Dubai – MENA Herald: In line with its strategic goal to make the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) the most energy efficient business hub, Economic Zones World (EZW) has signed a MoU with DEWA’s Etihad ESCO to retrofit its existing buildings and facilities to make them more energy efficient.

Jafza has always been in the forefront of implementing the Government’s green initiatives to promote and preserve sustainable ecosystem. The initiation of the present retrofit project further reinforces its commitment. The move is an important step forward in the direction of achieving the Government’s Dubai 2021 plan and following the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to use technology and innovation to convert Dubai into a sustainable green city. The project will significantly reduce Jafza’s carbon footprint and will make its operations more sustainable and efficient.

The first phase of the project comprises energy retrofit of 157 staff accommodation buildings in Jafza and includes replacement of 5000 old air conditioners with highly efficient split units; 85,000 old light fixtures with high efficiency LEDs and 31,000 old water fixtures with new efficient water units.

HE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World and Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, commenting on the project said:

“The utility cost is the second largest expense for Jafza. The power and water consumption level in Jafza crossed 75 million KWh and 750 million IG per year respectively. As a pioneering Free Zone and top business hub, we felt the urgent need to make our old commercial and residential buildings more energy efficient. As a result EZW and Etihad Energy, a subsidiary of DEWA, developed a detailed technical scope for an Energy Conservation Project and invited top licensed and certified specialists to participate in this mega project in Jafza. After a rigorous tendering and selection process we selected Etihad ESCO for their viable Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) to achieve an average consumption savings of 28% of power, 36% of water while reducing carbon footprint by 75,000 tons during the six year project. It is the largest energy retrofit project in the entire Middle East. I consider this initiative to be a major step forward in making EXPO 2020 in Dubai a grand success since sustainability is one of the key components of the upcoming global event.”

Commenting on the key features of the MoU he said:

“The EZW-Etihad ESCO contract is for seven years which includes one year for the project retrofit and 6 years for implementation. The project will generate a net saving of 30% worth AED 132 million over 6-years period. The project will be funded by Etihad ESCO through sharia compliant financing from National Bonds Corporation. The repayment (including financing cost) will be met from the guaranteed savings over the 6 years project period.

“The guaranteed savings over 6 years period will include the savings of 158 GWh (28%) in electricity consumption and 1.2 billion IG (36%) in water consumption, which together amounts to net 30% savings worth AED 132 million. The project will result in the reduction of 75,000 tons of carbon emission into the atmosphere.

“The combined average savings in power and water consumption is 30%, which is fully in line with the recently announced the UAE and Dubai Government’s energy conservation strategy that seeks to reduce overall energy consumption to 30% by the end of 2030. The current retrofit project in Jafza will, therefore, make the Free Zone the first organization in the UAE to comply with the provisions of national energy conservation strategy far ahead of time.”

His Excellency Saeed Al Tayer, Chairman of Etihad ESCO said, “This is a significant milestone in the history of Etihad ESCO as we sign the largest energy retrofit Project of UAE and the Middle East. Our commitment is to enhance energy efficiency and this project is intended to reduce water consumption and electricity usage thereby saving a significant sum. Etihad ESCO is committed to establish Dubai as a leader in energy efficiency solutions, and this partnership will further commitment to that.”

Jafza has been continuously implementing green initiatives over the years. Specific measures undertaken by Jafza to save energy include the installation of timer controlled devices and photocells in parking areas, corridors and other parts of the buildings as well as replacement of old lighting fixtures with LED in Jafza buildings. Water saving devices have also been installed in office buildings resulting in 23% water savings. Additionally all sewage water and water drained from air conditioning units is recycled and used for irrigation. Refrigerants are also recycled and reused to minimise the free zone’s carbon footprint. Jafza also extended its green strategies to its logistics developments and warehouses. In 2009, Jafza mandated all facility developments to follow green building standards and ensures its customers adhere strictly to them. This includes adding energy saving facilities, ensuring there are no ‘over design’ items like roof Lightning Protection systems, optimising loads and a host of other measures. Jafza is using BMS to ensure efficient energy savings in its new projects.