In order to promote green building opportunities in a region known for having one of the world’s highest per capita consumption rates of electricity, Carrier and Otis convened their Distinguished Sustainability Lecture Series this week in the Middle East. Through events in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait that reached 350 industry professionals, the companies connected local building owners and operators with international green building experts.
Carrier, the world’s leader in high-technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions, and Otis, the world’s leading manufacturer of elevators, escalators and moving walkways, are a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
According to members of the Emirates Green Building Council, appreciation is growing for the need for more efficient buildings. The emirate of Dubai has passed a law requiring all future buildings to be green starting in 2014, while a recent McGraw-Hill Construction study found 74% of UAE firms expect green building projects to account for the majority of their projects by 2015. Given that the UAE also has more green neighborhood projects planned than any other country in the world, the series offered a timely opportunity for local professionals to gain exposure to broader green building trends.
In Saudi Arabia, where per capita energy consumption is three times the world average according to the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center, investment in green building is growing. Of the more than 1,300 green projects currently underway in the Middle East, the Saudi Green Building Forum reports nearly 70 are based in the Kingdom.
The growth prospects for green building in Kuwait are even greater. The country has just 17 projects registered through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Yet, according to the Energy Information Administration, the country already uses as much as 98.5% of its grid capacity during peak demand periods. Rapidly rising consumption rates and persistent power shortages during times of demand make sustainable buildings a priority.
“The Middle East has a great opportunity for a strong green building future and one where, increasingly, clients are demanding it,” said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, UTC Building & Industrial Systems. “Green building is a smart, long-term business decision with equal economic and environmental value. We hope this week’s dialogue will have a profound, lasting impact,” he added.
The series, which visited Kuwait City, Riyadh and concluded today in Dubai, offered Middle East participants the opportunity to obtain LEED training, learn more about the business case for green building and gain insight into world green building trends. Mandyck shared Carrier’s history of natural leadership, which includes its role as a founding member of the U.S., Argentina, China, India, Kuwait, Singapore and France Green Building Councils, while Rick Fedrizzi, president and CEO, USGBC, spoke about the next generation of the green building movement.
Launched in the Middle East in 2011, the lecture series has reached more than 2,100 professionals through 20 lectures in Brazil, China, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand and the UAE.