Energy Efficiency in the UAE’s Property Sector
Sustainable development has always been one of the top goals of the UAE government. Both long-term and short term strategies have been implemented to ensure energy efficiency nationwide which includes energy saving schemes implemented at home and workplace, vehicles and industry. Nevertheless, the government continues to respond to the challenge of energy security as the UAE’s per capita energy consumption ranks among the highest despite being the world’s seventh biggest energy producer. Abdulla Mohammed Rafia, the assistant director general for engineering and planning at Dubai Municipality concurred that the property sector (buildings) utilize about 70 per cent of the energy that the country produced.
With the aim to cut energy consumption, the Green Building project was launched in 2008 by Supreme Council of Energy together with Dubai Municipality & Dubai Electrical & Water Authority (DEWA) which results to higher energy savings, water consumption and carbon dioxide output reduced by 15 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively. This efficiency program was mandated by the UAE government in 2011. Third party inspections have become valuable in the upkeep of this initiative through its energy solution investigations & condition inspections. In this issue, we will talk about the benefits of these inspections and the necessary tools to reduce energy loss and utility bills allowing for increased energy savings.
Mathematics of a Greener Future
The property sector has the lion’s share in terms of the degradation of the country’s resources. Buildings consume energy and water the most and thus, the UAE government believes that making them a priority area to address and apply environmental standards is just necessary. Dubai turned green in 2008 paving the way for environmentally friendly structures for residential, commercial and other buildings. This initiative known as the Green Building project aims to maintain a healthy city following global benchmarks in sustainable development and clean environment. Aside from the optimum impact on the environment, going green highlights financial advantages from lower construction costs and overheads to reduced utility bills for UAE residents.
In addition to the government’s programs in sustaining a greener future, most members of construction and property sectors have come to realize their significant contributions in the fulfillment of the entire Green Building project by employing the services of third party inspection companies particularly in condition audits and energy solution investigations.
Snag & Inspect as the leading property inspection company in the UAE is constantly contracted by most property owners and management companies to conduct building condition audits and special investigations, i.e., electrical condition inspection, infrared thermographic survey of all power distribution systems, and other energy solution inspections which collectively aims to ensure energy efficiency in the building. One of the crucial observations noted in several building and industrial facility inspections that affect power quality is the unbalanced loads distribution in electrical panels and faulty power factor correction devices which are not properly maintained—often than not, neglected. These challenges do not only contribute to an increased energy losses but can also be considered as fire & life safety hazards. The key to address these challenges is to strictly adhere to the set of codes implemented. There are various factors to consider in ensuring electrical safety and energy efficiency. Achieving balance in the electrical system with the accuracy in load distribution taking into consideration load size and type, wiring type and size, circuit breakers type and rate for every single load in all panels is highly recommended. DEWA regulations are put into place to prevent fire & life safety hazards and promote energy efficiency in the electrical system. These regulations must be strictly followed.
In addition, power factor correction devices should also be maintained annually to assure optimum function. Power factor is the measure of the efficiency of equipment or an electrical system. Certain types of equipment often have a low power factor which means they use electricity inefficiently. Power factor can be corrected by the addition of capacitors or inductors to individual machines or the system as a whole, this technology is called Power Factor Correction (PFC). PFC improves the efficiency of the local electrical system, which in turn reduces electricity use, carbon emissions and energy costs.
In sustaining a greener future, the formula is just simple. Building greener properties adhering to the highest international standards applicable is one but to ensure that a particular green building lives up to its identity, a condition inspection is essential. Third Party Property Inspection as an added tool/measure to identify these challenges is a significant step in addressing all forms of excessive use of energy resources, significantly reducing energy costs and achieving most favourable savings.
Into walls and wiring
Thermal imaging improves energy efficiency with its accurate and effective detection and measure of energy loss.
One of the most valued service that Snag & Inspect offers is Thermal Imaging using an infrared camera that will help see fire hazards, i.e., loose connections in power panels, outlets and switches as well as identifying heat points in wiring. Thermal Imaging is the quickest way in identifying energy loss, missing insulation, inefficient HVAC systems, radiant heating, water damage on roofs and a lot more. Patterns of heat loss that are invisible to the naked eye can be identified with the use of a thermal imaging camera. Thermal imaging allows an immediate detection system of air leaks within a property and measurement data is easily compiled into a report.
Infrared thermography is a powerful and non-invasive method of monitoring and troubleshooting the conditions of buildings. It operates by measuring the infrared energy of any objects’ surface and producing a detailed visual image showing its temperature profile. Thermal imaging is an essential tool in energy audits and condition audits. Professional property inspectors and energy auditors are using advanced infrared technology to perform the aforementioned special investigations to improve energy efficiency that could lead to savings on energy costs.