The Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy set out plans to reduce energy demand across the emirate by 30 percent by 2030
Arabian Business Staff
Several government-backed entities in Dubai have signed contracts worth around $20 million to make environmental improvements to their real estate portfolios.
They include Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai Civil Defense, DP World and Wasl Asset Management Group.
Each has struck a deal with Etihad Energy Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), which was set up two years ago with the aim of retrofitting buildings to make them energy efficient.
Dubai last year published the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy, which sets out plans to reduce energy demand across the emirate by 30 percent by 2030.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that buildings use about 40 percent of global energy, so ‘greening’ buildings is a crucial part of any country’s energy-saving strategy.
Stephane Le Gentil, chief executive of Etihad Energy Services, told Arabian Business that the company is on site with two year-long projects for DEWA totalling $10 million and further contracts to retrofit all 14 buildings in the DIFC, and selected properties on behalf of the aforementioned other entities.
Agreements have been signed and tenders are being organised with projects due to start from 2016, he said.
Of the projects already on site, the first involves retrofitting seven DEWA buildings including its headquarters in Bur Dubai and two power stations in Jebel Ali and Rashidiya. The HQ project targets a 31 percent energy reduction with AED16 million of investment, expected to be recouped in cost savings within six years.
The power stations retrofit involves upgrading lighting systems to achieve a 68 percent energy reduction, costing AED21 million with a three-and-a-half-year payback.
The other project involves retrofitting all 254 commercial buildings in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, owned by DP World, with energy-efficient chillers, lighting, piping, ventilation and other systems.
According to Saeed Al Abbar, chairman of the Emirates Green Building Council, an estimated 30,000 of the 120,000 buildings in Dubai have high energy saving potential and the government is seeking to maximise that.
“Dubai is a new city that grew quickly,” he said. “Many of the first buildings were constructed long before building codes [setting out minimum energy performance standards] were introduced, which means they are not as efficient as they could be and pose challenges in terms of energy reduction.”
To encourage investment in environmental upgrades, the Ministry of Public Works and Dubai Supreme Council of Energy last month published technical guidelines for retrofitting existing buildings.
And within the next three years, Etihad Energy Services will seek to contract with residential landlords as public interest grows, but Le Gentil said the short term goal is to focus on government- and part-government-owned buildings as they are keen to reduce their bills and lead by example.
The UAE has one of the largest carbon footprints in the world and has set itself ambitious targets to become more environmentally sustainable.