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Boosting profitability, saving the environment.

Jamal Lootah, CEO of Imdd

The 'Green building' concept is fast becoming the global norm today amidst the strong clamour for sustainable, healthy and resource- efficient structures. The trend has become even more evident after studies warned that commercial and residential buildings will become the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases by 2025 if significant measures are not taken today. Sustainable buildings are then seen to reduce the impact of the mainstream building industry on the environment and human health.

Discussions on green construction, however, have taken a new turn over the years, going beyond the many environment and social benefits of sustainable buildings. One of the debated topics touches on associated costs. Green structures are often perceived as more expensive to build and maintain than conventional buildings. But while it is true that going 'green' entails big investments, it is also possible that one can achieve a 'green' goal without exceeding the set budget. The financial returns are also enormous as green buildings have proven to have many financial benefits that are not often seen in conventional buildings.

According to California Sustainable Building Task Force, an initial green design investment of just 2% will produce savings that are more than 10 times that of the initial investment based on a 20-year building lifespan. According to the task force's findings, an initial investment of US $40,000 in green design for a project worth $2m will not only be repaid in just two years, but it will yield savings worth $400,000 in a span of 20 years. Jamal Lootah Efficient use of resources such as energy and water -- which can be attained in green buildings but could be difficult in conventional infrastructures -- contributes to sizable savings in the long run.

In the UAE, promoting sustainable practices is part of the government's development agenda. UAE leaders envision the country to be a global leader in carbon footprint reduction in the built environment, among other sectors. The country is being lauded for implementing green building policies and regulations. In Dubai, for instance, green regulations implemented on government buildings resulted in 43% reduction in energy and 15% reduction in water.

Every citizen, industry, and sector plays a crucial role in attaining the government's goal of building sustainable infrastructures. Facilities management companies, in particular, must realign their objectives to make them more environmentally efficient. Their role is crucial in sustaining the environmental performance of the buildings as well as providing significant support to their clients' efforts to minimize their impact on the environment.

This is what we are doing at Imdd. As a provider of integrated FM solutions in the GCC, we recognise the role of sustainability and its applications in FM such as waste management and water and energy management. We are always on the lookout for ways to improve out systems and processes to ensure that they are aligned with our environmental and societal objectives.

[The author Jamal Lootah is the CEO of facilities management firm Imdd]

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Date:Jul 9, 2014
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