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Cost of going green

Cost of going green

Making your offices green may be environmentally wise, but is it financially viable? Kipp takes a closer look at the cost of being environmentally friendly in the UAE.

October 7, 2010 2:17 by

Yet there are many in Dubai who bravely sing the praises and expound the benefits of companies going green. Along time before going green was fashionable, The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) started retrofitting its headquarters in Dubai. Jagath Gunawardena, manager projects and building development at DCCI, said retrofitting isn’t as expensive as some may think.

“There is no need to pull the building apart. We used 80 percent of our building resources and materials. Environmentally friendly buildings are not as expensive as commonly thought, there is no need to burn a hole in the pocket but one can manage with the operating budget,” said Gunawardena.

And the savings that a company can make from investing in greener efforts are huge. Since 1998, the DCCI have reduced their energy consumption by 47 percent, saving up to AED 709 million.

So where does a developer begin if they wish to retrofit with sustainability in mind? Brent Ridgard, director of Dubai-based WSP Environment and Energy says the first thing a company should consider is an energy audit. An energy audit can reveal unnoticed areas and instances where a company is wasting energy – like the air-conditioning that is switched on at 1 in the morning and put off only at 10 in the evening – far outside operating hours (Kipp’s office managers, are you listening?).

But ultimately, although the experts may say that retrofitting a building is not as expensive as everyone believes it to be, it is essentially still an expense and it remains to be seen if corporate social responsibility will be enough to persuade companies in the UAE that it is an expense worth incurring.

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