Industry is slammed for not thinking of long-term goals

Construction in the UAE is not being carried out with social responsibility towards energy efficiency and sustainability, according to Dr Abdalla Mohamed Al Amiri, associate professor, College of Engineering, UAE University.

The use of products such as incandescent light bulbs has an adverse effect on the energy efficiency of buildings in the long term.
The use of products such as incandescent light bulbs has an adverse effect on the energy efficiency of buildings in the long term.

Construction in the UAE is not being carried out with social responsibility towards energy efficiency and sustainability, according to Dr Abdalla Mohamed Al Amiri, associate professor, College of Engineering, UAE University.

Amiri is also chairman of the Emirates Energy Awards, which will be held in September this year under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai.

Speaking to Construction Week, Amiri said: "Energy efficient construction will only take precedence once the authorities begin to enforce it seriously, where contractors and consultants are given strict guidelines and are monitored closely for the use of irresponsible energy consumption methods and products, with fines for those who don't comply."

Al Amiri added that one of the biggest reasons for poor energy efficiency in the region is because of the attitude of investors who build for the short term instead of the long term.

"The investment is capital intensive. People just want to make their money quickly and leave. A company would sooner use a product that is cheaper and less energy efficient than one that would cost more but is less harmful to the environment. Incandescent light bulbs and window air conditioners are among the most harmful examples of these products."

But some industry experts believe that the initiative for such changes has to come from the top.

"It's the master developers who have to bring in this sort of practice," said Matt Plumbridge, project manager, Dubai Waterfront. "They have to insist on the use of district cooling on all their projects. Nakheel, for example, has implemented this on most of its projects very successfully and anyone working on its projects has to follow this."

Banishing all claims that contractors are to blame when buildings are not energy efficient, Ani Ray, country director, Simplex Infrastructures, said: "Contractors have the least to do with design and selecting energy efficient products and methods. We just implement what has been decided. Ideally, the standards need to be set by the master developers and the concerned government authorities."

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