Greening the Emirates

Etisalat implements energy efficiency, carbon footprint reduction scheme across 79 companies and government entities in the UAE.

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Greening the Emirates A total of 79 participants from across public and private sectors have implemented EES programs so far, registering 18% energy savings.
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By  Georgina Enzer Published  September 18, 2013

Etisalat implements energy efficiency, carbon footprint reduction scheme across 79 companies and government entities in the UAE.

Emirates Energy Star is a nationwide program to champion the cause for improving energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of the UAE. The program, set up by Etisalat and Pacific Controls, aims to reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprints of its participating customers by 2015.

Etisalat’s ICT strategy includes high investment in Machine-to-Machine (M2M) industry, where energy management is one of the vertical solutions under M2M. All these solutions, including EES, use the Etisalat network and infrastructure.

“Through the EES program, Etisalat also seeks to fulfil its corporate social responsibility by directly lowering the carbon footprint of the UAE. Achieving the lowest per capita carbon emission for UAE will eventually result in our becoming one of the smartest countries in the world by 2021,” said Abdulla Hashim, senior vice president, ICT, Etisalat.

According to Etisalat, EES has saved 11,860 tonnes of CO2 till May 2013. This is equivalent to planting 2,546 trees and has resulted in cash savings of $2.15m for UAE.

“In 2012 several organisations signed up for their first buildings into the EES programme. Having seen the results for several months, they are now signing up the entire portfolio of their assets into the programme. This is enabling a faster uptake and a rapid reduction of the carbon footprint of the UAE. Collectively, these buildings are all participating together to accelerate the UAE’s journey to becoming one of the smartest nations in the world, contributing to the UAE’s Green Economy Programme and the UAE’s Vision 2021, where environmental performance is a key performance indicator,” said Sougata Nandi, CEO of Pacific Controls.

The UAE’s carbon footprint

The UAE has taken significant steps to address global concerns of climate change due to rising carbon dioxide emissions. EES was set up by Etisalat to aid the government in this cause.

According to Etisalat, a report by the World Wildlife Fund in 2010, rated the UAE number one in the world for having the biggest ecological footprint. The ecological footprint measures a country’s sustainability by comparing the use of natural resources per person per capita. Following the announcement, a panel of scientists and experts studied the methods of energy consumption in the UAE in detail to determine how they can be improved. This drove the UAE to become the third country in the world to develop the ‘Ecological Footprint Initiative’. In the UAE, a number of regulations were made in 2013 to improve the standard of lighting equipment used in homes, which account for over three-quarters of the UAE’s carbon footprint.

In another study of carbon footprint by Jones Lang LaSalle, a global real estate services firm specialising in commercial property management, electricity and cooling were found to be responsible for around 40% of the total operating costs for office buildings in the UAE. EES aims to address these concerns by retrofitting existing buildings with M2M systems to increase energy efficiency through Managed Energy Monitoring Services.

“Currently, over 79 buildings have been connected to the Emirates Energy Star programme, covering the whole gamut of low rise to high rise buildings. These comprise an entire spectrum of buildings like high-rise residential and commercial towers, hospital, shopping mall, mixed use complex, hotel, academic institutions and business centres. While the majority of these buildings are commercial, residential buildings form the next big category. These buildings largely represent the public, government and education sectors, followed by construction and industry. Banking and finance sector forms the third largest segment participating in this program,” said Hashim.

The participating organisations which have implemented EES programs so far, have registered 18% average energy savings. Members of the scheme include Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Dubai Municipality Al Twar Centre, Al Rostamani 21st Century Tower, First Gulf Bank Dubai, and the Deyar Al Barsha headquarters.


Most buildings constructed 20 years ago do not have the infrastructure to address the concerns of carbon emissions as they consume a lot of energy, according to Etisalat. Over the years, automation systems have been built to be in compliance with industry standard open protocols.

“For us, the biggest challenge was to retrofit existing buildings in a way that allows us to retain most of the original installed systems. This reduced the requirement for removals of systems. The hardware and software solutions we developed allowed us to integrate into the automation systems of buildings installed over 20 years ago,” commented Hashim.

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