Building developers in the UAE have a ‘blinkered attitude’ towards building management systems (BMS) and its potential benefits, an industry expert has said.
In an interview with MEP Middle East, Michael Scriven, business development manager for Optima International, claimed that most building developers in the country don’t care about the lifecycle costs of their projects. Instead, end users are left to bear the high costs of energy efficiency.
“This is one of the hardest markets to put forward energy conservation. The simple fact of the matter is that most people are not interested in what you can save on the lifecycle of the building,” he explained.
“All they’re interested in is the capital costs of now. I’ve seen many projects where BMS has been removed as a capital cost saving. It’s very hard to convince clients, because most of the clients here don’t actually run the building,” he added.
“Most of them are developers looking for the lowest cost build. If you get an intelligent client that actually has to run his building, then they will not remove BMS, they’ll understand that it is one of the things that can save them the most money when it comes to the lifecycle of the building.”
However, Scriven said that there could be a significant change in attitudes if the government stepped in to encourage developers to show more responsibility towards their projects.
To do so, he suggests that the government introduce financial incentives that reward developers who construct energy efficient buildings.
However, Sougata Nandi, CEO of Pacific Controls, said that there were steps being taken to push forward sustainability, without impacting the wallets of clients and end users too heavily.
Pacific Controls, in collaboration with Etisalat, have launched the Emirates Energy Star project, which seeks to help buildings reduce their energy usage through the usage of software that manages a building’s management system.
The first phase of the project saw a large number of government entities sign up for the initiative, which is backed by the government, although not financially supported.
“The biggest incentive for any building developer or owner, who’s paying electricity bills today, would be the cost savings he’s achieving. The carbon reduction itself would be a huge incentive.
Regulations or incentives from a government level are required where people actually have to go out of their way to do something that they’re reluctant to do,” he explained.
“For example, in the Western world, people would get rebates or something from the energy company if they were to buy energy efficient equipment, but the Emirates Energy Star Programme isn’t about that."
"It directly benefits the customer, at a very significantly high level. We’re talking about thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is a direct boost to the bottom line,” he said.