Dubai has announced plans to reduce energy use by 20% by 2020 and up to 30% by 2030. To ensure this happens they have set up a government initiative: The Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy. This follows a directive which was set up in 2008 by the Supreme Council of Energy and the Dubai Municipality called the Green Building Project with the intention to do just that.
With a global understanding that buildings use about 40% of all energy consumption it is little wonder that Dubai’s focus is on buildings both commercial and domestic for this greener energy programme.
The Assistant Director General for Engineering and Planning at Dubai Municipality, Abdulla Mohammad Rafia explained “To make the city green, you might as well go to the biggest consumer – the buildings, whether residential or commercial. They use 70% of the energy we produce in the Emirates.”
The Problems in Dubai
He’s not the only one who sees this opportunity as a real way forward to making the Emirates greener. Saeed Al Abbar who is chairman of the Emirates Green Building Council explains that an estimated 30,000 to 120,000 buildings in Dubai have the potential to make high energy savings.
As a new city, much of Dubai was built quickly before restrictions of any kind or building standards were in place which is why so many buildings need green retrofits.
The Ministry of Public Works and Dubai Supreme Council of Energy have recently published technical guidelines for retrofitting these existing buildings as an encouragement to the environmental upgrades necessary.
Etihad Energy Services, a subsidiary of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), hope to contract residential landlords within the next three years too. In the meantime the initial focus will be on government or part-owned government buildings. This will not only help to reduce their bills but also show them leading the way and setting an example.
It is no surprise that government owned properties are the first target as the green building project was set up seven years ago and became mandatory for all government buildings to adhere to the programme from 2011.
The big news is that all new buildings are now included in this ruling and will all be built energy-efficient.
The requirements for certification of a green building in Dubai means meeting 79 energy specified standards. No mean feat. Just a few of the standards to be included are using energy-efficient air conditioning, thermal insulation and solar water heaters.
Going back to Mr Rafia, he confirmed that the cost increase for a green building is a mere 5% but that there are other savings that could be made including reducing water consumption by 15% and carbon dioxide output by 20%. No bad thing considering the UEA has one of the largest carbon footprints in the world.
Retrofits Already Underway
A number of companies and organisations have pledged to make environmental changes which improve energy use particularly with regard to their real estate.
These companies include government bodies and commercial enterprises including Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai Civil Defense, DP World and the Wasl Asset Management Group.
Their pledges are agreements with Etihad Energy Services which already has two x 12 month projects underway for DEWA. These projects alone are worth $10m and there are further contracts for retrofits to 14 other buildings in the DIFC awaiting tenders.
So it is all looking good for UEA construction and engineering and should open up plenty of job opportunities in project management, quantity surveying and planning as well. One of the first projects is for DEWA’s headquarters in Bur Dubai plus six of their other buildings as well as two power stations in Jebel Ali and Rashidiya.
The DEWA HQ project is expected to see a 31% energy reduction and see the investment of AED16 million recouped within six years.
Retrofitting the power stations will achieve a 68% energy reduction once the lighting systems are upgraded. The investment for this is projected to cost AED21 million and is expected to be saved in 3.5 years.
The power station at Jebel Ali Free Zoned will retrofit 254 commercial buildings with energy-efficient chillers, lighting, piping, ventilation and more.
So despite a fluctuating market in UEA construction over the last few years, opportunities in construction, engineering and project management are looking good for the future. If this sounds good to you, why not take a look at the arising opportunities in the Dubai marketplace and upload your CV to this website so that we can match you to upcoming opportunities?
Director – Hong Kong & Middle East