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Laying waste to inefficiency

by CW Staff on Jun 8, 2012


Limitless installed a system in its chiller plant to use water as it is, without needing any chemicals, eliminating any hazardous material and increas
Limitless installed a system in its chiller plant to use water as it is, without needing any chemicals, eliminating any hazardous material and increas

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Waste management in the GCC region has long been an issue. It is one of the world’s largest per capita producers of waste, producing nearly 80 million tonnes of waste annually.

In the UAE, Abu Dhabi itself produces about 4.7 million tonnes of waste a year, which could increase to more than 30 million tonnes by 2030 if current production rates continue.

These statistics show the importance of an effective waste management strategy, and nowhere is this more crucial than in the buildings we live, work and shop in.

"Waste management is one of the biggest challenges that must be addressed by a fast-growing economy such as the UAE,” says Mahmood Rasheed, COO, Imdaad.

“Social and economic development naturally results in a surge in waste production, so it is crucially important to explore innovative and sustainable ways to reduce the level of waste in the society.”

Countries such as the UAE have seen a change in attitude over the past five years in green buildings, and Dubai has seen a number of sustainable initiatives introduced.

“In the past five years I’ve see people are talking about green, people are talking about sustainability, and recycling and the government plays a strong role in this by trying to educate people and make it easy for them or encouraging them to choose the green and efficient way of running projects,” explains Bahaa Abouhatab, head of projects, UAE, at Limitless.

Education paramount
Education and awareness are crucial to achieving sustainable buildings as the majority of decisions need to be made at the design stage.

“With things like a sewage treatment plant, that needs to be done at the design stage because you’re talking about infrastructure which is part and parcel of the building,” says Fergus Appleton, general manager, Concordia.

“If you don’t put that in at the beginning then it’s very challenging from a commercial point of view to retrospectively reengineer the building design. Some buildings do things like they collect water from AC and use that for irrigation for example, but unless you do that as part of the design stage it’s very difficult to go back and implement that cost effectively.”

However, other methods of making a building more sustainable and improving waste management can be retrofitted or introduced after construction is complete. “The actual disposal of the waste, most of that is done after the building is built,” says Appleton.

“You’ve got to educate your tenants but at the same time you’ve got to make sure that recycling is easy for them and they don’t have to bend over backwards to become part of the process. Generally people are quite lazy when it comes to that kind of stuff, you’ve got to make it easy for them,” he adds.

Concordia is the FM contractor on The Galleries project and has a diverse set of challenges in waste management. With the Galleries as a project, it’s mainly commercial but it’s also got some strong elements of retail and a quite diverse retail base – everything from shops to restaurants to banks,” says Appleton.

And with all of those they’ve got different outputs of waste. So we looked at all of the different customer bases and devised a process and a service to tackle all of those to try and recycle as much as we can but also to reduce the output as much as we can,” he adds.

Some buildings in Dubai focus on sustainability and a competent waste management system more than others. The flag ship building of Limitless, The Galleries, is one which has been labelled green.

“We tried to make our building as efficient as possible, the Galleries in particular. One thing we are focusing on is the STP, the sewage treatment plant. We have our own STP that generates enough water to use for irrigation. It’s not totally enough for irrigation but it does help us a lot in reducing our water bill,” reveals Abouhatab.

“That was a main achievement for us, to be green, to be efficient and to reduce costs,” he adds.

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