceania American Hardwood Export Council
LEED AP, PQP Managing Director Alpin Limited (Masdar City)
MEP BIM Manager iTech Holding
Abdulrahman Jawahery President Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company Chairman GPCA Responsible Care Initiative
Alan Millin LEED AP, Chartered Engineer consultant/trainer Middle East Facility Management Association
Goktug Gur COUNTRY PRESIDENT UAE and Oman Schneider Electric
The concept behind the BGreen Expert Panel is to provide a platform for those who are active in encouraging sustainable practices and solutions across industries— the real experts—who can share their views, analyses, and research with our informed readers. We will also be organising quarterly events for the panellists to meet and mingle, while discussing the latest in news, strategies and solutions on focussed topics related to sustainability. Panellists are encouraged to pen their comments, opinions and analyses that can be
published in our magazine, as well as on our website in a portfolio format documenting their contributions. The Panel is constantly growing as we strive to form the ultimate taskforce of decision makers, academicians, consultants and engineers that can encourage a sustainable watershed across industries. If you would like to nominate an expert to join our panel, please email our Editor, Praseeda Nair, at email@example.com.
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NEWS | UAE
Recycle bin troubles
n the United Arab Emirates, waste is often not separated properly, making recycling a challenge. In December 2012, the Centre of Waste Management provided 14,100 homes with green bins for recycling and black bins for general waste in Abu Dhabi. According to Nada Khamees, Senior Public Awareness Officer at The Centre of Waste Management, “our officials distributed brochures to each home and demonstrated the meaning of green and black.” The centre is spreading their message extensively by holding seminars at schools and distributing instructional brochure. However, Saeed Mohammed, an Emirati living in Abu Dhabi said he has not been given any instructions on how to use the bins. “I throw the waste in both green and black,” Mohammed said. Umm Aamir, another local resident, throws all her waste at the emptier bin. “I don’t know anything about these rubbish bins and we did not receive any leaflet or educational papers from any department,” she stated. As the green bin is made for regular recycling pickups, it should only contain empty glass bottles, cans, papers and plastics. Additional waste should be dumped into the black bin where it will be picked up and taken to Al Mafraq waste management station and then to the Al Dhafrah landfill. The centre has already begun working on their short-term goal by selling recyclable material in local and international markets. They aim to cut 70% of the waste generations by the year 2015.
Plastic-Free UAE The third phase of the ‘Plastic-Free UAE’ initiative has recently been put into play. According to the Ministry of Environment and Water, residents of the country are using fewer plastic bags. The point of the initiative is to restrict the negative impacts of nonbiodegradable plastic bags on human health, preserving the health of all beings and the environment. The goal can be achieved with the reduction and replacement of plastic bags and shifting into the usage of biodegradable bags. According to the Ministry of Environment and Water’s statistics, UAE residents use 11 billion plastic bags annually. The plan to continue to use reusable bags in place of plastic bags will continue in addition to awareness programmes to help educate residents about the importance of plastic reduction, maintenance of natural resources and ensuring environmental stability. The Ministry of Environment and Water and the Ministry of Economy held a meeting to discuss future preparations for launching the third phase which focuses on decreasing the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags. The third phase is set to be completed by the end of the year and aims to educate the community about legislative process and laws that will be enforced to deliver that target. Measures to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags have been in talks; however, the Ministry of Economy have also suggested that enforcing consumers to pay a set fee for the use of plastic bags can assist in plastic reduction and in meeting the yearend target.
Educating the future With the help of the Urban Planning Council, Estidama’s school course has gained popularity and interest in children. According to Mohammed Al Khadar, Executive Director for Development Review, six schools were chosen to participate in the seminars. More schools are expected to participate next year. The schools involved in the development of the Estidama school programme included six Aldar Academies schools alongside The Pearl Primary School. The goal of the programme is to teach children the importance of sustainability by using different initiatives to help mould their minds into understanding the importance of environmental awareness. To test their knowledge and abilities, an inter-school competition will be made during the year to put the children’s minds to the test. By creating a competition for each child to construct small community, the programme hopes the students will put their lessons and ideas into practise. A few children that participated in the educational programmes were given the opportunity to talk to the media at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES). “I understand what Estidama means,” said seven year old student, Marwan Zaid. “It means sustainability, and to preserve the environment. So we need to help save the environment.” Other students also took the stage to talk about daily actions that can help sustainability. “We turn off the classroom lights whenever we leave the room,” said eight year old Hugo John. Al Khadar believes that behavioural change comes from awareness and education saying, “children will play a pivotal role in ensuring that Estidama gradually and positively impacts our environment.”
NEWS | WORLD
Food waste crisis in Hong Kong
penguin colony discovered One of the largest emperor penguin colonies was discovered in Antarctica by a group of experts from the International Polar Foundation’s Princess Elisabeth station. The colony was discovered by satellite imagery by researchers from the British Antarctic Survey. Though the satellite did not show a clear visual of the penguins, their excrement stains were visible on the ice. Throughout the seven seasons of his mission in Antarctica, expedition leader Alaine Hubert always suspected that a colony of penguins existed somewhere along the immense coast near Princess Elisabeth Station. With the help of satellite images, Hubert and his team had a rough idea of where to begin their search. Their research brought them within 60 kilometres of the approximate location. Travelling with their snowmobiles, Hubert and his team passed through steep crevasses from the cliffs down to the ice shelf (which shifts roughly 200 metres towards the sea every year). Hubert explains, “when you go on the coast, after ten minutes, penguins come out of the water to look at who you are and what you are doing.” On December 3, 2012, the team had finally come upon the colony of 9,000 emperor penguins spread across the ice.“You can approach them,” Hubert said, “when you talk to them, it’s like they are listening to you.” Researchers hope that the penguin population and colony locations can tell them how the penguins cope with climate change. Emperor penguins breed on the sea ice, if the ice should break before the chicks can fend for themselves, the chicks will die and the future of the colony will be at risk. Hubert however, has high hopes for the penguins because they located their nursery on top of an underwater rift where the ice is less likely to melt. “They are quite clever, these animals,” he adds.
In Hong Kong lies a man-made mountain known as the Tseung Kwan O landfill. The landfill is a rising load of garbage that stretches over 50 hectares and is expected to reach a height of 100 metres when the site is full. Similar to Hong Kong’s other landfills, it is piling up rapidly. The city, which currently holds seven million residents, is expected to run out of space for its trash by 2018. The Tseung Kwan O landfill is expected to use all its space by 2015, however, there are talks of site expansions and a mega incinerator project. As food waste is one of the largest sources of trash, the focus is now being shifted to ways that can help reduce the amount of food wasted in the city. According to ‘Friends of the Earth,’ a campaign dedicated to promote environmental practices. Up to 40% of food in Hong Kong goes to waste, creating an average of 3,500 tonnes of food waste per day. Most of the unwanted food ends up as landfill. A task-force has been created by the government to tackle the issue of food waste and set a reduction objective of 10% by 2016. Greener Actions, a non-government organisation, partnered with local restaurants in Hong Kong to create a ‘Save Food’ campaign. The campaign has been running since 2009, however, other practical alternatives are being explored to recycle unwanted food.
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NEWS | REALLY?
Burning calories for energy A
new fitness facility located in Hull, England has come up with a revolutionary way to educate people on the concept of sustainability while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The outdoor fitness centre allows local residents to get fit while generating electricity every time they use the equipment. Georgie Delaney, Creative Director at The Great Outdoor Gym Company says, “so far, the community has generated 40,000 watt hour (40 kilowatts). The goal is that a gym like this should serve a community about 5,000 people and really people could easily make a kilowatt hour per day. So, if you times that by the amount of gyms that we could possibly install, that actually becomes quite a significant amount of energy.” Terry Geraghty, Hull Councillor is content with this new concept. “We want to get people off their sofas and get a bit active. More and more people are getting obese, also diabetes, heart disease, not just in Hull, but in the country,” he added. According to The Great Outdoor Gym Company, local authorities from around the world, including developing countries have gained an interest in this idea. Currently, the cost to install a facility is roughly US$100,000, however, there are plans to develop cheaper models with installation fees of $32,000, which would have the ability to charge mobile phones. A larger fitness facility is also in talks with a $130,000 installation fee and power could be fed back to the grid.
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ENERGY & WATER $8 bn $1.2bn
Saudi investment in 148 projects
bahrain investment in 15 projects
Oman investment in 49 projects
The rise of the renewables Rising oil and gas prices combined with increasing domestic power requirements are prompting governments across the GCC to increase investments in the power and water sector, as well as secure alternative sources of energy. The IRENA general assembly, held at the World Future Energy Summit 2013, cemented the regionâ€™s energy-conscious move
ENERGY & WATER
ccording to the latest data, by 2019, the GCC is expected to reach its generating capacity of 170,000 megawatts. The cost of the new build requirement alone will be an estimated US$66 billion, with at least the same amount needed to be invested in T&D infrastructure in the next six years. With the demands rapidly increasing, governments across the GCC are now investing as much as US$25 billion into power and water projects. Saudi Arabia set the first initial example of power and water investments in 2012, by investing more than $8 billion to 148 projects in the power and water sector. Kuwait followed with 68 projects, valued at close $3 billion. The United Arab Emirates is next with 62 projects, worth a little more than $3 billion; while Oman has 49 projects worth $1.2 billion. Qatar boasts 35 projects worth $1.8 billion; and although Bahrain has only 15 projects, the total value of investment is estimated at $7.3 billion.
Renewable energy has entered into a new cycle of falling costs, increasing deployment, and accelerated technological progress, a groundbreaking report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) mentioned. The cost of solar energy, for example, has dropped below the cost of diesel generation worldwide for communities living away from the electricity grid. The public debate around renewable energy, however, continues to suffer from an outdated perception that renewable energy is not competitive, forming a significant and unnecessary barrier to its deployment. Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2012: An Overview was launched during the IRENA annual Assembly and at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, and is currently the most comprehensive analysis of the costs and performance of renewable power generation today. Its analysis of 8000 mediumto large-scale renewable power
generation projects reveals that renewable energy are fast becoming the most competitive option for new electricity grid supply and swift grid extension, and are already the default economic solution for off-grid power supply. “The past two years have seen a remarkable increase in the competitiveness of renewable energy,” says Adnan Amin, IRENA Director General. “2012 was the year when renewables came of age – able to compete with other power generation technologies, and increasingly without subsidies. It is time for the public debate to reflect this changing reality.” IRENA is launching the Renewable Costing Alliance to raise awareness of falling costs, and to collect more data. It will bring together government agencies, financial institutions, equipment manufacturers, project developers, utilities and research institutions.
A portal for information The world’s first open-access Global Atlas of renewable energy
ENERGY & WATER
kuwait investment in 68 projects
qatar investment in 35 projects
uae investment in 62 projects
2012 was the year when renewables came of age” resources went live during the annual general assembly at well. The Global Atlas is the largest ever initiative to help countries assess their renewable energy potential, and companies bringing together data and maps from leading technical institutes and private companies worldwide. It currently charts solar and wind resources, and will expand to other forms of renewable energy over 2013 and 2014. Its launch comes as 150 countries gather to chart the future of international renewable energy policy in Abu Dhabi. Nine new signatory countries will sign on to the Global Atlas, bringing the current number of participating countries to 22. The Internet-based platform is designed to raise awareness of the world’s renewable energy potential, and to help companies looking to invest in new markets. “In the next 10 years we expect a huge rise in the investments in renewable energy. The Global Solar and Wind Atlas will help us make the right decisions”, says Martin Lidegaard, Danish Minister of Climate, Energy and Building, and President of the 3rd session of the IRENA Assembly. “The Global Atlas provides a powerful new tool in international efforts to double the world’s share of renewable energy by 2030,” says Amin. “With 22 countries now taking part, and more expected to join in the coming months, it is a clear sign of our growing political will to transition to clean, renewable energy.”
Roadmap 2030 International efforts to double the share of renewable energy by 2030 are attainable, but need to accelerate substantially if they are to be successful, according to a new global roadmap also launched at the assembly in Abu Dhabi. Initial results show that investment in renewable power generation, grid expansions, sustainable biomass and the use of renewable energy to generate heat needs to accelerate substantially to meet targets. Global renewable power generation will have to exceed annual expansion rates of more than 150 GW per year, compared to around 110 GW in 2011. The REMAP 2030 process brings together experts and policy makers from across the globe together to assess the gap between current renewable energy projections and targets set by the UN Secretary-General’s 2012 Sustainable Energy for All initiative. “REMAP 2030 clearly maps the challenge we face in meeting international targets to double
the share of renewable energy worldwide,” explains Amin. “The good news is that costs are falling, the technology is spreading, and countries across the world are implementing policies to make this happen. With the right political will, a world powered by clean, renewable energy is within our reach.”
IRENA is mandated by 159 countries and the European Union to promote the sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, and to serve as the global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange. Formally established in 2011, IRENA is the first major international organization to be headquartered in the Middle East.
COMMENT | KrÄmer
A Small guide to eMobility Dr. Michael Krämer, senior associate and energy specialist at international law firm Taylor Wessing, Dubai, describes his experience with electric vehicles in the UAE
Dr Michael Krämer
t has now been a little over two years since I received my electric car, a Tazzari Zero that I bought directly from the manufacturer in Imola, Italy. What I had in mind when I shipped the car from Italy was to not only drive emissions free in Dubai, but to also generate the electricity my car would require from a simple solar installation on the roof of our house. Let us call it a big boy toy, although I have to admit that my car, not least due to its size, seems to appeal much more to the female part of the population rather than other “big boys”. Be it as it may, let me summarise what I have experienced during the last two years. First of all there is the fun factor. And fun, in this sense, comes from various different angles. To start with, driving down Dubai roads in an electric car is a social experience. People interact, mostly by giving me the “thumbs up”, asking questions about the car, its range, cost, whether or not there is a dealer in the UAE (there is none), etc. Many people smile or laugh, although I was not yet able to actually determine if this is always a good thing. I am sure many people just find it difficult to understand why someone would drive a car that is smaller than a Smart on roads that are ruled by automotive dinosaurs. Driving the car is fun also, because it leads to unexpected situations. Just recently, I had
to renew my car’s registration. During the testing process the tester looked increasingly puzzled. He called some of his colleagues for help and soon about five people were engaged in an intense discussion. When I asked if everything is in order, the mechanic told me that the system would not allow him to finish the test without doing an emissions test and he could not find the exhaust. Well, obviously there is none and the problem was ultimately solved by the supervisor stepping in and doing something (whatever it was). When handing the keys to the valet at a hotel, I have also learned to make sure that the guy knows how to drive a golf cart. It happened to me more than once that I kept waiting for my car to be returned to me, only to later find a bunch of valet guys standing around my car, waiting to hear some engine noise (again, there is none). Then there is the fun of actually driving the car. My car has an iPod-connector and that is pretty much the only convenience feature that comes with it. Other than that it has none of the gizmos modern cars tend to have. There is no lane assist, birds’ eye 3D surround camera, baby on rear seat making a mess sensor or anything of that sort. My car does not even have airbags! I will forever be grateful for my iPod-connector though…
However, driving a vehicle that is that simple is actually a rather deliberating experience. And seriously, is it really safer to drive a vehicle that keeps buzzing, beeping and flashing warning lights all the time? I find it rather distracting, but then again, I am the kind of guy who uses his phone to make calls and that’s it. The car’s engine has no more than 15 bhp and its top speed is 100 km/h. This, I am sure, must sound worrying, but yet it is not. Electric vehicles deliver all engine power right from the start, so driving the car is subjectively comparable to driving another small car with around four or five times that power. Even the limited top speed is not an issue. I am driving back and forth on Sheikh Zayed Road every day and
COMMENT | KrÄmer
even just 100 km/h top speed are sufficient to flow with the rest of the traffic. On the negative side, the limited range of my car has been an issue more than once. On a full charge, my car runs for around 100 km. It has to be charged for several hours once the battery charge is depleted. 100 km in range are sufficient for the daily commute, but not much more. If you are ever planning to travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, forget it. You will not get there unless you find a power outlet somewhere half way and are willing to camp next to that power source. Hence, if you decide to go for a purely electric vehicle you should know what you are getting yourself into. If limited range is no worry for you, there are several options of purely electric cars
out there. Just take a look at the Renault Twizy, for example, it looks like a UFO on wheels! For me the limited range is an issue. I do not need more range very often, but I do need it sometimes and then have to rely on rental cars. That is why my next car is unlikely to be purely electric again. There is another option though, so called Plug-In Hybrids, such as the Chevrolet Volt or Fisker Karma. Such Plug-In Hybrids are essentially electric cars, but with a “Range Extender”, which is a conventional combustion engine that starts generating the required electricity once the batteries are close to being depleted. Plug-In Hybrids then really deliver the best of both worlds: routine driving can be done purely electrically. On those occasions where an extended range is required, however, the vehicle keeps going, though now powered indirectly (Range Extenders usually do not actually drive the car, but generate the required electricity only) by burning petrol. Thoroughbred
environmentalists may well cry out loud now, but I personally do not have a problem with burning a little bit of fuel every once in a while. In the greater scheme of things, Plug-In Hybrids are still very environmentally friendly cars. In summary, going electric is a lot of fun and there is an increasing number of options out there. Pair driving an electric car with tapping the sun for the electricity you require and you have driving pleasure and a clear conscience. Does it get any better than that? Dr Michael Krämer is a Senior Associate at Taylor Wessing (Middle East) LLP, and Legal Counsel to the Emirates Solar Industry Association’s first Executive Committee. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography by Marlou Delaben
Change from within Designed by HOK and implemented by Summertown Interiors, the UAE’s first sustainable marketplace, The Change Initiative, revamps the aesthetics of recycling, as BGreen discovers onsite
ore than an ecoconcept store, The Change Initiative (TCI) is dedicated to helping everyday shoppers make responsible lifestyle choices by supplying and educating people with sustainable solutions for the community, businesses and the government. The facility presents a wide range of household products,
appliances, sustainably produced furniture, paints and fashion accessories for conscientious consumers, while an in-house café, The Taste Initiative, offers freshly sourced organic food for shoppers. Beyond the green credentials of the products on display, the store’s squat two-storey structure along Sheikh Zayed Road speaks volumes about sustainable design
Photography by Marlou Delaben
in its renovation and rework. A joint collaboration between awardwinning design firm, HOK, and prominent fit-out contractor, Summertown Interiors, The Change Initiative building has been through an overhaul over a nine-month period. “One of the nice things about this retail environment is it’s got a positive vibe. It’s happy but there’s an underlying bedrock of fact. If you look into all the products available, and the environment it’s in, it’s clearly not green washing. The products stand out as being selected for their record and for what the company is promoting and hopefully the building does the same,” explains Christopher Brown, Vice President of HOK.
Renovation and design According to Brown, recycling still lacks mainstream acceptance in building aesthetics, making this project a unique challenge. “When we’re working with waste, or existing elements in the space, the challenge is to present it in a way that is still attractive and modern.” Keeping major elements in place, such as the existing carpet tiles and screen doors, the space
was renovated to incorporate open spaces, natural light and an intuitive flow. “The core idea behind the design concept of the store was to have a knowledge thread running throughout the space, so that when people walk around, they pick up lessons along the way on how certain elements were sourced, produced and fitted. This also adds up in the LEED process
Photography by Marlou Delaben
as a ‘learning component,’” adds Brown. HOK modelled the “learning journey” based on three key areas of sustainability—energy, water, and waste management, as can be practiced around the house.
Recycling elements While reusing elements in existing places has environmental merit, according to Heidi Demuynck, Sales Director at Summertown, the process was time and labour intensive, especially when it came to the reuse of wooden panels. “Floor and ceiling tiles were left as they were, but the cabinet doors in the offices were removed and reused as wall panels. The parquet flooring was stripped and reused as decorative paneling along the stairwell and elevators. The uneven panels were used to line the fitting rooms, painted over with non-toxic paint. It was a highly creative process, which had to be delivered in a very short period of time. The overall effect, of course, is something we’re very proud of,” she says. Marmoleum tiles,
We made a focused effort in sourcing regionally available products”
made of mostly organic materials, replaced the parquet flooring. Office partitions were removed, painted and reused, as was the uneven flooring that was reworked into an eclectic looking wall. “We made a focused effort in sourcing regionally available products. The stone flooring, for example, came from Oman. All the new wooden materials are compliant MDF wood. It wasn’t easy, considering that we had to get all these components ready by TCI’s soft launch in May,” she adds, taking us around each element in the 5,109-squaremetre space.
The art of recycling
Taking up an entire wall above the stairway, a three-dimensional collage of Steve Jobs stands out as an icon in tribute of what he stood for as an agent for innovation and change. Made from an assortment of e-waste—keyboards, calculators, remote controls—the collage was an artistic effort made by university students on site. Other
Photography by Marlou Delaben
installation pieces that rely on recycled materials adorn the space, such as a decorative horse made from kitchen utensils, conveniently placed by the in-house café.
Operations About 30% of the building’s electricity is generated onsite, from solar panels on the roof. Solar water heaters and solar tubes further reduce the store’s energy consumption. “Solar tubes are a wonderful invention for the UAE. Compared to conventional skylights and windows, solar tubes allow us to exploit natural light, while providing heat insulation that takes the load off cooling,” Brown explains. Other operational gadgets onsite include air quality sensors that pump external air into the building once carbon dioxide levels peak; motiondetection for lighting in the office space; and a sophisticated building-management system to keep tabs on the site’s energy needs, reducing the output of air conditioning units after hours.
Tying in with the concept Stimulated by the challenges of sustainability that the world faces today, Gundeep Singh, CEO of The Change Initiative, developed the concept of the marketplace. “The Change Initiative is simply a company that believes in change happening from the people, by endorsing a responsible consumer market that is completely different from the average marketplace,” Singh says. “We don’t want to take a leadership position because everyone is a leader in their own right, and they will lead their own lives in the way that they want to. We want to evolve with the people so we have consumers who believe that they have to be sustainable in order to live better. Our goal is to make sure that consumers understand and take control of their own lives rather than preaching, by providing solutions that they can choose to adopt.”
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COMMENT | ALABBAR
Middle East construction trends 2013 Saeed Alabbar, Director at AESG, highlights what to expect from the construction sector in the coming year
fter steady growth through 2012, the Middle East construction market looks set to once again regain the momentum of the prerecession era. Countries across the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have announced plans for major development undertakings. Experts predict US$4.3 trillion
worth of construction projects across the MENA region over the next decade, representing a growth of 20% through 2020. Now taking centre stage in discussions within the industry is the issue of sustainable construction. As far as new projects are concerned, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in translating good sustainable designs into sustainable buildings. For a number of projects in
the region, lack of quality control in construction or poor commissioning have resulted in great intentions on paper not transpiring into reality. With regard to the existing building stock, whilst an increasing number of facility and building owners are looking to manage their energy and water consumption more effectively, this only accounts for a fraction of the existing building stock in the region.
COMMENT | ALABBAR
Commercial and residential projects to strive for high levels of sustainability While sustainability has been a buzzword in the industry for a number of years, we are now definitely witnessing a genuine drive of new development projects in pursuing increasingly higher levels of sustainability. This is driven partly by regulation but also due to developers realising that sustainability offers a genuine opportunity to increase the value of their assets and also ensure that their assets are future-proofed. Commercial as well as private buildings will begin to incorporate green design elements in their construction in order to limit the amount of damage they do to the environment as well as to be as energy efficient as possible.
Continued growth in public sector projects Throughout the region there is a commitment from governments to invest in social and commercial infrastructure. In order to increase the financial efficiency of these projects both during construction and operation, government agencies are increasingly turning to sustainability and energy efficiency as a means of reducing the lifecycle costs of these buildings. AESG has been working closely with a number of public sector
developers across the region are now giving serious thought to the impact of green construction concepts on their profits” clients on projects that include major ports, airports, schools and government buildings. The results of these efforts have led to reductions in government spending on utility bills and infrastructure which ultimately translates to freed up revenue for more ‘constructive’ purposes. As massive infrastructure projects are due to get underway during 2013, developers will be keen to look at innovative means to reduce the energy impact of these construction both during construction as well as operational phases.
Commissioning will be viewed with greater importance Traditionally in the Middle East, commissioning of buildings has not been carried out effectively which has resulted in many buildings performing poorly
during operation and therefore requiring frequent maintenance. Judging by the feedback through 2012 however, we are likely to see an increasing number of developers choosing to utilise commissioning agents on projects to ensure a more effective transition between design, construction and operation stages of projects. Commissioning agents will be increasingly called upon to identify potential savings in capital costs for clients by better optimising designs and streamlining the testing and commissioning process, such that building owners receive a better functioning building at the start of operation.
Increase in energy retrofit projects Due to recent increases in utility tariff’s, the economic downturn and a greater focus on energy and sustainability issues, facility owners and operators are paying greater attention to their utility bills. Conducting detailed energy audits of facilities has shown that buildings can save approximately 20% of their energy bill through low to no cost measures alone, that all pay back within 12 to 18 months with an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) upwards of 40%. As far as investment decisions go this is a no-brainer and during 2013, building owners are likely to realise this and take measures to reduce their energy consumption. While these trends only scratch the surface of green building, they are indicative of the positive direction in which the industry is heading. 2013 looks poised to be a year for massive growth of the green building market and the onus is now upon facility owners and managers, and architects and design teams to ‘think green’ lest they find themselves in the red.
energy reboot from unveiling DEWA’s green headquarters to promoting ENOC’s green fuel stations taking root across the emirate, The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE) made waves At the World Future Energy Summit (WFES 2013)
he Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE) has a long-term goal to transform the emirate’s economy into one that banks on sustainable development. The directive was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, with the goal to support the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to effectively reduce demand for energy by 30% in 2030. “The participation of the Supreme Council of Energy in this international event is driven by our vision to reinforce energy efficiency and security by providing sustainable power supplies and enhancing the optimum use of energy whilst protecting the environment. The Supreme Council is contributing to sustainable development, which is the main pillar of our growth strategy to achieve prosperity for generations to come,” said His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Supreme Council of Energy, at WFES 2013. “We are delighted to showcase our experiences in the field of green buildings through DEWA’s sustainable building to senior experts and decision makers from the oil, gas and energy sectors. We are at WFES to exchange views and discuss critical issues related to the energy sector across the globe,” added Al Tayer. “DEWA’s sustainable building is based on a modern Buildings Management
System, which manages air conditioning, cooling, and ventilation units, to save electricity consumption. The building adopts conservation criteria for electricity and water, and uses solar energy to supply electricity.” “The new building has achieved a huge success as the first sustainable building for the public sector to win the Platinum Award for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), achieving 98 points out of 110 as per the US Green Building Council’s assessment,” according to Al Tayer. “The building sets new standards in sustainability and is an example to follow for other government and private buildings to reduce the negative impact of carbon emissions in the construction sector. It also saves 66% of electricity usage and 48% of water consumption. The building aims to only use 120 kilowatt hours/m2 per year, which will make it 3.5 times more efficient than conventional buildings. It also includes solar panels with a capacity of 660 kW for generating electricity in conjunction with DEWA’s main power sources.” “The Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 was formulated by the Supreme Council in 2012 to ensure the sustainable development of Dubai by diversifying the energy mix of the Emirate to be 71% from Gas, 12% Nuclear Energy, 12% Clean Coal, and 5% Solar Energy by
2030. We have formulated the main strategies for the Emirate of Dubai to ensure sustainable power supply and improve efficiency of demand for water, electricity and fuel transport,” concluded Al Tayer.
ENOC Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) and Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) were also featured at the Supreme Council pavilion for their initiatives for conserving energy. ENOC showcased its first green petrol station in the Middle East. The first station was launched in 2011 and featured green solutions including lighting systems, the use of solar power, and systems for washing cars without water in an effort to conserve water and minimise its carbon footprint by providing green services.
DUBAL DUBAL displayed their initiative for sustainability by creating its Quick Wins initiative that was launched by the Supreme Council in 2010 to adjust the temperature of air conditioners to 24 degrees Celsius during the work day and at 27 degrees Celsius after work hours by using eco-friendly light bulbs, turning off the lights after finishing work and using solar energy to heat water. This effort was made to encourage employees to conserve electricity and water.
A model home This year’s edition of the World Future Energy Summit featured a life-size showcase of a villa prototype compliant with Estidama and the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC)
esigned by real estate developer, Sorough, the villa prototype follows Estidama’s Pearl Rating system to a T, demonstrating that energy and water efficiency can be achieved beyond apartment buildings. Substantially sized villas, community centres and residential neighbourhoods can adopt smart technologies and energy efficient methods in operations to keep rising energy demands in check. “Energy efficiency is a crucial element of Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030 as the emirate aims to double the rate of improvement of energy efficiency by that time. WFES is a perfect platform on which to showcase the Estidama villa prototype and allow developers, engineers, planners, architects and villa/house owners to learn about how energy efficiency can be incorporated into their own designs, buildings and homes,” said Mohamed Al Khadar, UPC Executive Director for Development Review and Estidama. The Estidama- compliant house exhibition area showed several ways to improve energy efficiency in housing. The building depends on higher performance materials, incorporates better shading, has more efficient air conditioning and lighting systems, and uses solar water
heating systems. The Estidama villa’s energy consumption is 35% less than the average home. In addition, the villa also offers more water efficient fixtures and fittings and uses better irrigation systems to reduce water consumption by a minimum of 25% compared to the average. Construction waste going to landfills is also reduced by 50% and should be prepared for waste segregation and recycling by the occupants. Al Ain Gharbia Residential Community will integrate the Estidama Pearl Rating system in 600 of the community’s villas. “We all know that existing residential areas in the Emirate use a substantial percentage of Abu Dhabi’s energy and water resources. By building sustainable homes that comply with the Estidama Pearl Rating System requirements, we not only create healthier, resource efficient, comfortable and environmentally friendly communities, but villa owners may also see a better return on their investment,” Al Khadar, added. A new awareness tool created by Estidama known as the E-Villa Configurator was developed to help villa owners and developers achieve the Pearl Rating System for Villas (PRSV).
World Future Energy Summit (WFES 2013) The annual World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi is the world’s foremost gathering dedicated to promoting sustainable technologies. Celebrating its sixth year in 2013, it is the leading international event for government and industry decision makers committed to finding viable, sustainable solutions to the world’s growing energy challenges. The summit is an unparalleled forum for political, business and intellectual debate, and for networking and transactions between manufacturers, suppliers and customers in both the public and private sector. It comprises a world-class conference, a large-scale exhibition, and an annual celebration of the winners of Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Future Energy Prize, which recognises global achievement in the fields of renewable energy and sustainable development. Hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted renewable energy company, the World Future Energy Summit also features the Project and Finance Village, the Young Future Energy Leaders programme, roundtable discussions, and various corporate events and social engagements.
Waste not, want not Food scarcity and food waste lie at polar ends of the spectrum, yet the developing world is notorious for encouraging this paradoxically causal relationship. Praseeda Nair EXAMINES how this global concern is heightened by the lack of efficient infrastructure and equitable distribution systems, rather than a lack of food sources, while examining the staggering food waste statistics in the UAE
s the global population surges past the 7 billion mark, producing enough food to satisfy domestic markets is a challenge of its own. The natural pendular swing of the economy has forced consumers in developed nations to adopt living within their means as a mantra during the recession years. In
theory, heightened food storage technology should make this basic necessity easily accessible across the world. Yet the developing world still struggles with food scarcity, preservation and security. Sandwiched between these two extremes, the GCC tops global lists on all accounts of food waste. The
UAE imports close to 90% of its food, and a recent survey conducted by YouGov shows that two thirds of UAE residents fail to see food waste as a global environmental concern. The survey suggests that most of this apathy comes from excessive consumerism and a myopic world view.
Straight to the landfill More than three quarters (78%) of the respondents of this nation-wide survey admit that they throw food away every week to make room for a new batch of groceries. According to Naji Mohammed Saeed Al Radhi, the head of waste treatment at Dubai Municipality, food waste is the main item that takes up space in landfills. “Organic waste in Dubai varies from 30 to 35% of the total waste, which is a lot,” Al Radhi says Last year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) estimated that about 1.3 billion tonnes of food a year were lost or wasted, based on findings of the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology. “If food waste goes along with other waste such as paper, it will contaminate
(recyclables),” Al Radhi adds, stressing the importance of waste segregation. “We are encouraging the sorting [of waste] at [its] source. We are taking the necessary steps to apply the ‘My city, My environment’ programme in malls and shopping centres to separate the organic waste from other recyclables. That way we can minimise the quantities [of waste] sent to landfills and increase the amount that we can recycle.” One in six respondents (15%) said they deliberately cook more food than required to ensure that there is always enough at the dinner table. The survey results suggest a need for a change in consumer behaviour—in using up food closer to their expiry dates first, and in looking beyond the visual appeal of their spread.
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The food waste chain From the point of disposal onwards, food waste puts a strain on the environment. Organic waste takes up a lot of room in trash bags, which may not be biodegradable. In the MENA region, garbage trucks are powered by diesel, and are notorious for emitting various air pollutants while transporting food waste to the landfills. Once organic waste begins to decompose, it attracts insects, rodents and harmful bacteria. Decomposing food in landfills produces methane, an environmentally harmful greenhouse gas that is at least 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Rotting food also contributes to leachat, an acidic liquid residue that can seep into and contaminate groundwater. Composting is a greener alternative to landfills, but is labour
and time intensive for corporations and individuals in the modern urban environment. The third alternative that serves a highly practical purpose for the hospitality, catering and food and beverage industry are food waste disposers that liquefy solid organic waste so that it safely flows into the sewage system or septic tank. According to Mohamed Karam, Business Development Manager for Middle East and Africa at InSinkErator, food waste disposers reduce the amount of waste generated by the average family in the UAE by about 50%, which means that a household that usually generates an average of five bags of trash every week can reduce that number to only twoand-one-half bags by installing and using a food waste disposer in their kitchen. InSinkErator food waste disposers use only about 1% or less of a householdâ€™s total water consumption and cost on average 3 to 5 dirhams a year in electric usage.
The company performed a life cycle assessment (LCA) to better understand the environmental impact of food waste disposal systems. The study examines various methods of transferring and disposing of organic food waste while measuring global warming potential and primary energy demand of each process. â€œThe grinded food waste could be used at an equipped water treatment plant to generate bio gas to produce clean electricity,â€? Karam adds, referring to the production of methane in wastewater treatments, which can be captured and reused as fuel. If this biogas capturing technology is made mandatory across all government treatment facilities, the region could see massive reductions in organic waste, as well as substantial savings in energy use.
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Food security in conflict areas Syria and the Levant In light of the recent escalation of violence in Syria, the UN World Food Programme (UNWFP) has issued a warning that food insecurity is on the rise due to bread shortages and higher food prices in many parts of the country. Bread shortages are becoming more common with long queues in front of bakeries, some of which have sustained damage from indiscriminate attacks. In Aleppo, the majority of the population is
The root causes of poor distribution include the lack of infrastructure such as markets and transportation routes, unsustainable prices driven by corruption and waste, inefficiency in markets, and poverty”
now dependent on private bakeries where the price is 40 to 50% higher compared to other governorates. Most basic food items are still available in the market, but at higher prices. In areas of conflict, shortages of some food commodities have been observed while prices have almost doubled. In these areas access to the market is often curtailed. The Syrian crisis has also negatively impacted the food security situation of neighbouring countries that depend on food imports from Syria and cross border trade. Food prices in Jordan, for example, have increased due to the reduction of food imports by nearly 50% and increased demand from new arrivals from Syria.
Sub-Saharan Africa In war-torn Sub-Saharan Africa, the biggest obstacle to food security is access to water, farmland and harvested produce. Farmers in Sudan’s Darfur region are often placed in direct conflict with militia groups over these basic necessities. As the UN media service has observed, “The conflict pits farming communities against nomads who have aligned
themselves with the militia groups – for whom the raids are a way of life – in stiff competition for land and resources. The militias, known as the Janjaweed, attack in large numbers on horseback and camels and are driving the farmers from their land, often pushing them towards town centres.” Subsistence farming reigns in North Darfur, yet local harvests only meet up to 15% of the demand, increasing the region’s reliance on emergency food aid. In response to their limited access to seed, fertiliser and other provisions, groups like the UNFAO have taken steps to supply thousands of local farmers with the necessary tools for increasing their yield. With continued conflict, drought, and failed harvests to contend with, the prospects for farming in Darfur still remain extremely limited. Food storage in the hot and arid climate remains a large issue contributing to the problem.
Preservation is key A good harvest is a rarity in the harsh climate of North Darfur; but even when farmers and small-scale producers yield a strong crop, they still face the problem of storing what they’ve grown. In the sweltering summer months, farmers in Darfur have resigned themselves to the fact that more than half of their crops would spoil in the half-day commute to the Al Fashir market in the capital city of North Darfur. Even after braving militia groups, guarding crops from raven and rodent attacks, and dry spells, the lack of refrigeration makes food preservation a colossal task. Dry heat and dust reduce the shelf life of water-based crop such as tomatoes, okra and carrots to as little as two or three days,
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Feeding the world On 30 January 2013 in Amsterdam, a multistakeholder conference, Feeding the World, facilitated dialogue between representatives of the agribusiness industry, policy makers, international agencies and NGOs. Currently, over one billion people lack access to adequate food and nutrition. By 2050, the global population will surpass 9 billion people and agricultural systems will be increasingly challenged by water scarcity, climate change and volatility. “Feeding the world poses a significant challenge, as the population reaches 9 billion. It’s evident that new approaches, science and partnerships will be essential,” says Jim Borel, executive vice president of DuPont. “Bringing industry leaders together will help us really begin to address global food security in an impactful way.” Leaders of agribusiness responded to the latest statistic that 1 in 3 calories created in the world is wasted. Ulla Holm, Director of Tetra Pak’s Food for Development Office, highlighted the company’s total value chain approach to combating food waste through social and technological innovations. Tetra Pak utilises modern processing, packaging and distribution equipment in order to reduce raw food waste. Tetra Pak’s OneStep technology, for example, with fewer process steps and smaller hold-up volumes in the milk production line, cuts product loss by up to 30% compared to conventional UHT solutions. Tetra Pak also embarks on social innovation such as the introduction of the Dairy Hub model, which connects thousands of local small holder farmers, with up to 10,000 cows, to a dedicated dairy processor and farm training programmes, helping to increase milk production and avoid food waste. Ultimately however, Holm believes that reducing food waste is a matter of consumer behaviour at the end of the value chain, in both developed and developing markets. Other key topics under debate included the challenge of increasing agricultural productivity while using less water, chemicals and land, how to tackle the growing problems of malnutrition and obesity, and new approaches to more
and the fact that food must be consumed within days leads to a lot of wastage. A simple innovation has revolutionised subsistence farming in the developing world, combating the issue of food storage in hot climes. In 1995, Mohammed Bah Abba, a Nigerian teacher from a family of pot-makers, introduced pot-in-pot refrigeration (zeer) for cooling food without electricity. The zeer uses evaporative cooling as the basis for extending the shelf life of fresh food. It consists of a large pot, inside which fits another smaller pot with a clay lid. The space between the two pots is filled with sand, creating an insulating layer around the inner pot. The sand is then kept damp by adding water twice a day to keep the inner pot cool over time. Each zeer can hold 12 kilogrammes of vegetables, and costs less than US$2 to produce. When tested, the zeer has proven to extend shelf life of tomatoes and guavas up to 20 days, instead of the usual two-day best-before date. Even rocket leaves, which usually lasts only a day before wilting, can be kept for five days in the zeer.
Infrastructure The root causes of poor distribution include the lack of infrastructure such as markets and transportation routes, unsustainable prices driven by corruption and waste, inefficiency in markets, and poverty. About 16% of the rural populations in developing countries lack convenient access to a market, which typically causes farmers not to sell their crops. In fact, it is estimated that at most 40% of the any crop is marketed and only one-third of farmers sell to markets. Mobile Markets allow farmers and consumers with constant access to fresh produce as it shuttles from rural to urban areas. In developing nations, transportation is often very limited. The few road and railway systems in place are highly sporadic, expensive and poorly maintained, causing delays and inaccessibility. There is a huge disparity in the world between people with adequate food and those starving or malnourished. Bridging this gap will take multi-stakeholder discussions to place the right streams for equitable distribution, food security and waste management.
sustainable agricultural production systems. February 2013
Green gadgets From bamboo keyboards to water-saving pebbles, Dina Mahmoud rounds up the latest green gadgets in the market Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard – K750 ‘If you’ve got light, you’ve got power’ is the motto for the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750.The keyboard is a modern light weight keyboard that is only an inch thick and uses sunlight or artificial lighting to charge and relies only on renewable energy in the form of solar power. The photovoltaic cells are placed across the top of the keyboard and provide all the necessary power without the use of wires or batteries. While the keyboard is solar powered, any light source will be sufficient. When the battery is fully charged, the keyboard will stay charged for a period of three months, even in the dark.
iZen Bamboo Bluetooth Keyboard ‘Plastic keyboards will one day fill the earth, but the iZen keyboard won’t be among them.’ This handmade keyboard consists of 92% renewable bamboo, making it biodegradable and recyclable. The internal components of the keyboard include some metal and plastic parts. The keyboard runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and charges with a USB 2.0 cable. It is coated with wax to protect it from absorbing water and oils from your fingers. The bamboo used does not contain toxins or dyes and is carefully harvested to preserve th the panda habitat.
The Waterpebble is a device used to raise awareness of your water consumption and is capable of monitoring how much water has been used with every shower. The device memorises the first shower as a main target and then aims to reduce the amount of water used by cutting down your shower time. This tool can be placed beside the plug hole and will be lit in green until the target goal for the water consumption has been reached. When the Waterpebble turns red, it is time to get out of the shower. This tool will help reduce your water usage in the shower.
LittleSun Solar-Powered Lantern Many people living without access to electricity rely on fuels like kerosene to light their homes. However, this solar powered lantern is made up of cell mono-crystalline solar modules. It provides 10 times more light at one-tenth of the cost of the average wick-based lantern, with charge time of four hours. The lantern is practical and can be hung on a wall or from the ceiling, and is safe enough to attach to clothing. The lantern is dustproof, and is water, UV and heat resistant.
The Eco Kettle The Eco Kettle is an environmentally friendly kettle that allows the user to fill the kettle to the top but has a special feature that allows the user to boil one to eight cups according to their requirements. The kettle is designed to save energy and ensure that energy is used efficiently. The UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs declared, “if everyone boiled only the water they needed to make a cup of tea instead of ‘filling’ the kettle every time, we could save enough electricity to run practically all the street lighting in the UK.”
D.y. kim | Comment
2013 tech trends Smart homes, privacy and data security, mobile phones, personal cloud computing and innovation round up the expected top five trends in 2013, according to D.Y. Kim, President of LG Electronics Gulf FZE
he smart home concept has been around for years. Who does not wish for a smart home? Nowadays, the technology has come a long way and the applications are a lot more intriguing. Consumers who were excited about the smart home concept back then, were sci-fi fans and tech enthusiasts, whereas now, the smart home concept is appealing to a much wider spectrum
of consumer demographics because the idea is intrinsically linked to the efficiency concept. The technology is now available to connect household appliances together and oversee the entire energy consumption of each household. Not only can energy use be monitored, it can also be managed to achieve a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.
We have all been witnessing the battle over protecting individualâ€™s privacy and data security. Not only will the battle continue in 2013 but it will also intensify. Consider the more advanced TVs hitting the market in 2013, equipped with integrated components such as microphones and cameras. The cameras use face recognition technology to identify which
D.y. kim | Comment
regions such as the Middle East and Africa are hopping on the bandwagon, adding more markets for manufacturers to delve intoâ€?
users are in the room, and the microphones listen for voice commands. While the technology is to be applauded, it also draws frightful questions. If these TVs could be hacked, this would constitute a deeply worrying violation of privacy. People want to have their cake and eat it on the go; the analysts at International Data Corporation believe that around 391 million PCs will be shipped in 2013. The majority of those PCs, about 235 million of them, will be portable. This is how we know that Mobile is in. Alongside those 391 million PCs, a whopping 801 million smartphones will also be shipped. According to former director of Google China, Kai-Fu Lee, China should account for about 300 million of those smartphones by the end of 2013, adding to the 200 million that already exist in the country. India will push the smartphone boom even further. However, regions such as the Middle East and Africa are also hopping on the bandwagon, adding more markets for manufacturers to delve into. With the majority of the world accessing the internet via smartphones, this has a significant knock-on effect for both handset providers and app developers. Expect to see big innovations in 2013.
Cloud computing has already won favour the world over for business applications, so much so that using a single PC as the sole repository of data is a dying concept. As more and more consumers adopt cloud storage, there will be a lot of security concerns. Personal cloud computing is primed to take off in 2013. As more and more consumers access data from a wide array of devices including tablets, PCs, smartphones and even TVs, there is a growing need to synchronise all of the data from the configured devices and send that data to a
personal, localised cloud. 2013 looks to be the year that the personal cloud moves out of the home office or study and into the lounge. Finally, innovation will be the key in 2013. The user experience will play a larger role in allowing manufacturers to differentiate themselves through innovation. Whereas a decade ago consumers would shell out their hard earned cash for the most powerful processors or the fastest load times, consumers today want innovations that improve the ways in which we interact with our devices.
Pristine territory From the ice sheet of Antarctica to the jungles of Papua New Guinea, here are some of the most pristine places on the planet
Namibia Namibia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. The country’s name is derived from the Namib Desert, which houses approximately 2,500 cheetahs—the largest cheetah population in the world. With giant dunes, ancient petroglyphs, craters and waterfalls, Namibia is one of the most pristine landscapes in Africa. In addition, Namibia is also one of the only nations to dedicate the preservation of its ecosystem in the country’s constitution.
Papua New Guinea Being one of the most rural and unexplored places in the world, Papua New Guinea is home to many of the world’s undiscovered species of flora and fauna. Exploitation of the country’s natural resources has been hampered by its rugged terrain, as well as the hitches in the legal system, and the high cost of building infrastructure. Due to the social issues in Papua New Guinea, attention has not been given to the landscape, allowing the scenery to remain immaculate and largely untouched.
Galapagos Islands Although the Galapagos has had many visitors from around the world, it still remains untouched by modern development. The archipelago is home to many species such as giant tortoises, iguanas, sea lions, penguins, whales and fish. It is home to a scarce human population of only 23,000.
Seychelles Seychelles has the largest percentage of land under conservation of any country — just about 50%. The islands are home to some of the world’s most idyllic beaches and varied species such as the national bird, the Seychelles black parrot. Some 490 kilometres of powder soft beaches contour the coast.
Bhutan Very few know about Tibet’s small Himalayan mountain cousin Bhutan, which has the same rolling landscape and significantly less pollution. More than 60% of the country is under forest cover, and a quarter of its territory has been defined as protected areas. The Land of the Thunder Dragon, as it’s known, has rugged mountains and valleys, making it a veritable hub for biodiversity.
Kamchatka, Russia While Russia may not rank high in the global perception of eco-tourism hotspots, the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far east, is a wild and empty place located between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotosk. The peninsula is known for its volcanoes, glaciers and mega-earthquakes that can reach a magnitude of 9.0 -all of which have made the peninsula an untameable fortress of nature.
Atacama Desert, Chile Covered in salt basins, sand and lava, the Atacama desert is one of the only landscapes that does not get rainfall. With 40,000 square miles (103,600 square km) of lifeless soil, the Atacama Desert has provided NASA with the perfect environment to design their Mars ground tests on Atacama land. Due to its high altitude, nearly non-existent cloud cover, dry air and lack of light pollution and radio interference, the desert is one of the best places in the world to conduct astronomical observations.
Daintree National Park, Australia In the depths of Queensland, Australia lies the Daintree National Park, home to thousands of plant species and contains trees that average more than 2,500 years in age. The park houses a 110-million-year-old rainforest, one of the oldest on earth.
Fiordland, New Zealand Located on the southern end of New Zealand’s west coast, the Fiordland region is remote, rugged, and untamed. With high mountains falling into jagged rocky waters, Fiordland lacks a full-time local population. The native Maoris used to stop by to hunt, fish and collect jadestone in the pre-colonial era. Since then, the area has seen little human interaction. In addition, Fiordland’s location, (just off the shore of the Antarctic) keeps the air in the region clean.
Antarctica Being the only continent never to be settled by humans, 96% of the island is covered with ice, which averages more than 1.6 km in thickness. Known for being an experimental ground, Antarctica receives between 1000 to 50,000 scientists and researchers. The waters around the Antarctica is used as feeding grounds for penguins, whales, seals and seabirds. Although the coldest place on Earth makes a harsh home for humans, it is still an important site for many of Earth’s other inhabitants.
PROTECTING ENVIRONMENTS. INSIDE & OUT.
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Beyond badges Recognising private sector players in a nationwide move to reduce the UAE’s carbon footprint, Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF (EWS-WWF) named five organisations as leading members of their Corporate Heroes programme
Top 5 Corporate Heroes with Tamara Withers and Ida Tillisch
Y HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak
ear on year, the UAE has topped the global list of countries with the highest ecological footprint, despite nationwide commitments towards green growth. While the public sector has been setting the trend for sustainable operations, 30% of UAE’s high ecological footprint is solely produced by indiscriminate energy and water consumption in the private sector.
Solutions The causative relationship between the energy and water utilisation, carbon emissions and climate change has been established, providing a clear strategy in reducing the environmental impact of consumption. Getting the private sector on board has been the cornerstone of Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF’s Heroes of the UAE programme, designed to
encourage all sectors of society to reduce their carbon footprint. The Corporate Heroes programme focuses on the private sector re-evaluating operational strategies in consumption, employee engagement, and environmental foresight. Appealing to the sector, the programme highlights the related financial returns resulting in smart consumption. Reducing energy and water consumption
lowers occupational costs and prepares businesses to address future increases in utility rates. Savings can be re-invested in other parts of the company to advance corporate interests. The programme was launched in 2010 by EWS-WWF, in partnership with the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) and endorsement from the Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW). It is the only national voluntary carbon
reduction programme verified by a third party. The programme offers guidance, an online toolkit, and reporting frameworks to enable organisations to make this transition, as well as share their best practices and challenges through case studies that document their environmental journey. “The UAE has a high ecological footprint per capita and business and industries are
responsible for contributing almost a third of this. This was in fact what prompted EWSWWF to develop Heroes of the UAE Private Sector programme,” explains Ida Tillisch, Acting Director General of EWS-WWF. “Our role is to create a platform for organisations wanting to take action can find the expertise tools and support to do so. At the same time, we are gathering lessons learnt from the corporate
it is very important to understand what are the challenges the private sector faces so that we can scale up government-led initiatives. ”
heroes network, and these help us understand local barriers to large scale energy and water conservation to help break these obstacles down.” Recognised for successfully fulfilling three pledges required by the programme, which resulted in each organisation lowering its carbon emissions from energy and water by at least 10%, five organisations were acknowledged as ‘verified’ heroes, after being technically reviewed by Ernst & Young. By implementing technical and behavioural changes such as installing fittings that reduce water flow, maintaining and upgrading air conditioning and ventilation systems, introducing LED lighting and reducing lighting and AC usage, these organisations achieved savings between 28% to 89% in water consumption and 11 to 55% in energy consumption over 12 continuous months. American University of Sharjah, Archcorp, Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Service City and TECOM topped the list, paving the way for others to reduce their energy and water consumption in the near future.
The green economy “Many governments around the world are trying to make sense of what green economy means to them. By positioning ourselves as a world leader, we can turn green growth to an opportunity to export our learning, experiences and technology,” according to Her Excellency Razan Khalifa al Mubarak, Secretary General of Environment Agency Abu Dhabi. “It is very important to understand what are the challenges the private sector faces so that we can scale up government-led initiatives. This is why the Environment Agency is personally committed to this initiative. To achieve the UAE’s green economy as well as the Abu Dhabi Environment vision 2030, all
Savings made Company Service City AUS Crowne Plaza ArchCorps Tecom
Electricity: % CO2 reduced 18% 12% 21% 55% 11%
sectors have to play their part. As a government entity, we are taking this challenge quite seriously, and have initiated many projects to encourage resource efficiency, to diversify the energy mix, and to ensure the resources we do use have minimal environmental impact,” she adds. Tillisch explains that since the majority of the UAE’s ecological footprint is due to carbon emissions, which contribute to climate change, nipping this burgeoning problem in the bud is the only logical way forward. “It is crucial that we all make the necessary efforts to lower our carbon emissions. The opportunities are here, we just need to take them.”
Water: % CO2 reduced 28% 39% 31% 89% 29%
Dishwashers Consumption per load/place setting* 1997: 12 place settings 2012: 13 place settings Energy consumption*
–50 % up to
*Based on program: Eco 50 o C
Comparison between energy and water consumption values of a standard dishwasher from 1997 (0.10 kWh/ place setting, 1.33 ltrs/ place setting) with values of SN26V893EU (0.05kWh/ place setting, 0.54 ltrs/ place setting) for full load
Preserving resources for future generations. www.siemens-home.com/ae Siemens speedMatic dishwashers with the award-winning Zeolith® drying process is clearly the most efficient choice of dishwashers, providing excellent energy and water savings. The SN26V893EU has annual energy and water consumption values of 194kWh and 1960 liters.*
can match. The mineral is invisible in the appliance, but the benefits are unmistakable. It absorbs moisture and transforms it into heat energy, to dry dishes exceptionally quickly and energy-efficiently. *Based on the EU regulation 2010 / 1059 (280 rinse cycles).
drying The only dishwasher with The new generation of speedMatic dishwashers is equipped with the zeolite mineral – a world’s first that no competitor
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OIL AND GAS
Despite decades of being thoroughly maligned by most of the world, the Oil and Gas sector still controls the majority of the planet’s energy resources. In a concerted bid to stretch the lifespan and potential of oil and natural gas sites, many big names in the industry have been making marked efforts to diversify their energy sources and incorporate cleaner technologies. Moving away from a black and white view of sustainability, BGreen presents the symbiotic relationship between renewable and non-renewable resources as the conventional energy sector transitions towards a greener future.
Damage control Beyond oil spill prevention, the industry has a long way to go when it comes to leaving marine ecosystems unharmed, as confirmed by the recent incident at the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park in the Philippines. BGreen looks at lessons the GCC can learn from this episode
fter two decades of relative peace, the UNESCO supported Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park in the Philippines has seen recent turmoil. Voted as a world heritage site in 1987, the park’s diverse marine system remained largely untouched until a Navy minesweeper, The USS Guardian, grounded itself in the reef. The USS
Guardian underwent two days of controlled defueling to prevent wide scale destruction of the site. Although 15,000 gallons of the fuel on board was removed without a spill, the incident still calls for immediate attention in order to protect the marine environment area. Departing from Nagasaki, Japan, the Guardian grounded in the morning of 17 January in Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park in the Sulu Sea of the Philippines. Large efforts were made to free the 68-metre long ship that was stuck on the reef; 80 miles eastsoutheast of Palawan Island on high tide have been futile for days. Although the vessel is still on the water, there are “no traces of an oil slick in the area,” said the Navy. The 80 crewmembers on board were evaculated along with the ship’s cargo. Despite the Navy’s announcement, conservationists remain unmoved arguing that the ship’s hull has ground against large portions of the reef, causing irreparable damage. Further damage was expected as monsoon winds have impeded attempts to dislodge the vessel. “Hundreds of metres of oncepristine reef have already been flattened,” said the World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF). US officials have been regularly updating the government of the
OIL AND GAS
Despite the Navy’s announcement, conservationists remain unmoved arguing that the ship’s hull has caused irreparable damage”
Malaysian tug Vos Apollo, foreground, prepares for de-fueling operations near the grounded minesweeper USS Guardian while a U.S. Navy small boat approaches with a salvage team. (Photo by Naval Air Crewmen 3rd Class Geoffrey Trudell courtesy U.S. Navy)
The US Navy has taken responsibility for the Guardian and has vowed to assist the government of the Phillipines to assess the extent of the damage to the reef and the surrounding marine environment caused by the grounding, once the vessel has been recovered to the US. An in-depth investigation will give an insight on the faulty digital navigation chard data that misplaced the location of the Tubbataha Reef. This is not the first time that the Tubbataha Reef has been threatened. On 31 October 2005, the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior ran aground on Tubbataha Reef, damaging an estimated 1000 square feet of the reef, for which they paid a fine of about US$7000. Greenpeace blamed the accident on inaccurate charts.
A food factory The U.S. Navy-contracted Malaysian tug Vos Apollo removes petroleum-based products and human wastewater from the mine countermeasure ship USS Guardian
Philippines and have expressed their regret. “As a protector of the sea and a sailor myself, I greatly regret any damage this incident has caused to the Tubbataha Reef,” said Vice Admiral Scott Swift, Commander of the US 7th Fleet.
“We know the significance of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and its importance as a World Heritage Site. Its protection is vital, and we take seriously our obligations to protect and preserve the maritime environment,” added Swift.
WWF calls the reef “a food factory for the Sulu Sea” that continuously seeds the waters of Palawan and the West Visayan isles with fish and invertebrate spawn. The Tubbataha Reefs house an estimated 600 species of fish, 360 species of corals, 14 species of sharks, 12 species of dolphins and whales and a nesting population of seabirds and marine turtles. Due to its water inhabitants, Tubbataha is a priority
OIL AND GAS
Lessons for our region
USS Guardian sits aground on the Tubbataha Reef. Operations to safely recover the ship while minimising environmental effects are being conducted by the U.S. Navy and the Philippines Coast Guard. (Photo by Aircrewman 3rd Class Geoffrey Trudell courtesy US Navy)
conservation area of the WWF and is one of the Coral Triangle region’s most important marine areas. Tubbataha also has a unique history in which the park has become the country’s first marine protected area in 1988 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. In 2009, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Act, created under the protective management of the Philippines Department of National Defense was put in place to provide more permanent management structures, fiscal autonomy, and steeper penalties for violators of the park rules. became law to provide more WWF Philippines declared that several sanctions such as, unauthorised entry, damages to the reef, destroying and disturbing resources and non-payment of conservation fees, can be imposed on the ship for violating the Tubbataha Reef Natural Park Act.
Almost two-thirds of Gulf reefs are at risk, largely because over 30% of the world’s oil tankers move through this area each year. In terms of leakage prevention, the region has enjoyed over two decades of relative calm; with reminders of the last major oil spill still lingering in the air. The marine has consistently been threatened throughout times or turmoil. With the destruction of over 730 oil wells by the retreating Iraqi forces in February 1991, huge volumes of hydrocarbons were released directly into the marine environment while additional volumes entered the marine environment indirectly as fall-out from the numerous oil fires. A rough estimate of 10.8 million barrels of oil was released into the Arabian Gulf from January to June of 1991, due to the wreckage of the wells and the destruction of oil processing facilities. The affect went from oiling the shorelines of Kuwait all the way to Abu Ali in Saudi Arabia. In addition, being a semi- enclosed waterway that is linked with the Indian Ocean by just a narrow passage, the Strait of Hormuz, the turnover time for waters of the Arabian Gulf is lengthy at an estimated 3.5 years. As a result of the slow yield time and its dimensions of roughly 1000 km long, 300 km wide, 35 metre-deep , the spill was expected to cause extremely harmful long-term effects. Yet, against all odds, the Arabian Gulf appears to have shown remarkable endurance in light of the environmental disaster. A research paper about the paper effects of oil pollution in the Arabian gulf, conducted by Germany and Saudi Arabia suggested that by 1994, the fish and bird populations had reached pre-spill figures. Similar studies showed that the whale, dolphin and turtle populations were largely impervious. The fishing industry was destroyed immediately after the oil spill, forcing the Iraqi mines to impose restrictions in the Gulf against Kuwaiti and Saudi fishermen. Surprisingly, even the fishing industry had started to show signs of progress by 1994. Abdul Nabi Al-Ghadban of the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research has examined the impact of the spill, learning how the region’s hot and humid coastal climate could have aided in its speedy ecological recovery. “If you have a higher air or water temperature, the lighter fraction of the oil, which is more toxic, evaporates, and the heavy fraction, which is least toxic, goes to the bottom,” he says. In contrast with the more recent Exxon Valdez incident, the spill of 1991 had a higher impact of hydrocarbons entering the tepid waters of the Arabian Gulf. However, due to the colder water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico, the effect of the Exxon Valdez spill created a larger threat on the marine ecosystem. Despite advantageous air and water temperatures in the Arabian Gulf, the oil spill has left the region with damages that are yet to be fixed, two decades later. According to Ghadban, coral reefs off the Saudi coast have been marred. Supplementing the environmental misfortune of the spill, heavier oil fractions, which cannot evaporate nor dissolve, have sunk into sediments. Twelve years from the ecological disaster, a US study conducted off the coast of Saudi Arabia has confirmed the extent of the damage. The studies indicated that huge quantities of oil remain embedded in the sediment of salt marshes, mudflats and mangroves. This suggests an urgent need for an industry-wide standard in disaster mitigation, a twenty-year track record notwithstanding.
SOCIETY | PERSONALITY
Reaching the top Edmund Hillary, the first man to conquer Mount Everest, Dedicated his life to serving this Natural wonder
1924: George LeighMallory, a famous mountaineer and his partner Andrew (Sandy) Irvine, disappeared in an attempt to conquer the massive peak.
1952: A team of Swiss climbers were only 1000 feet away from the summit but were forced to turn back
dmund Hillary’s passion for climbing started at a tender age. He began with climbing the mountains in New Zealand and eventually went on to climbing the Alps. With time, he moved on to the Himalayas where he climbed 11 different peaks at over 20,000 feet high and soon enough, Hillary felt ready to face the highest mountain in the world. Hillary and his Nepalese guide Norgay were the only two remaining climbers in their
Mount Everest lies between Tibet and Nepal and has been a landmark for challenge all around the world. From 1920 to 1952, many expeditions were made in an attempt to climb the mountain but failed to reach the summit”
expedition to reach the summit of Mount Everest back in 1952. Shortly after his mountaineering adventure, Hillary was worried about the well being of the Nepalese people. During the 1960s, he spent a lot of time in Nepal building clinics, hospitals and schools. He also founded the Himalayan Trust, an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of people living in the Himalayas. With his effort to help the developing area, Hillary was also concerned about the degradation of the environment and the problems that would come with increased tourism and accessibility. As a result, Hillary convinced the government to protect the forest by making the area around Mount Everest a national park. In addition, Hillary also requested the government of New Zealand to provide aid to the impoverished areas of Nepal. Hillary then devoted the rest of his life to environmental and humanitarian work.
1987: Edmund Hillary became a member of the Order of New Zealand and was awarded the Polar Medal for this participation in the Commonwealth TransAntarctic Expedition 1995: Edmund Hillary was named a Knight of the Order of the Garter by Queen Elizabeth II for being the first non-Sherpa to reach the summit
2005: Hillary urged that Mount Everest be placed on the United Nations’ list of endangered heritage sites because of the risks of climate change.
SOCIETY | EVENT
Four years to build capital According to a recent report, the MENA region needs US$250 billion capital injection in the power sector by 2013 to meet growing demands. The GCC is to account for 42% of that figure, setting the stage for Middle East Electricity 2013
he report published by the Arab Petroleum Investment Corporation, titled MENA Energy Investment Outlook: Capturing the Full Scope and Scale of the Power Sector, stated that over the next five years, power capacity in the MENA region will increase by 7.8% annually, translating to a capacity increment of 124 gigawatts. The report was published ahead of Middle East Electricity 2013, the Middle East’s largest energy event, focusing on the power, lighting, renewable and nuclear sectors, taking place from 17 to 19 February at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre. The total amount of required capital investment includes power Generation, Transmission and Distribution (GTD), and accounts for more than 200 planned and announced energy-related projects in the MENA region valued between $100 million and $20 billion. Countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) hold the lion’s share of investment growth, accounting for 42% ($105 billion) of total required expenditure, while Iran alone will require $49 billion (20% of total value) worth of investment for power GTD by 2017. “A young, urbanising and fast growing population combined with the massive diversification and industrial expansion plans across the MENA region has led to a spurt
in the demand for power,” says Anita Mathews, Exhibition Director of Middle East Electricity. “Some MENA countries have been struggling to keep up with the escalating demand amid political turmoil in parts of the region. By catching up with power demand being perceived as socially, economically and politically desirable, however, we see a concerted private and public sector effort to ramp up investment in power-related industries.” This will come as good news to more than 1,000 exhibitors at Middle East Electricity, as they showcase their latest wares in power, lighting, nuclear, and renewable energy at the dedicated three-day event. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Middle East Electricity 2013 is now in its 38th edition, making it not only the largest power event in the region, but also the longest-running. This year, Middle East Electricity is co-located with the inaugural edition of Solar Middle East, a three-day event dedicated to the regional solar industry. With at least ten solar power facilities worth a combined $6.8 billion currently under way in the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, Solar Middle East is set to become the largest gathering of solar technology suppliers ever seen in the region.
Middle East Electricity 2013 returns with the popular Middle East Electricity Awards, the VIP 100 Club and an extended programme of technical seminars. Taking place on the opening night of the event at a gala dinner, the Middle East Electricity Awards cover seven individual categories: • • • • • • • •
Power Project of the Year Lighting Project of the Year Solar Project of the Year Best Innovation or Technology of the Year CSR Initiative of the Year Power & Water Utility of the Year HSE Project or Initiative of the Year CEO of the Year (Special Award)
Protect our natural heritage.
With the help of your business, we can do ours. Make a change as corporate member with EWS-WWF and help us in our mission to conserve and protect our natural environment. Together, we can make a difference. www.ewswwf.ae
SOCIETY | DIARY
Save the date BGreen highlights events and conferences taking place in the coming months
TerraGreen 13 International Conference 2013 - Advancements in Renewable Energy and Clean Environment 15-17 February, Beirut, Lebanon The TerraGreen International Conference on Advancements in Renewable Energy and Clean Environment brings together experts and researchers from around the world with similar interests in humanity and environment, energy and sustainability. Middle East Electricity 17-19 February, Dubai, UAE Combining more than 1000 exhibitors from over 50 countries and the biggest names in the global energy industry, Middle East Electricity will hold its annual conference dedicated to sourcing, installing, power, lighting, renewable and nuclear sectors. Qatar Projects 17-19 February, Doha, Qatar Dedicated to commercial opportunities, the Qatar Projects is a conference aimed to promote sector profiles and forecasts that provide valuable information on future projects potentials, key mega projects, investments and construction opportunities, and both energy and non energy projects.
5th Annual Façade Design and Engineering Middle East 25-26 February The 5th Annual Facade Design and Engineering Middle East will discuss key factors of saving energy, delivering ‘localised’ architecture and implementing innovative facades designs. The conference will provide networking opportunities and will bring together professionals across the construction industry including government officials, developers, main contractors, consultants, designers and architects. Paperworld Middle East 5-7 March, Dubai Paperworld offers an overview of the current market themes and trends in the paper and office supply products sector. Paperworld attracts wholesalers, distributors, retailers in the stationery industry, and expects participation from companies looking to expand their products into the Middle East market.
Smartech @ WETEX 15-17 April, Dubai, UAE SmarTech is the only trade platform in the Middle East dedicated to help showcase, promote and market green‐centric technologies, goods and services. This will be showcased at the 15th Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX 2013). WETEX will focus on the larger issues in the power and water sectors, with a wide variety of displays, seminars and technologies featuring insights from international experts from around the world.
HSE in Construction March 11-12, Doha, Qatar HSE in Construction will become a platform for sharing and networking by combining regulators, developers, contractors and consultants. International construction companies are expected to discuss some of the most significant issues of the sector and find available solutions.
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Food for thought
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oo many young folk have addiction to superficial things and not enough conviction of substantial things like justice, truth and love,â€? said the wise Cornel West, a philosopher, activist and a renowned author. The issue of superficiality in modern society has become so pervasive, that even the global issue of food waste largely ties into appearances. Food scarcity has recently been flagged as a rising global crisis due to the amount of food wasted from both the consumer and the commercial sectors. Based on appearances alone, in the UK up to 30% of vegetable crops are not harvested because their physical appearance fails to meet consumer standards. A lot of consumers are not interested in purchasing food products on the sale racks because the idea of a fast-approaching expiration date can seem daunting. Similarly, a food item that looks different from every other item on the shelf can also be off-putting. Who
will buy the products close to expiry? Part of the solution lies in the hands of the consumer. We live in a society where the idea of an expiration date or an unattractive fruit is more important than a piled up landfill. The irony in all this is that a lot of food products are actually edible a good few days after the expiration date. It is astonishing that not only does the food go to waste because we as consumers are over purchasing products, but the fact of the matter is that some crops arenâ€™t even harvested because they are not visually attractive. When dissecting the issue of overconsumption and waste, there is a severe contradiction. On one hand, we have too much food that is going to waste, while on the another hand, we have millions of people around the world suffering from famine. The solution seems so obvious yet so challenging, begging the question of accountability: who is responsible and how can we as global citizens change the status quo around?
THE YELLOW RIVER: China’s sorrow
evees were used by the ancient Chinese to raise the banks of the Yellow River as a means of flood control. The ancient ‘civil engineers’ assumed that restricting the river’s channel would contain the flow. In practice, the levee backfired as the alluvial soil that was deposited over the flood plain led to a build up of silt on the riverbed, causing it to rise over time. The level of the river rose as much as 21 metres above the surrounding plain, and in 1887 the river broke through the levees killing over a million people in one of the worst recorded floods in history. The Middle Ages saw the construction of levees on the Rhine, Danube and
Po rivers, but these have since been reinforced with reforestation measures and reservoirs to strengthen its infrastructure. The Yellow River has high silt content, leading to millions of tonnes of yellow mud choking the channel in monsoon season. This causes the river to overflow and change course. In its lower reaches, the riverbed has actually become higher than the level of the surrounding countryside. Measures to rein in the Yellow River’s volatile flow began as early as the third century B.C. An engineer named Yu came up with the idea of dredging the river to encourage the water to flow in its proper channel. Yu was made Emperor of China for his contribution, but managing the river’s silt would continue to be an ongoing challenge for centuries to follow.
Over recent years, the Chinese have tried to control the Yellow River by building higher levees, digging channels and building dams. Dams have tended to be the most helpful in controlling floods, but the river’s thick silt has clogged many of these modern solutions. Currently, the Chinese are constructing a massive new dam called the Xiaolangdi Multipurpose Dam Project. Boasting 10 intake towers, nine flood and sediment tunnels, six power tunnels and an underground powerhouse, the structure may finally mitigate “China’s Sorrow.”
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BuildGreen Magazine is the first magazine of its kind in the Middle East to exclusively cover issues relating to sustainability and environm...
Published on Feb 10, 2013
BuildGreen Magazine is the first magazine of its kind in the Middle East to exclusively cover issues relating to sustainability and environm...