'Green gold' lurks in future retrofit buildings

RetrofitTech 2016 will boost momentum after success of inaugural conference

DEWA is ahead of the retrofit curve with its eye on 30,000 buildings by 2030
DEWA is ahead of the retrofit curve with its eye on 30,000 buildings by 2030

Following the success of the inaugural RetrofitTech conference held in March in Dubai, conference organisers Advanced Conferences and Meetings (ACM) has announced it will stage the event again on 14-15 March next year.

The recent event saw more than 200 public and private sector delegates gather for the first time to share wisdom on what is likely to become a hot topic in the Gulf as many buildings reach the end of their natural lives and require complete retrofitting or replacement.

Holley Chant, Executive Director, Corporate Sustainability at KEO International Consultants, told delegates: “There is green gold to be mined in existing buildings, and this green gold can benefit each and every one of us across the planet, people, profit spectrum.”

“I am very pleased about all the attention that is now being focused on potential sustainability gains in existing buildings. For the past 10 years or so the majority of the sustainability efforts in the GCC were focused on new build construction rather than existing buildings. Yet the opportunities for energy and water savings are actually huge in existing buildings as well as opportunities for enhancing public health.” 

Chant said there were “many significant reasons that we need to address every possible way to achieve a more sustainable built environment such as existing buildings”.

She added: “Now that some utilities companies in the region are reducing energy and water subsidies and raising tariffs, building operators will become more interested in how a green retrofit can positively impact their bottom line. Consideration of the MEP system will be first and foremost in any energy audit/ retrofit action plan for optimisation. Of course re-commissioning and retro-commissioning will critical tools to maximise returns on investment as part of the retrofit.”

Speakers at the RetrofitTech 2015 conference included: Faisal Ali Hassan Rashid, director, demand side management, Supreme Council of Energy; Stephane Le Gentil, CEO, Etihad Energy Services; James Grinnell, head of water, regulation and supervisory bureau for electricity and water; Khaled Bushnaq, chief executive officer, Energy Management Services; Saeed Al Abbar, chairman, Emirates Green Building Council; and Jagath Gunawardena, senior manager of projects and building development, Dubai Chamber of Commerce.

The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy strategy aims to position Dubai as a model for safe and effective energy use and retrofitting an initial target of 30,000 buildings with green technologies in the first phase at an estimated cost of at $544.5m.

The strategy covers eight specific areas of opportunity for achieving significant reductions in electricity and water demand across Dubai.


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