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Tue 22 May 2018 10:30 AM

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Ski Dubai 'uses less energy than a 120-room hotel'

Mall of the Emirates will install new solar panels to save even more energy

Ski Dubai 'uses less energy than a 120-room hotel'
Ski Dubai’s snow production process has also been refined to reduce energy use at the site.

Ski Dubai, the indoor snow-sports centre at Mall of the Emirates, now consumes less energy than a typical 120-room hotel, according to Enova, the facilities management specialists that works with mall operator Majid Al Futtaim to reduce consumption at the site.

Enova CEO Anne Le Guennec told Arabian Business that falling consumption is due to continuous upgrades to reduce energy use at the site.

“People always point to us creating snow in the desert but it is really well insulated," Le Guennec said. "We've operated the site for more than 12 years and we have continued to work over that time to reduce energy loss.”

Le Guennec said Ski Dubai’s snow production process has also been refined to aid that process.

“We've recently changed the way we use the snow guns. We realised that we could change the temperature from minus six degrees to minus four without any compromise to snow quality. We’ve also looked at how we reuse the water as much as possible.”

Enova was created in 2002 as a joint venture between Majid Al Futtaim and French energy management company Veolia.

As part of Majid Al Futtaim’s strategy to become net positive in water consumption and carbon emissions by 2040, it recently unveiled the first phase of Mall of the Emirates’ solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, set to generate three GWh of clean energy, saving up to AED1.4m energy costs per year.

Led by Enova, 7,291 photovoltaic panels were fitted to 1,068 carports spanning 11,996 sq m; the equivalent to the size of nearly two football fields.

“This new solar PV plant is set to reduce 2,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions every year, equivalent to taking 480 cars off the road,” said Ibrahim Al'Zubi, chief sustainability officer at Majid Al Futtaim Holding.

According to Le Guennec the work is being done in two phases, with plans to fit solar panels to the rooftop and façade of Mall of the Emirates at a later date.

“We waited until now because the technology is evolving a lot and by working in two phases we feel there will be greater options to install something that is even more efficient in future.

"We will work on the rooftop and facade as well because there are some technologies that would work there. The panels are getting much lighter but the technology is not completely there yet so sometimes it is better to wait a little bit. It's a question of balance between the cost of implementation and the energy saved,” she said.

Le Guennec said the next step after that will be energy storage.

“Right now you can only use the energy during the day. A lot will change in the coming months and years to allow for storage as well as capture.”

The project is part of an initiative between Enova and Majid Al Futtaim’s Shopping Malls business unit to install solar PV to power three of its shopping malls by 2018.

The objective is to source a minimum of 7.5 percent of energy use on site via renewable energy at all new developments and a minimum of five percent in existing buildings.

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