Look back to move forwards

The move towards a greater uptake of sustainable and green building techniques in the Middle East is getting continuously stronger.

COMMENT, MEP

The move towards a greater uptake of sustainable and green building techniques in the Middle East is getting continuously stronger. With every passing month the region's news is filled with announcements of future buildings that are being designed to international standards such as the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. But while this is all positive news, the question must be asked: what of the existing building stock?

The number of buildings that were completed throughout the region long before the topics of energy efficiency and sustainability became popular vastly outnumbers those green buildings that have been built since. And before the region can truly be lauded as aiming for a sustainable future, the systems in these must be reviewed and their energy and water consumption tackled. For what is the point of building one very energy efficient building in a city if there are ten more on the same street haemorrhaging power and water resources?

It is admittedly more difficult to adapt MEP systems after they are in place than during the design stage - but it is possible. There are a multitude of processes and technologies that can be applied to existing buildings to ensure that water and electricity is used efficiently and effectively during operation.

Selecting the right solution for each individual building is key to maximising efficiency and as our guest columnist Dr Afshin Afshari explains, several methods exist that can assist such successful changes. By carrying out an energy audit on existing operations it is possible to identify any inefficiencies in a MEP system design, enabling improvements to be made and, crucially, measured.

Not all existing buildings have been forgotten; moves are being made by some building owners to improve their operations, as our two case studies this month illustrate. The changes made at the Dubai Chamber and Grand Hyatt Dubai have tackled the issue in two very different ways, but the results are the same: massive reductions in both electricity and water usage are already being achieved at both buildings.

The management and engineers responsible for suggesting and implementing these changes are to be applauded. But perhaps the best reward for them would be if others were to follow their lead. After all, imitation is the best form of flattery.

Thanks to all who took part in the recent MEP Middle East readership survey. The results have now been compiled, with some highlights given below. MEP Middle East has also now been independently audited by BPA Worldwide, a not-for-profit organisation governed by a tripartite board comprising media owners, advertising agencies and advertisers. BPA confirms that the magazine is reaching the top people within the region's MEP sector.

See www.bpaww.com for more details.

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