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Sun 13 Jul 2008 04:00 AM

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Existing buildings can go green

Companies in existing building can expect a ROI and increased employee productivity by going green.

Retrofitting existing buildings to meet green standards, can provide more than a responsible company image, said Khaled Bushnaq, CEO, EMS.Speaking exclusively to FM Middle East, his comments came after TECOM Investments announced the UAE has positioned itself second (behind the US) in the number of existing buildings registered to become certified by LEED.

“Implementing energy saving green measures for existing buildings usually sees a return on investment of 25-50% annually, within three years,” said Bushnaq. “It can also improve employee productivity, for example, office lighting can impact an employee’s mood if the intensity of lighting is shifted from harsh and interrogative to soft and reflective.”

TECOM Investments has registered 30 existing buildings that are seeking the LEED certification.

Ali bin Towaih, executive director of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Division (SEED) of TECOM Investments, said: “While TECOM Investments is a knowledge-based corporation with the largest number of existing building projects pursuing LEED certification in the region, we continue to demonstrate our relentless commitment towards sustainable development in the region that will make our developments more energy and water efficient, resource efficient and attach a certain level of responsibility to our developments.”

But the age of an existing building and the availability of its construction plans will determine if it can become LEED certified or not.

“Older buildings do not always have the space to accommodate today’s sophisticated technological systems needed to obtain the energy savings criteria under the LEED rating system."

“To resolve such challenges, LEED certifications are achieved by earning credits in various areas such as recycling and building materials that reduce energy usage. Since in some cases, it is not always economically feasible to earn credits when renovating major building components, credits are therefore earned in other ways. This is often obtained through modifying existing practices such as modifying waste management or improving energy consumption. Retrofitting wash basins for example: will reduce the flow rate of 0.5 US gpm which is a reduction of 80% over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),” added Bushnaq.

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