Saving for the future

With the UAE aiming to meet its obligations under the Kyoto protocol ScitemTek's technical manager Jaleel Padiyath and marketing manager Dragana Symons explain how tightening up MEP services can make a difference.

Most of the buildings in the region consume more electrical energy than they actually need to, therefore, building owners spend more money towards their electrical bills than is necessary.

In one case a prestigious commercial property of 13,230m2 in Dubai was spending US $0.33 million (AED1.2 million) annually on its DEWA electric bills.

Twelve months after implementing a comprehensive energy conservation and management (ECM) programme on the electro-mechanical systems, the subsequent DEWA bills proved to the owner that only $208,820 per year is required to satisfy the building's electrical needs.

This property is continually achieving 36% savings.

In money terms, this is a substantial $117,750 recurring every year; in energy units, it is a saving of 2,162,500kWh.

Lastly, and very importantly, as an environmental benefit this property has reduced CO2 emissions by 1,080,000kg every year.

Now, how can you benefit from this information?

To evaluate any property�s energy efficiency, start with this formula:

Electrical consumption (kWh/m2/year) = total annual electrical energy consume (kWh/year)/total built-up area (m2)

The resulting figure can be compared against optimal efficiency performance benchmarks.

Scitemtek�s building benchmarks (below) are indicated as a range considering factors such as the variability in the type of air conditioning plant, total built-up area and age of the facility:

- residential: 140-180kWh/m2/year;

- commercial: 240-280 kWh/m2/year;

- shopping malls: 250-290 kWh/m2/year;

- supermarkets: 640-790 kWh/m2/year.

So, how can we achieve such efficiency benchmarks? ECM is a discipline that aligns the technical, financial, behavioural, operational and environmental dimensions of a facility to minimise the energy it consumes, by optimising the electro-mechanical systems components.

The most proven measures that may be implemented are:

- chiller plant optimisation;

- chilled water pumps optimisation;

- cooling tower fan optimisation;

- condenser water pump optimisation;

- demand controlled ventilation;

- free cooling;

- reduction of energy use in FAHU and exhaust fans;

- equipment operation scheduling;

- energy recovery systems;

- variable air volume systems;

- balancing of chilled water and airflow to match the actual usage and demand;

- lighting controls optimisation;

- interfacing of energy efficiency measures with a bms;

- bms modifications, reconfiguration, reprogramming and optimisation;

- remote monitoring and control of electro-mechanical systems.

A well-implemented ECM programme can typically achieve between 20% to 40% reduction in electrical bills, a payback period of under two years and return-on-investment (ROI) from 70% to 150%.

It must be noted that the utility rates will inevitably increase in reaction to the world oil/energy growing price, thereby enhancing the above financial benefits of implementing any ECM programme.

Encouragingly, a few energy saving companies (ESCO) in the UAE provide their services with the financial results guaranteed by a performance contract, thus creating a risk-free situation for the facility owner.

In addition, this guaranteed monetary benefit increases the building�s profitability, creating new, surplus funds for reinvestment.

Efficient chiller plant management further provides spare cooling capacity, which can be used for future expansions.

The life cycle of equipment is increased due to reduction in unnecessary operation and run-time, therefore the frequency and cost of maintenance is reduced.

In January 2005 the UAE became one of the 162 signatories that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

This is an agreement made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that is directly related to energy efficiency and a reduction in energy consumption, thus reducing greenhouse gases such as CO2 and other fossil fuel emissions, with an aim to combat global warming.

Countries that ratify this protocol commit to and are bound by a treaty to reduce their emission of greenhouse gases.

Efforts are already being made by controlling the new building standards, however a lot more can be done by focusing on the energy efficiency of existing facilities.

ECM is the most accessible solution to help the UAE to comply with its Kyoto Protocol obligations.

These solutions are readily available and are an affordable investment.

In many cases the money needed for this investment is self-funding from the achieved energy and financial savings.

There are other ways to help the environment and be energy efficient, but they are not always as easily accessible.

In light of everything said about ECM as a way to save energy, it is encouraging that some dedicated organisations, such as the Emirates Environmental Group and International Energy Group have established in the UAE.

These non-governmental organisations are active in promoting environmental issues and the use of alternative energy sources.

We believe that manufacturers, oil firms, building owners, facilities management firms and consultants should support the efforts and work of these important groups.

Looking at the bigger picture, only ECM offers a winning solution:

- for the facility owners, as they pay less towards their electricity bills;

- for the utility companies (DEWA) gaining the resulting unused energy capacity;

- for the regional and global environment, significantly reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and air pollution;

- for future generations, bestowing them their rightful share of energy!

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