Retrofitting key in UAE sustainability drive
Retrofitting will continue to play an important role in helping the UAE achieve its targets for more sustainable buildings, experts at the 21st Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (Wetex 2019) said.
Speaking to Khaleej Times at the event, Ali Al Jassim, CEO of Etihad Energy Services Company (Etihad ESCO), highlighted the importance of retrofitting projects across both the commercial and residential sectors. In May this year, Etihad ESCO announced that the installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on the roofs of 5,000 homes in Dubai. The project has a target of installing 65,000 PV panels; 295,000 LED lights; and 50,000 water savers at the villas. The retrofitting is expected to save 31,102,500kWh of energy. Scheduled to be completed by November 2019, the initiative will lead to the reduction of CO2 emissions by 21,139 tonnes annually.
"Today, Dubai has 130MW of connected residential rooftop solar," Ali Al Jassim said. "Our target is to double this figure within one year. Dubai is very unique when it comes to retrofitting projects, and the city has become a model for the industry in the region."
More recently, Etihad ESCO also announced the successful completion of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) Retrofit Project. The project achieved 32.6 per cent energy savings upon completion of the measurement and verification year period. The project also recorded 17,000 tonnes of reductions in annual CO2 emissions, equivalent to removing 3,600 cars from the roads for a year. Etihad ESCO and Jafza have entered into an agreement for Phase 3 of the project, which aims to enhance energy efficiency, specifically in office buildings.
Similarly, Faris Saeed, CEO and co-founder of Diamond Developers, also shared some of the success stories at The Sustainable City. "Keeping track of the carbon footprint is a fundamental issue, as stipulated in the Paris Climate Agreement. Per capita, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions dropped from 5.1 tonnes of CO2 to 4.1 tonnes. This is due in large part to the advanced energy technologies that we have employed and our ongoing efforts to improve results in this regard, most notably by encouraging behavioral change among residents. The coming years will see significant progress in the various indicators with the completion of energy projects that rely on the best clean solutions."
The connection of 2.46MW of solar photovoltaic power in public areas in The Sustainable City offset 87 per cent of electricity consumption in common areas.
Ian Sykes, regional director at Sensus, spoke about the importance of technology in helping the drive towards sustainability.
"Globally, 1.7 trillion gallons of water are lost, costing more than $2.6 billion per year. Water consumption measurement, leakage detection, real time data analytics and better water distribution management are some of the areas where technology can definitely play a strong role in preserving one of our most scarce resources. Through smart water meters, utility networks will not only be gathering accurate data about water network and distribution systems, but also get meaningful data that can help them manage the supply chain more efficiently and make informed choices and effectively plan or intervene, wherever necessary, to resolve any issues."