Empower wins two golds at IDEA 2022
DUBAI, UAE, 15 June 2022: Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) won two gold awards at the International District Energy Association (IDEA) Annual Conference 2022, which took place from June 6 to 9 in Toronto, Canada, the District Cooling company said.
Making the announcement today, Empower said its winning the two gold awards – for the categories, ‘Number of Buildings Committed’ and ‘Total Building Area Committed’ in IDEA 2022 – is the eighth of its kind, as the company has won the same awards in the years 2005, 2007, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021. In addition, it has received various other awards from IDEA – numbering 17 – in other categories, Empower said. Moreover, the company said, it has been honoured with many other awards and titles from various conferences and exhibitions around the world, in recognition of its distinguished achievements in developing the District Cooling industry, worldwide, as the world’s largest District Cooling services provider.
Empower said its winning represents a renewed international recognition of the company’s efforts to promote the District Cooling concept worldwide, and to encourage decision-makers to adopt this environmentally friendly cooling solution and apply the best integrated green practices.
Speaking on the occasion of winning the awards, Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO, Empower, said: “The winning of these two global awards reinforces the company’s international recognitions by the global industry leaders for the pioneering and pivotal role that Empower plays in innovating the highest practices in this vital industry, both in terms of optimising energy consumption and cost or in protecting resources and the environment. It also honors our continuous efforts in spreading the culture of District Cooling systems, and appreciates our unremitting endeavors and constant quest to employ the techniques of the 4th revolution in production, control, distribution and customer service operations, in a way that enhances the District Cooling sector worldwide.”
Bin Shafar explained that the awards are the fruits of government policies that support the expansion of the District Cooling sector to put Dubai on the map of global cities in District Cooling. “Empower,” he said, “is proceeding towards achieving many advancements in District Cooling systems in pursuit of its mission to bring an added value at national and global levels.”
Bin Shafar CEO indicated that the company would keep developing its District Cooling systems to a level that surpasses international standards, in order to provide high-quality services in response to the large and increasing demand for District Cooling for a variety of projects in different fields, in line with the strategic direction of the Emirate of Dubai. “The IDEA 2022 and the agenda it tackled, including the trends of the reality and future of the energy industry and its technologies, contribute to strengthening international efforts to shape a more flexible and effective humane future that is also less exposed to carbon emissions,” he said.
Empower said that last week, Bin Shafar was appointed as a member to the Board of Directors of IDEA for the fourth time in a row, making him the first Emirati Arab to hold such a prestigious position in US-based IDEA, which is an international non-profit organization, for over a decade.
THE GREAT DEBATE
DUBAI, UAE, 27 April 2022: CPI Industry, publishers of Climate Control Middle East magazine, will be hosting ‘The Great Debate: CHW vs VRF systems’. The second edition of the event, to be held on May 30 in Dubai, has captured the imagination of the industry and stoked excitement with its unique, courtroom-styled setting and format.
The first edition, held in 2011, at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi, was a novelty, replete with judge, jury, witness box and fiery advocates arguing with passion and interrogating at will to ascertain the best possible system, all things considered, to deliver affordable, efficient, resource-friendly, safe and reliable comfort cooling in the GCC region.
The Great Debate: CHW vs VRF systems is a revival of the 2011 setting, at a time when proponents of chilled water systems and variable refrigerant flow systems claim to have made substantial progress and achieved greater market penetration. Does the argument, ‘horses for courses’ hold true, or are we missing a point that holds the key to safe, sustainable, affordable and reliable air conditioning?
A key question that probably would settle the swirling dust surrounding chilled water systems and variable refrigerant flow systems is, ‘Where is the data?’ The Great Debate is an attempt at arriving at clarity, at a time when the world is desperately seeking solutions to lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduce total cost of ownership and to strengthen Indoor Air Quality interventions.
Whilst The Great Debate will feature technical presentations, the centrepiece of the event will be the unique courtroom setting, post-lunch, designed to host a no-holds-barred discussion on chilled water and variable refrigerant flow systems, with the aim of arriving at clarity on performance data on energy use, reliability, affordability and health & safety, amongst other topics, when the systems are deployed across multiple building profiles.
The conference will feature all the typical furniture and props of a courtroom, with stakeholders assuming the roles of judge, jury, advocates, witnesses (developers, building owners and building owner associations) and courtroom onlookers. The conference will summon proponents and consumers of both approaches to take to the witness box for cross-examination, with ample scope to present their side of the argument, with the aid of audio-visual presentations and any other means they may choose to build a strong case.
“The conference is not an attempt at gimmickry but a serious and earnest exercise to highlight facts with unprecedented clarity,” said Surendar Balakrishnan, Co-Founder & Editorial Director, CPI Industry. “It is expected that the coming together of master developers, developers, building owner associations, consultants, contractors, manufacturers, distributors and sectoral end-users in healthcare, hospitality, aviation, education and malls in a unique courtroom setting would prompt greater insight, leading to lowering of total cost of ownership and greenhouse gas emissions and to improving Indoor Air Quality.”
Key talking points in the courtroom session include:
- Energy efficiency in multiple building types/energy consumption on an annualised basis; M&V; onsite data harvesting and analysis
- Sources of energy: Natural Gas, hydrogen, Renewable Energy
- Water-use optimisation in multiple building types
- O&M issues (streamlined maintenance protocols)
- Refrigerants and occupant safety
- Cooling towers and human health
- Environmental impact (atmosphere, soil, water); net-zero-building aspirations
- Comfort cooling: reliability of cooling (last-mile guarantee), zoned cooling and heating, simultaneous cooling and heating
- Cost of installation, broad capex considerations
- Total cost of ownership
- Aftermarket service – including installation training, mentorship, support, supervision, spare parts – provided as a standard business practice by all manufacturers and suppliers
- Need for an international standard that provides standardised technical detail for minimum expected performance
- Regulation: MEPS and their impact on governing the performance of HVAC equipment and their interaction with other building assets in ensuring better building performance
- Smart cities and digital intervention
– ENDS –
For more details, contact:
Strategic Public Affairs Liaison & Events Manager, CPI Industry
M: +971 50 55 22 461
Belimo launches EV4
DUBAI, UAE, 20 October 2021: Belimo launched the EV4, an integrated thermal energy management solution, with the objectives of measuring energy, controlling the power and managing Delta T.
The new solution makes meter integration easier, the company said. It provides the facility for parallel operation, where it is possible to connect BACnet and M-Bus networks, the company said, adding that it equally provides the facility for direct integration, wherein no intermediary software is required. It can measure and control power and manage Delta T, ensure high quality metering and enabled billing, it said, adding that the EV4 also ensures digitally supported workflows for the entire product lifecycle.
The EV4 has a clever design, Belimo said. It provides ease of re-calibration and also helps establish data transparency, it added.
According to Belimo, the EV4 provides a whole range of features for building owners, including traceable verification and logging of billing-relevant data; easy and open data access, which provides flexibility when choosing the service provider for cost accounting; low commissioning and operating costs, which translate to optimum investment protection; and future-proof and full transparency, thanks to direct Internet connection.
It also provides energy-efficient system operation and stable Delta T, the company claimed, adding that this leads to minimisation of temperature surcharges from the district cooling providers.
According to Belimo, the EV4 provides a wide range of features for consulting engineers, as well, including the facility of reduced effort and time saving, owing to optimally coordinated all-in-one solutions; reduced planning effort and time savings through simple valve design; traceable verification and logging, which paves way for a true commissioning report; automatic hydronic balancing during operation at any load conditions; easy adaptations to power changes; and simple, fast and remote customisation, in case of any design changes.
APUEA to host District Energy awards
BANGKOK, Thailand, 19 May 2021: The organisers of the 7th Global District Energy Climate Awards have invited submission of entries. Making the announcement through a Press release, they added that the deadline for receiving entries is June 30.
The Awards ceremony, to be hosted by the Asia Pacific Urban Energy Association, will take place on November 11 and 12 in Bangkok. The Awards has six categories to choose from, including New Scheme, Modernisation, Expansion, Emerging Market, District Energy in Developing Countries and Out-of-the-Box. According to the organisers, the entries will be judged by a panel of highly respected professionals.
Dr Robin Wiltshire, Chairman of the Evaluation Panel, said: “We believe that recognising excellence is vital to raising standards, aiding progression in industries and increasing awareness. Just as importantly, it boosts both morale and innovation. This is the spirit behind our upcoming Global District Energy Climate Awards. The awards are a no-fee initiative designed for the sole purpose of recognising the very best of District Energy projects, schemes and initiatives.”
Empower signs contract to supply 30,000 RT of district cooling to wasl1 development
DUBAI, UAE, 26 January 2021: Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower), announced that it has signed an agreement with Dubai-based Wasl Asset Management Group, one of the largest real estate development and management companies in Dubai, to supply its mixed-use development, wasl1, with 30,000 Refrigeration Tons of district cooling.
Currently being carried out in several phases, the project is located in proximity to Dubai’s arterial Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Jafiliya Metro Station, with views of Zabeel Park. wasl1 will eventually feature 13 residential towers, of which the first phase, Park Gate Residences – comprising four towers and consisting of 746 residential units – has been completed and handed over. wasl1 will also include a range of entertainment facilities, children’s play areas, fully equipped gymnasiums, a multi-purpose hall, and a number of retail stores, restaurants and cafes.
In his comments, H.E. Hesham Al Qassim, CEO, Wasl Asset Management Group, said: “We chose Empower based on its tremendous capabilities in providing district cooling services, and we believe that its efficacy will contribute to strengthening the distinctive wasl1 project. The company’s advanced technologies support our mandate to contribute to the sustainable development of the emirate, while also ensuring the provision of the best cooling services to tenants, effectively enhancing the unique characteristics of wasl1 as a luxury residential project.”
According to Empower, providing a project of such magnitude with green district cooling services has prompted the corporation to direct AED 210 million in investments to finance the construction of seven energy transmission and storage stations (ETS), and to connect the project to the new district cooling plant that is currently underway in the Zabeel area. This, Empower said, would require the building of a subway under Sheikh Zayed Road, in addition to the expansion of the district cooling network.
Empower also said that the wasl1 project will be provided with district cooling services in a number of phases. By mid-2021, the first phase is expected to be completed, which would enable it to provide 3,351 RT of cooling and up to the total capacity of 30,000 RT – equivalent to half of the production of the new Zabeel plant, Empower said. Subsequently, the district cooling plant in the Dubai Financial Centre, currently under operation, will be connected to the new Zabeel plant, with a total load of 112,000 RT, Empower added. This comes in the framework of a proactive plan it has established to meet the needs of the existing as well as of the upcoming mega development projects launched in this vital area of Dubai, Empower further added.
Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO, Empower, said: “We are working hard to serve the pioneering real estate projects, and we aim to provide all residential, commercial and entertainment facilities and sectors in the emirate of Dubai with district cooling services of sustainable international standards. This emphasizes the pioneering role Dubai plays with regards to reducing carbon emissions, which comes in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, may God protect him.”
Bin Shafar pointed out that adding the wasl1 project to Empower’s portfolio reflects the confidence real estate developers and dealers have in the reliable services it provides. He added that the association with the project also enhances its role in providing more quality cooling services with 50% less energy consumption, compared to the currently used traditional refrigeration services.
Empower reveals AED 901 million net profit in 2020
According to Empower, performance in a nutshell
- Total cooling capacity crossed 1,640,000 RT, maintaining the position of the largest district cooling provider in the world
- Over 140,000 customers
- Total energy saving AED 3.4 billion in 2020
- A total of 350.474 kilometres of district cooling networks
DUBAI, UAE, 20 January 2020: Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) reported a net profit of AED 901 million, with a total revenue of AED 2.26 billion in 2020. Making the announcement through a Press release, Empower said its revenues grew by three per cent, with a net profit increase of 3.4% year-over-year (YoY). Empower added that the performance has been commendable, given the difficult economic conditions resulting from the global pandemic.
Commenting on Empower’s financial results at the annual press conference, Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO, Empower, said: “2020 has been another successful year for Empower, with growth in its financial as well as operational performance, which is clearly evident from increase in revenues and net profit, additions in the number of district cooling plants, expansion of district cooling pipeline network, increase in customer base and the number of buildings connected with our district cooling services.”
According to Empower, the number of buildings it provides with its district cooling services exceeded 1,252, and the customer base has reached more than 140,000. The total cooling capacity has reached 1,640,000 Refrigeration Tons (RT) during 2020 that covered various projects, such as Deira Waterfront, Blue Waters, Jumeirah Group, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai International Financial Centre, Business Bay, Dubai Healthcare City, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Palm Jumeirah, Discovery Gardens, Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai Design District and International Media Production Zone, amongst others, the utility said.
“Empower has also saved a total of 1,312 MW of electricity worth AED 3.4 billion, as of the end of 2020,” Bin Shafar said.
On the sidelines of the press conference, Bin Shafar also said: “We are proud of our achievements in terms of increased number of district cooling plants that has reached 84 plants across Dubai, including the world’s first unmanned district cooling plant in Jumeirah Village Circle project, along with having the largest district cooling network.
“Empower is committed towards efficient utilization of energy resources and supporting its customers and real estate developers, by providing high-quality and eco-friendly district cooling services.”
Bin Shafar also stated that Empower had reduced its fuel surcharge rates by approximately 25%, effective December 1, 2020, in line with the initiative of the Dubai’s Supreme Council of Energy.
He added: “We will continue our endeavors in 2021 to increase the number of district cooling plants and expand our district cooling network across Dubai.”
‘The UAE leadership has a view of the future – and it is not just tomorrow’
Congratulations on your appointment as Denmark’s Climate Ambassador. Could you speak on the potential areas of cooperation between the UAE and Denmark?
I think it’s remarkable the far-sighted leadership the UAE has taken as an oil- and gas-producing country. The leaders have a view of the future – and the future that is not just tomorrow, not just five or 10 years, but they are thinking ahead to 20 or 50 years from now.
We are talking about the major transformation of energy systems. The largest solar farms in the world are in the UAE, and a lot of investment is being done in this area. The country is taking energy efficiency in buildings seriously and addressing the challenge of having had, years ago, the highest carbon footprint per inhabitant.
In that sense, cooperation between the UAE and Denmark on energy and other topics related to food and maritime issues makes imminent sense. We are the country in the EU with the largest oil -production. We have oil and gas in the North Sea. But we are slowly ending our exploration of that oil and gas, and in December 2020, the Danish Parliament decided to end fossil extraction in the North Sea by 2050 with a plan for the just transition of impacted workers and a conversion of the oil and gas fields to Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS)].
There is also a huge market for renewable energy, globally, as this transformation [can be seen] worldwide. In Denmark, we are building better and taller wind farms and offshore wind farms, including over the next two years in two new energy islands. As a result, there has been global interest surrounding Danish windfarm operators and wind constructors, many of whom are now in demand in a number of countries such as the US, Korea and Australia.
Could you speak more about the competitive advantage that countries such as the UAE can have from specialising in sustainable cooling solutions, both in terms of developing the expertise within the country and in terms of pioneering solutions? Do you see this to be a growing market?
The world is undergoing an energy transformation, and the UAE is also very well positioned to be part of it and, in some instances, to lead this transformation. As such, a partnership with a country like Denmark makes great sense.
When it comes to the development of cities, it’s clear that if you look at trends as a whole, [the population] is moving from the countryside to cities at an increased rate. I think the latest figures from UN Habitat and other global organisations is that almost half of the human population lives in cities. We have been going from 30-40% of the population to half, and the trajectory is pointing towards a world where most of the people are in cities.
There have been large movements in the Global South. In China, you have more than 70 cities with more than one million inhabitants, and many are newly constructed with poor quality of buildings that need to be retrofitted and rebuilt. In India, you have a growing middle-class population, and this has led to growth of new buildings in new cities or more modern buildings in new parts of the city. The same trend can be seen in the Gulf region. For a very long time, Dubai was home to most of the cranes in the world. In Africa, large cities that are already big, continue to grow. In Indonesia, we see a population in the process of moving Jakarta to a new island, because it is sinking.
Basically, in many places, the built-environment is not a done deal. We are at the beginning, not at the end. It’s only in older industrial countries in the West that the city structure is permanent. I would think the opportunities for both new buildings and retrofitting are very large, especially in warmer climates, where expertise is needed in challenging environments.
For us, in Denmark, it’s more about reverse engineering our experience with energy efficiency and insulation, and usinge and applying them in the UAE. Also, there would be solutions we need to develop from scratch, based on the circumstances and the physical environment.
It’s clear that cooling also has some attributes different from heating. [In Denmark], some companies are experimenting with district cooling, but most are district heating, with a lot of combined power and heat plants. Also, some of them are doing this with garbage waste disposal and heat and power. With the more recent climate law, because of the move towards circular economy, we are now looking at recycling and reusing our waste rather than incinerating it.
What can further drive the development of expertise and solutions in the sustainability arena in a country?
A combination of energy pricing and embedding efficiency in building codes and regulation by central and local governments are key here. The building owner and operator might not be interested in building more efficiently because of the perceived cost, and they will try to defer the cost onto the tenants. That means rent goes up, bills go up, and they are not too happy either. That’s always a question for the less well off, that’s also the question of the fair and equitable distribution of the cost and benefit, [[when it comes to implementing sustainable solutions.].
In Denmark, people have been investing in energy efficiency because of energy cost and due to strict regulation since the 1970’s. Because of the cost of energy, there are huge paybacks at a shorter time.
In what ways can the public sector in the GCC region incentivise sustainability initiatives in the built-environment, both in terms of introducing retrofit targets and also ensuring new buildings adhere to higher energy- efficiency goals?
For one, I would say that educating the general public is extremely important, in terms of the cost, economy, sustainability and potential social benefits.
The very practical education of engineers and economists, integrating energy efficiency into curricula in the built-environment, so that you have your own skilled engineers and technicians ¨to operate systems, do the buildings and learn from it. It is a mentality and way of thinking. We have done it for the last 50 or more years; we didn’t do it before that. It took us a long time and heavy regulation, strong incentives and a lot of private discussion among government and private sector and institutions of higher education to get that sector to operate in an efficient and integrated way. I would encourage public policy makers to think through different dimensions of how to establish a cluster of knowledge and expertise. The young students of today will be the leaders of tomorrow, and they have to make it work 10-15 years down the road.
Climate change and the larger picture of finances
Q&A: James Brainard, Mayor of Carmel, Indiana, United States
We have succeeded admirably in our fight against the depletion of the ozone layer through collective effort, through a cohesive, consensus-based approach of finding economically and technically sound alternatives to ozone-depleting refrigerants. How much confidence do you take from what has been a marvellous example of social cooperation?
We did the summit in the form of the Montreal Protocol over concerns of huge spike in cancer deaths, so it was a great example of world leaders coming together to study a problem, devise a solution and then go back to their countries to fix the problem. It shows diplomacy and recognition of common challenges can be good.
In the same way, could we not find a financially feasible, well-structured long-term plan to curb the widespread misuse of energy and general profligacy through steady and substantial investment in the infrastructure needed to achieve the goal?
You have identified the problem in the question, and we have to find the means of accomplishing this. We have to look at the larger picture of finances – the health impact of pollution; the cost of famines; the cost of relocation, if we have a rise in sea level, leading to the displacement of people from major cities; and the cost of possible conflicts arising out of this. But more specifically, we need to recognize many jobs are dependent on the fossil fuel industry. So, we can make those changes, but we have to recognize that we need to look out for investment of industry, we still need to fly airplanes. But, we have a saying in the US, ‘low- hanging fruit’. So, there are many easy things we can do to clean the environment and reduce fossil fuel use, and those are what we can focus on with recognising that we have to protect people’s jobs in the fossil fuel industry and that many are invested in the fossil fuel industry.
Would an approach of self-financing the fight against global warming by developing an energy budget in every city, town, state and country across the world be a possible way out, as propounded by George Berbari, the CEO of DC Pro Engineering? I am referring to a structured, long-term carrot-and-stick approach, where individuals and organisations occupying residential and commercial buildings could be rewarded for being energy efficient and penalised for being inefficient, with the penalty being slightly higher than the reward to create a positive budget, a surplus, which could be used for giving rebates to homeowners for improving insulation, glazing, etc., for developing infrastructure to lower primary energy use, for building thermal energy networks, even District Energy schemes… anything that would effectively fight climate change.
I think it would help. The colloquial shotgun approach, where we undertake to do a lot of small things. I think your idea of financial incentives and disincentives is good; and tied to that what needs to happen is disincentives need to increase over time and incentives need to go up and come down. It is certainly a system we need today. You could still pass laws, where each year, the incentives and disincentives change, to encourage disincentives to go up and incentives to go away. The tax system is also there. Or, it could be a separate tax, a carbon tax, and it has been discussed here since the late 1980s.
Economists believe such an approach to conserving primary energy is feasible, but democratically elected local and federal government leaders and local mayors have limited terms and, generally speaking, give priority to short-term problems, the solving of which gives them immediate political benefits, as opposed to decades-long and daunting task of curbing energy use through a financial mechanism and other initiatives, which might also be viewed by the city’s inhabitants that make the electorate, as adding to existing costs and impairing their personal and corporate competitiveness. In your case, you are one of the longest-serving mayors in the state, having been in office since 1996 over seven consecutive terms. Did that give you a canvas to paint a long-term vision? How effective was the approach? Did it help you shape regulation and enforcement at a city level? Were you able to raise greater awareness on the human impact on climate change and bring about a consensus-based change in energy use behaviour in Carmel?
We are a suburb of Indianapolis, which has a population of two million people. We are 100,000 people in Carmel. Now, places like Dubai and Doha require automobiles, owing to the urban sprawl. Generally, we need the automobile to go anywhere. We have looked at the problem and have a series of PPPs, where one can live, work, go to restaurant and engage in recreational activities without having to get into an automobile and, as a result, lower the consumption of fuel.
The average American spends two hours a day in automobiles, but in Carmel, businesses, houses, schools are all here. We have adopted land use development differently, so people can live, work and go to a restaurant all in the same area, and we tried to design our downtown not for automobiles, and it has cut down fuel use. In Carmel, it is 15 minutes to half an hour of automobile use per person, so it is much, much less [than the national average].
We have a legal structure in the state of Indiana that makes decisions on building codes, and they have done less than what I would like to see, but we have contract to have a much more efficient build. We have the example of the Energy Center in Carmel. We have cold winters and hot summers in Carmel, and we are using energy all year long to either heat or cool our buildings. And if you have an individual heating or cooling system, it starts and stops and is energy inefficient. And so, we have developed the Energy Center in the city, and it uses 50% less energy. And we would like to see this being applied across the city.
If energy is scarce and its excessive use damaging to the environment, should people be allowed to consume as much as they want to, as long as they are paying for it? Should affordability be a sole factor? Could we change that mindset and, at the same time, take care not to infringe on personal freedom and quality of life?
I have thought about it, and I believe in a capitalistic and free market approach. And there is a way to fix it, which is you pay USD 10, say, for 100 units of use, USD 15 for the next 100 units, and USD 20 for the next 100 units. And so the more you use, the higher the price. And it is a good system, because it penalizes the people to use it, and at the same time, they have the freedom to use it. In the case of steel production, maybe that may be very important for the economy and jobs, and so there should be a different model. You have to look at the situation where we can improve the environment, decrease carbon and increase quality of life.
Have you established a carbon neutrality goal for Carmel, like Copenhagen, for instance, where we are seeing a consensus-based approach involving all political parties, underpinned by the thought process that environmental action needs to be bipartisan in nature? Or are the political dynamics different in the United States?
It’s a good question. Our city is mainly Republican, and is fiscally and economically conservative. Some years ago, a seven-member council introduced a carbon neutrality goal, which is not mandated, however. We know we will get there, because the technology is there. It is not time bound. It is a legislative body that passed a law that laid out a carbon neutrality goal.
We have been measuring progress in reducing carbon. Every year, we are measuring how much energy the city is using on a per capita basis, because the city is growing. I don’t know if we have done enough yet, but we are making progress. I firmly believe technology will save us.
The fight against climate change needs to be a non-partisan effort within cities, states and nations. What we have seen is a vastly polarising view within the United States. With Joe Biden set to take the reins, how soon can we expect to see the United States aligning itself in a more profound manner to the Paris Agreement?
I am a Republican, and my undergraduate degree was in history, so I tend to think not today but historically. At the turn of the century, Ted Roosevelt, a Republican, set aside millions of acres in the US for the National Parks system. And President Eisenhower in 1952 established the Arctic Reserve in Alaska, and he was Republican, as well. And President Nixon was the one who set up the federal EPA. Republicans signed a law that amended our Clean Water Act. They passed a whole series of environmental laws. President Reagan led on the Montreal Protocol for the ozone protection initiative. George HW Bush and George Bush came from a state that produces a lot of oil, and yet they established a system of hundreds of windmills. Over 120 years, Republicans and Democrats have come together in a non-partisan manner. And they will come back; this anomaly has been only for a sort period of time. Clean air and water are non-partisan issues. Disagreement will come only in terms of jobs.
On December 11, 2020, the United States observed a new daily death record of 3,055 individuals, more than the number of people who died in Pearl Harbour or the September 11 attacks on the twin towers in New York City. The coronavirus cases have risen sharply in Carmel, as they have elsewhere in Indiana and across the country. What measures have you taken in Carmel to safeguard residents through better indoor air quality (IAQ), with science advocating more fresh air changes and maintaining Relative Humidity between 40% and 60% in buildings?
I think one good thing that has come from the pandemic is recognition of IAQ being important, and there are great many entrepreneurs in the US selling systems that clean the air. Our City Hall operates a new system that every few minutes recycles the air and filters and cleans the air in the building; and it is energy efficient. And building owners throughout the US are adopting this. I see this as a positive thing that has emerged.
I have put a taskforce in Carmel. We also have generated messages through emails and print newsletters and social media. We have used an entire gamut of ways to talk to people, not just about IAQ but also about things to do to handle the pandemic in a better way. Our city had done a good job till the first week of October, testing and quarantining people. It worked through summer, but when people came indoors when the temperatures fell, it went bad. We had our first set of vaccinations, yesterday (the interview with Mayor Brainard took place on December 15), so we hope to be in good shape by March or April 2021.
There are those that are saying building industry stakeholders simply need to reverse the polarity on their thinking when it comes to budgeting for indoor air quality and that we need to raise buildings fit for purpose.
Yes, it’s a good point. Energy for buildings is important, but I think IAQ is something that would work very well. We have tax incentive to make buildings more energy efficient, and over time if building owners do not take action, a penalty would start; and simultaneously, there will be a reduction in taxes for people who make more energy-efficient buildings. And that puts the burden away from the average taxpayer. Yes, I do believe in an incentive and disincentive system for establishing good IAQ.
Islington and Clapham
As we bid goodbye to 2020 and gingerly step into 2021, the feeling is not of relief, because the virus is still on the prowl. It must be added, though, that we have reached an inflexion point with the early promise being shown by some of the vaccines that have been deployed.
Now, amidst the carnage of 2020, we have been witness to heartwarming instances of human endeavour – of the medical fraternity putting their lives at risk to save others, of boffins hard at work harnessing the power of science and engineering to provide relief to not only healthcare workers but also numerous other sectors.
Away from the COVID scene, there are other instances that have stood out. Like the Bunhill Heat and Power Network project, in central London, which uses waste heat from the London Underground network to supply heat and hot water to nearly 1,500 homes and other facilities in the Borough of Islington, in a bid to lower indirect carbon emissions and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Human ingenuity repurposed the former City Road London Underground station into an underground air extraction system. It draws warm air from the tunnels, still in use by the London Underground’s Northern Line.
Not only will the project reportedly lower indirect emissions but also cut heating costs by 10%, benefitting the residents connected to the network – a case of district energy providing succour to tenants by passing on the savings.
What is even more heartwarming, according to the company that supplied the technology to the project (see story on page XX) is that it can be replicated in underground networks the world over.
As if by coincidence, the subterranean labyrinthine depths of London constitute the theatre for yet another instance of human ingenuity and resourcefulness. Growing Underground is a farming enterprise that is using long-forgotten World War 2 tunnels used as shelter during air raids conducted by the Luftwaffe. About 100 feet beneath London’s Clapham, growers working for the enterprise are busy harvesting micro-greens using hydroponic technology, which uses 70% less water, when compared to traditional farming practices. The produce is pesticide-free and provides an opportunity to Londoners to eat fresh and without the guilt from knowledge that the greens on their plate are the result of burning copious volumes of climate-threatening fossil fuels in transporting them to their doorstep. The project is redefining food supply chains for the better and lowering food wastage by increasing shelf life.
Such examples as the Islington district energy scheme and Growing Underground serve as inspiration for us to consider abandoning some of the hackneyed approaches that are not taking us far in our quest for a better planet. They are about courage and speak of a certain frontier spirit that we ought to consider embracing.
District Cooling has strong potential for growth in Africa, says Metito
Dubai, 14 April 2019: There is strong growth potential for District Cooling in Africa, said Fady Juez, Managing Director, Metito. “We are believers that District Cooling is something good, commercially and environmentally,” he added, especially when compared to the inefficiencies of standalone cooling systems. However, Juez added, District Cooling is successful in urban centres, where there are networks of buildings, as it will make a case for the high initial cost required. As such, Juez said that he believes Egypt, particularly the capital of Cairo, would be a good entry point to advance the penetration of District Cooling in the region.
Juez said that with District Cooling being a high consumer of make-up water, there is a need to promote the use of treated sewage effluent (TSE) in order to optimise the region’s water resources, while addressing industrial and agricultural requirements. Currently, Juez said, Metito’s regional headquarters is located in Cairo, where the company has full-fledged operations that cover the requirement across the region.
India in top three fastest-growing District Cooling markets, says Engie
Dubai, UAE, 6 March 2019: India is in the top three fastest-growing District Cooling (DC) markets in the Asia Pacific region, said Frederic Claux, Head of Assets, Engie MESCAT and board member, Tabreed, highlighting the country’s position as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with 7-8% GDP annual growth forecast in the short-to-medium term. This he said, is largely owing to the rapid growth of real estate, creation of Smart and Green cities, increased purchasing power and ambitious plans for new developments.
Additionally, Claux said, the move to integrate energy efficiency as a core strategy in India’s development demonstrates the public sector’s commitment to address climate change and electricity disruption. He said: “Government stability and different measures taken to promote and enable energy-efficient solutions creates a positive context for the development of DC. Moreover UNEP, with whom Engie has established a close cooperation, is deeply involved in the promotion of DC, in the framework of the District Energy in Cities Initiative, in India.”
To underscore the growing acceptance of District Cooling in India, Claux pointed to the Amaravati District Cooling project, which, according to Engie, is Tabreed’s first project outside the GCC region and the first District Cooling project developed in PPP in India. The agreement between Tabreed and the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) is for a total capacity of 20,000 tonnes of refrigeration (TR) for over an area of one square km for government buildings. “In parallel with the great success of the Amaravati Capital City DC project that Tabreed has been awarded,” Claux said, “we are exploring a few other opportunities around the Mumbai area and in other areas in the Western regions. The potential for development of DC projects is very promising across the country.”
District Cooling, Claux stressed, is the backbone of smarter and sustainable cities and a way to improve resilience, pointing out that it is up to 50% more efficient than conventional stand-alone air conditioning solutions and produces 50% lower CO2 emissions, allowing for more efficient integration with locally available renewable resources for cooling production. He said, “The new energy world is characterised by decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation, with modern District Energy systems at the heart of the energy revolution.”
Claux said, “Engie, together with its partners in different parts of the world, like Mubadala and Tabreed in the GCC region, believes that District Cooling will create tremendous value for customers and stakeholders and has identified it as a rapidly developing growth sector, which is significantly contributing to Engie’s transformation.” He added that with more than 1.3 million TR installed, and with the acquisition of 40% of Tabreed, “Engie has become the world’s independent leader in District Cooling”.