Exclusive interview with Raffi Kazazian, Energy Solutions Director, Taqeef. During the 2nd Annual GCC HVAC Summit, Raffi outlined their brands, latest products, innovations, geographic locations within the Middle East and 2018 business plans.
The Sustainability Challenge And The Role Of Retrofitting
Written by: Raffi Kazazian, Energy Solutions Director, Taqeef
There are many complex environmental challenges currently facing the Arab region and back when our business was first established in 1972, we could not foresee just how fast technology would advance and impact the world in which we live.
Taqeef started when air conditioning systems were still few and far between, and back then our focus was on finding the best technology to cope with the extreme desert climate. Today we are still relentless in our pursuit of the best and most energy efficient cooling systems and services, which we do by partnering with the world’s leading air conditioning manufacturers. Like us they are committed to greener growth and are driven by the government’s environmental agenda.
Indeed, the challenges that face this region require innovative, practical solutions, and sustainability is key. In the UAE there are already many programs in place to set the framework for action with new energy-saving regulations and associations emerging all the time. It was in this spirit that Taqeef’s Energy Solutions Division (ESD) was created to work with governmental, commercial and residential clients in order to develop world-class applications for energy efficiency improvements, building retrofit and district cooling projects.
A key focus of the ESD team is in helping our customers to address the potential of retrofitting of existing buildings to greener standards – an aspect of civil engineering that the government in Dubai has made a priority. With buildings accounting for nearly 70% of all energy produced in Dubai, older buildings are usually much higher consumers of energy compared to new structures. Similarly, as cooling systems can account for up to 75% of a building’s energy consumption during peak months, it is imperative that the systems in place reduce energy consumption and in turn, cost.
Clearly, retrofitting has a key role to play. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), for example, is retrofitting 30,000 existing buildings in Dubai through Etihad Energy Services Company (Etihad ESCO) – an organisation in charge of tenders. This provides a greater opportunity for ESCO-type companies to pitch for major retrofit projects, making it an exciting time for the industry.
However, the challenge now is to filter the retrofitting approach down to smaller scale companies – like hotel and office buildings who often have 20-year-old chillers on their roofs, but perhaps don’t feel incentivized to make the changes needed that would result in serious energy and cost savings in the long run.
We believe that if your cooling technology is 10 years old or more, you can make massive savings by installing new equipment. Savings of between 40-60% depending on the age of the building and with utility costs likely to keep rising, the financial benefits combined with environmental are substantial – typically a value proposition of three to four years of return on investment.
At Taqeef, we are committed to driving the environmental agenda in the region through innovation and investment. We are leading the industry with environmental programmes and partnerships which develop greener, cleaner cooling solutions, and are driving professional development with LEED and ESCO accreditation. We are also surpassing industry standards with our new eco products, and are the first to have our entire product range endorsed by Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) and Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council (QCC).
We work with organisations such as Eurovent and Emirates Green Building Council, to find solutions to the industry’s biggest environmental challenges and we focus strategic investment in three key areas – appliance standards and labelling, building retrofit, and district cooling.
Our UAE heritage is at the heart of our business and is underlined by our achievements. We developed the world’s first cooling application for desert conditions, which transformed the quality of life for people across the region and today this mission still stands. However, the environmental challenge for everyone in the civil engineering and facilities management industries is a great one.
We will continue to meet this challenge while ensuring that we support the UAE’s commitment to ensure the sustainability and protection of the environment within the UAE National Agenda and Dubai Plan 2021, and to achieve the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to reduce 30 per cent of energy demand by 2030. It is an exciting challenge ahead, and one I have no doubt will be achieved.
Taqeef is the originator of desert cooling systems in the UAE and the Middle East’s leading air conditioning solutions provider. Since 1972 Taqeef has served the country’s evolving cooling needs with world-class technology, innovation and service. Taqeef is committed to driving responsible air conditioning use and promoting environmental efficiency in the industry across the Middle East.
Taqeef only partner with the world-class air conditioning manufacturers, who – like them – are committed to greener growth. These brands include Fujitsu General – the Middle East’s biggest selling air conditioning brand, and Midea – the world’s largest producer of appliances and the third biggest HVAC manufacturer worldwide.
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