The fledgling green building movement in Dubai got a shot in the arm when the Dubai Supreme Energy Council recently announced that green buildings will be mandatory in the private and public sectors from 2014 onwards, in the case of new construction. All private sector developers will be required to comply with Dubai Green building codes from 2014.
The next step, of course, is to include existing buildings in the purview, and as and when that happens, Dubai would begin taking firm steps towards green coronation.
Existing buildings lavishly dot the landscape, and a vast majority among them leak energy, the bulk of which is consumed by the running of HVAC systems. Shortcomings in design and installation of HVAC equipment, and also the selection, have proved to be the bane of energy-conservation efforts. Broadly, the lack of a commissioning culture has impacted the energy performance of buildings. Even in recently constructed buildings, scant attention has been paid to integrating all the features, so that they may “sing” in harmony. Oftentimes, though a BMS is in place, it is made redundant by the fact that it has not even been connected to orchestrate a building’s performance.
That aside, maintenance schedules have been the subject of a cavalier approach, and it is no secret that maintenance – be it the cleaning of filters or the plugging of leaks in the ducting system – brings energy bills down.
Apart from the conventional measures of saving energy, existing building owners ought to pay attention to incorporating other features, be they directly related to HVAC, such as VFDs, or indirectly related, such as LED lighting or heat-reflecting paint. Yes, there is cost associated with adopting these features, but as many in the industry have been saying ad nauseam, the long-term savings justify the expenses. Any reluctance by building owners, despite the obvious benefits, can be overcome by authority insistence, and that is where bringing existing buildings under the green purview will work wonders and slash the kilowatts that buildings consume.
We have discussed some of the above points in this issue of the magazine. That said, the issue has been dominated by the topic of refrigerants, coming as it does in the heels of Refrigerants Review, an event that hearteningly enough, drew governments, implementation bodies, manufacturers and end-users to deliberate on ozone action and climate change. And what a riveting discussion it was!
I hope you enjoy the coverage.
- B Surendar