A United Arab Emirates-based firm has just concluded what it says is the region’s first water and energy audit of a large-scale housing facility for over 1,000 guest workers. Facilities management company Farnek assessed performance of their staff accommodation center in Al Quoz, Dubai, identifying opportunities to slash annual utility bills by 20 per cent (an estimated $82,000). They aim to incite other UAE facilities to similarly self-audit for immediate environmental – and economic – benefits.
The old management motto “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” is especially applicable when talking resource consumption and environmental assessment. Current patterns of water and energy use (and waste generation) must be identified in order to find easy targets for performance improvement and behavioral/system change. Accurate measurement enables prudent forward management.
Apparently Farnek CEO Markus Oberlin agrees. Addressing industry professionals, he said,”Before you can change anything, it has to be measured. Now that we have completed this study, we can benchmark this survey with future annual studies and identify where utility savings can be – and have already been – made.”
The study estimated that the staff housing complex consumed 51,000 liters of water and 2,500 kWh of electricity each year, costing over $410,000 while producing 2,190 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2).
“From a commercial perspective we can also now share this information with other companies looking to benchmark the energy and water consumption of their staff housing complexes,” he added.
Farnek openly shared their blueprint for increased efficiency, which includes installing energy-efficient air conditioning units, timers and LED lights, parking lights, roof insulation, waterless urinals, water tap aerators, reduced flow shower heads and high efficiency car washes.
“By investing in some or all of these energy and water saving devices, the financial return can be seen in as little as 18 months,” said Oberlin. “Simple but effective awareness campaigns are also vital, such as encouraging staff to turn off lights when leaving a room and closing windows and doors when the A/C is running,” he added.
The firm is a leader in greening up large-scale facilities in terms of fixed infrastructure, and is taking sustainability into ongoing operations and maintenance too. Earlier this year, they launched the Middle East’s first carbon-free bus, and they benchmarked their staff transportation operation. Rather than outsource maintenance for their vehicles, they acquired their own garage where they will wash 180 vans using reduced amounts of water and chemicals. They’ve also identified significant potential savings in terms of facility cleaning, and are conducting staff training and awareness sessions to meet those targets.
Want some guidance as to improving your own home performance? Check out these embedded links for the Emirates Wildlife Society, and the Multitasking Inductor Electronic Company, and the Emirates Green Building Council. For help with large-scale audits and development of a comprehensive sustainability strategy, consider consultation with Emirates-based experts such as Sustainability Excellence.
Success models like this – which loudly broadcast economic benefits to facility stakeholders – may accelerate take-up of sustainable practices throughout the Arab world.