Imdaad on how sustainability is not just about energy saving
Energy saving is high on Imdaad’s agenda. The company has influenced record savings of over 916,000 gallons of water and 4,852MWh of electricity at Ibn Battuta Mall
Home to over 250 retailers, Dubai,s 32.5ha Ibn Battuta Mall was constructed in 2005, designed to be the UAE’s largest themed mall.
Its inception came at a time when FM was not necessarily of key importance, particularly at the design stages, something current FM service provider Imdaad says has posed its challenges. Even today, FM service provider involvement at concept stage is still not a mature concept, says Said ElHaouasli, director operations.
“Shopping malls are, in general, more challenging from an operational FM perspective. We always [find] issues that could [potentially] have been avoided if the client engaged the service provider earlier.
“For example, the designer puts in lamps or AC units really high within the building; sometimes you can bring in lift-access equipment, but there are areas that are inaccessible, even with lifting equipment.
We then have to propose other alternatives, which might work out costly. A further issue is access to other building operational equipment, where problems could be avoided if we had been invited at consultancy stage. There’s always the need to look at the building from the FM operational point of view,” says ElHaouasli.
Imdaad started FM operations in the mall from 2008. It became the pilot project for a number of Imdaad’s future projects, particularly where energy-saving and sustainable operations were concerned.
“For each client, the first thing we do is establish a baseline for energy consumption. [Ibn Battuta Mall] is really one of the best sites, and its management is an example of understanding the need for energy-saving.
We have daily readings and a monthly report in place to track these savings” explains ElHaouasli. “This isn’t a service we sell, but something we provide as an added value.
We compiled a model and realised that the amount of savings we could make in three years is more than the contract value for providing full MEP services.” Imdaad delivered savings on water, electricity and chilled water.
“When the district cooling idea came to the market, it was more to be green and to avoid having different units in each flat and building, hence to reduce the energy bill, as well as being more environmentally-friendly.
Unfortunately, when it came to the end user, there was no clear methodology or recommendation to install individual meters for each end-user, so payment per square foot was perceived to be very high, and is very high.
For this client, we convinced the original service provider of chilled water to install the meter for the mall, resulting in significant savings on chilled water consumption, and leading to better monitoring of the chilled water flow and electrical consumption,” says ElHaouasli.
As long as the client’s day-to-day operations are not affected, there will be willingness on their part to engage in activities that will save costs and be better for the running of the mall, adds Mahmood Rasheed, COO, Imdaad.
“The mall doesn’t open until 10:00, and there are significant savings that can be made during that time. You can switch to half AC just before it opens and similarly shut down half the AC before the mall closes at night.
As long as it is not affecting the operations of the mall, everyone will agree. Savings that can be seen in the bill from one month to the next allow the client to become more proactive and interacting with the service provider in agreeing on any actions that will allow them to save money in the mall without affecting mall operations.”
And maintaining a mall is completely different to maintaining a residential tower. It is a ‘living’ environment, says ElHaouasli.
“End users want to see the mall operating in the same way everyday it’s always challenging to keep it and maintain it to the customers’ expectations. Most of the clients insist more on the aspects people see every day the painting, the tiles that the main assets get forgotten.
It takes between three to six months to bring things up to the level they could be maintained, then we introduce the energy-saving,” he explains. But education is essential in sustaining the energy-saving tactics that are put in place.
“The main thing here is to put the right processes in place that take into consideration and embrace the culture of the mall as well,” says Hemantha Godakanda, director operations. “Once that is in place, you can take small actions and enter into discussions with the client to initiate an energy plan.”
The different dimensions of sustainability
“We see education as our responsibility also; educating the client on how to keep a piece of equipment operating efficiently. More than the work you put in, 50% of the sustainability success depends on how you have educated the client and end users.
We explain to them what happens if they leave the equipment dirty. It is part of our responsibility to make them aware,” he said.
The company also focused on the BMS and lighting systems when it came to energy saving. Again, a major challenge was the lack of FM presence during development stages, explains ElHaouasli.
“The Building Management System (BMS) is the first thing we observe in facilities when calculating potential savings. It’s not just switching off the lights; it’s adapting the operational mode of your assets to the operational mode of the mall.
If you maintain your assets properly, that is already participating in energy-savings – cleaning your equipment and using the right lubricants, all contributes to overall energy savings efficiency concept,” says ElHaouasli.
This maintenance includes Imdaad’s strict adherence to the Montreal Protocol 1982, in which all CFC gases must be recovered.
“We have refrigerant-recovery units on all our sites, and never release CFC into the environment, which will harm the ozone. That’s over 400kg of refrigerant we recover and recycle and re-use,” adds Godakanda.
“In addition we have our own sewerage treatment plants. In Jebel Ali Free Zone Area (JAFZA) alone we recycle 12,000m3 a day. It is a huge facility, I believe only second [in size] after Dubai Municipality.”
Imdaad’s focus for 2012 strongly reveolves around sustainabiility. The company has teamed up with Dubai Municipality for the 2030 zero-waste goal.
“The ‘My City, My Environment’ initiative focuses on provision of two types of waste bins for each house in three areas of Dubai during March 2012,” says Rasheed.
In addition to this, Imdaad is also looking at advancing on the technology side through the adoption of mobile data solution. This technology allows staff to receive customer complaints remotely and enhance job-specific entries to the CAFM system, resulting in better data capture and optimised operation.
“Imdaad will continue to maintain energy saving initiatives [... ] by adopting new strategies,” says Rasheed.
“Moreover, we remain focused on innovation, sustainability and customer satisfaction. The company will continue to use and acquire eco-friendly equipment and prioritise sustainability across all its operations,” he concludes.
- 3,445.2 metric tonnes of waste collected
- 337.55 metric tonnes of recyclables collected
- 4,852 MWh saved on electricity annually
- 916,000 gallons of water saved annually