Al Naboodah drives environmental sustainability on multiple fronts

Al Naboodah Group Enterprises’s head of HSE, Robert Munn, discusses the wide-ranging initiatives being undertaken by the group in its efforts to drive environmental responsibility

A rooftop solar installation at a light industrial facility (for illustrative purposes only).
A rooftop solar installation at a light industrial facility (for illustrative purposes only).

Following the release by Al Naboodah Group Enterprises (ANGE) of its 2016 sustainability report, the head of HSE discusses the wide-ranging efforts of the group to drive environmental responsibility – from the replacement of conventional bulbs and generators to a build-up in solar energy capacity.

Rob Munn, GM for safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) at ANGE, explains: “We are marking have a big push on sustainable consumption, for water, energy and waste.

“We have tower lights that are solar powered now, and solar powered lighting on our traffic diversions. We have changed a lot of the lightbulbs and seen a 44% reduction in their energy use this year: we had set a target of a 3.5% to 5% reduction, but we’ve smashed that.”

The group is also making efforts to transition its primary and temporary power generation to greener alternatives, including through installation of photovoltaic solar cells over the rooftops and car parking areas at ANGE facilities.

Munn highlights: “With the Shams initiative, we can sell energy back to the grid, so in five years, the installations will all be paid for, and we’ll actually be making money and not paying for any of our bills.”

In terms of the group’s temporary and on-site power, the group is also increasingly its use of hybrid generators, with Munn pointing to the longer lifespans of the hybrid units  estimating that they might last for five to seven years, versus perhaps two years for a conventional diesel unit.

He adds: “All of it comes down to that cost-benefit analysis, and that’s part of my job, and to sell it upstairs. So will it benefit us? Yes, obviously it will from an environmental point of view. Yes, it’s the right thing to do. And yes, there is actually financial gain there – in the long term.

“Of course there’s investment, but that’s the same with anything – and that’s ok as long as we can show that over a period of time this will actually save us money, will improve our performance, and will help us in our goals from an environmental perspective.”

In related news, in October 2016, ALEC Energy was awarded the contract to develop a 6.8MW solar power installation with 70,000m2 of pannelling across the rooftop and car parking areas of the under-construction body and paint shop of Al Nabooda Automobiles.

Al Nabooda Automobiles is owned by the unrelated Khalifa Juma Al Nabooda Group of Companies, which is responsible for the distribution of Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen.

ALEC will install a total of 25,000 solar panels at the site – capable of produce approximately 10 million units of electrical energy per annum, and offsetting around 5,300 tonnes of CO2 a year, or the equivalent to the emissions of 1,600 passenger cars.

The installation will meet 70% of the energy required by the facility for the next 25 years, and will be connected to Dubai electrical grid once completed to feed energy back at times of low demand.

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