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Cheap electricity big deterrent in going smart.

Low costs of energy in the region are one of the biggest deterrents in convincing clients to go smart, said experts at Johnson Controls.

In comparison to the west, where people are keen to welcome new initiatives for cutting energy consumption and costs, the Middle East is slightly less driven to implement energy saving and smart building devices.

"In Dubai, they pay a lot more in terms of utilities, than Saudi, so there is that added pressure to bring costs down, explained Samer Tabbara, regional business manager, energy solutions, Middle East, building efficiency. "The challenge in the region is that all this is relatively new. They can't see so far into the future, and so don't think long term, like they do in the US for example. Many companies are not sure how long they will be in the region."

Azzam Messaykeh, regional executive director, Middle East, aftermarket building efficiency adds that the willingness to change and become more energy efficient also differs from country to country.

"Compare the electricity tariffs of Dubai and Saudi. Dubai is three times higher than Saudi. When I put a business model in front of a Saudi developer and tell him I will operate his building more efficiently, it's not really paying him out because the power is subsidised. Why should he come and buy from me? But if I propose a project for a UAE or Qatari client and guarantee them a saving, they will look at their business model, see the commercial sense in it as well as the benefit it will have on their sustainability image and will want to engage."

Messaykeh adds that this has encouraged Johnson Controls to seek out more value propositions for the client in implementing smart building technology.

"No single customer will come and work with you because you look smarter or more intelligent. It has to be a win-win situation commercially [for them] also. We can lower costs through lowering his [client's] operating power and operating consumption."

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Publication:Construction Week
Geographic Code:70MID
Date:Jan 11, 2012
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