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Sat 28 Oct 2006 04:00 AM

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Benchmarks for success

Call it benchmarking, labelling or energy rating, the issue is the same – the desire to design and construct more energy efficient buildings.

Call it benchmarking, labelling or energy rating, the issue is the same – the desire to design and construct more energy efficient buildings.

Simple energy labelling systems are well recognised by most people today. Even non-technically-minded members of the public instantly recognise that an ‘A’ label on the front of the latest washing machine is going to cost them less to run and use less water than the model alongside it that is marked ‘B’. So why not extend this simple tactic to buildings?

A building may be a much larger user of power and water than a washing machine, but that is the point. It’s all very well choosing the best appliances to put in a building after the event, but the real difference can be made by the MEP services that will serve these.

Engineering design consultants and energy management firms are crying out for more energy efficiency legislation. For contractors too this would bring benefits as the cry from any client to downgrade products or installation methods simply to save costs or time on site should reduce if rules are being enforced.

It can be seen as a name and shame tactic, but without legislation perhaps this is what’s needed. With no standards to meet it will remain difficult to sell the benefits of energy efficient technologies to some clients.

Let’s make it something to boast about that a building is operating at an ‘A’ energy rating. It is already being encouraged in other countries, with the UK and Europe ahead of the game and the USA and Canada close behind.

By acting now to impose its own building benchmarking system, the Middle East has the chance to prove its commited to better use of energy.

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