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Retrofitting buildings can triple energy savings

Dubai, October 7, 2010

Retrofitting existing structures can triple savings in energy and energy costs, as well as create healthier environments for residents, according to experts at the ‘Green Retrofitting’ forum in Dubai.

The second in a series of Green Brunch events organised by The Energy and Environment Park (Enpark), a sustainable community model for commercial and residential use and a member of Tecom Investments’ Sciences Cluster, the ‘Green Retrofitting’ forum gathered several regional experts who shared their insights with the delegates. The event was held at the Amwaj Rotana Hotel in Dubai.

Countering the misperception that retrofitting is a costly, laborious and hence a dispensable process in the backdrop of economically strained times, speakers at the event underlined that making a building green need not be expensive, and for every minor retrofit the returns on investment can be tangibly significant –  ecologically, economically and socially.

Buildings account for about 40 per cent of all energy consumed on Earth and making even small changes, or retrofitting, can reduce as much as 29 per cent of energy consumed by buildings at little or no cost, the experts pointed out, quoting the fourth assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“It cannot be sufficiently emphasised that retrofitting remains an attractive proposition even in a tough economic scenario, and ought to be seriously considered by owners and residents of all buildings, whether residential or commercial. Here is one activity where the return on investment is guaranteed to be significant in terms of saving maintenance costs and improving the living conditions for the tenants,” stated Ahmed Lootah, senior business development manager, Enpark.
 
Jagath Gunawardena, manager-Projects, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, spoke on ‘Is Greening an Existing Building Costly?’ The headquarters of Dubai Chamber on Dubai Creek was retrofitted way back in 1996 to become one of the first green buildings in the Arab world.

Gunawardena noted that methods such as capturing condensate to harvest water, a by-product in the air-conditioning process, installing smart CO2 sensors that regulate and maintain the ideal flow and quality of fresh air into buildings, optimising elevator design, and the installation of waterless toilets were some other ways his organisation had effectively implemented. Capturing condensate, he said, if practised by malls, airports and factories, would result in the recycling of substantial amounts of water. Changing the thermostat by one degree would impact an energy bill by nine per cent, he added.

Sougata Nandi, executive director of Asset Management and Sustainable Development for Tecom Business Parks Operations, spoke on ‘Making Green Retrofitting Work: A Developer’s Perspective.’ He said: “Making a building green is no more a technical challenge, but increasingly a leadership and commercial one, as we are required to provide an economic justification for doing the right thing.”

The ‘Green Buildings’ Green Brunch follows the first of the series themed 'Energy Efficiency' that was held by Enpark in July.  The third and the fourth events will discuss water and waste management.

The ‘Green Brunch’ series feature presentations and open debates to help raise awareness of new energy and environment-related technologies and solutions available in this market.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Construction | Dubai | Environment | Tecom | Enpark | green retrofitting | energy costs |

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