Industry Perspective: The Time for Net Zero is Now – Achieving Net Zero in an Industrial Facility in Dubai
Net Zero and Net Positive (NZ/NP) strategies emphasize taking a systematic approach to reduce water, energy, and waste footprints in installations and communities. These strategies provide long-term solutions for sustainability by meeting the environmental objectives of clean air and water, and reducing or eliminating waste sent to landfill, while ensuring the long-term viability of resources is not only maintained but also improved.
Currently, the Earth is already about 1.1°C warmer than it was in the late 1800s, and emissions continue to rise. To keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C – as called for in the Paris Agreement – emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Commitments made by governments worldwide to date fall far short of what is required. The changes required to reach net-zero emissions globally by 2050 are inadequately understood and most international pledges made by different countries are not yet supported by near-term policies and measures.
In the UAE, the Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, aligned with the Paris Agreement, is a national drive to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The country continues to lead and coordinate efforts to execute the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative and ensure collaboration at national level to fulfil this objective. Specifically in Dubai, several strategies such as the Smart City Strategy, Green Building Regulations for the private sector and Green Building and Sustainable Building standards were implemented in recent years.
In highlight is a case study of RSA Global and their successful achievement of Net Zero in their warehouse facilities through the implementation of solar energy and energy efficiency.
Achieving Net Zero Through Energy Performance Contracting
RSA Global, a digital freight forwarding and supply chain solutions company headquartered in the UAE. Its focus is to provide the emerging markets of the Middle East, Africa and India with seamless access to the world, while being sustainable in its approach. With 550 people working in over 25 facilities across the UAE, Kenya, India and China, RSA has the right set-up in place to deliver the world’s products to the consumers in its targeted emerging markets at the click of a button.
The RSA Logistics site is a prominent warehouse facility located in the Dubai World Central area, providing quality warehousing, on-site logistics, customs clearance, supply chain distribution and transportation, freight, and open yard services. RSA Logistics was established in March 2007, and employs approximately, 200 people. The inception of RSA Logistics DWC, LLC came as a direct response to cater to the diverse needs of an expanding commercial and consumer market keeping in mind the need of the growing logistics hub at Dubai Logistics City.
RSA Global is keen to achieve Net Positive Energy which translates to producing, from renewable resources, more energy on site than is used over the course of a year. With the adoption of NZ/ NP strategies, RSA Global is striving to consume only as much energy as is produced, achieving a sustainable balance between water availability and demand, and eliminating solid waste sent to landfills.
Taka Solutions was appointed by RSA Logistics to review and identify the scope of energy consumption on the facility as Phase II of an ongoing Net Zero strategy to minimize the facility’s energy consumption and complement the existing clean energy solutions which were implemented by our sister company SirajPower in Phase I.
Phase I of the Net Zero Energy strategies adopted by RSA Global was the production of energy from a solar rooftop solution, with Taka’s sister company Siraj Power, comprised of a system size of almost 3 MWp across three facilities. Following the successful operation of this solar rooftop solution, as Phase II of the Net Zero strategy, Taka Solutions was appointed by RSA Global to minimize the facility’s energy consumption and complement the existing clean energy solutions which were in operations.
Taka’s objective, aligned with RSA Global, was to achieve reduction in energy consumption in the most feasible and efficient way, i.e., retrofitting existing outdated equipment and technologies to the most energy efficient systems that reduce operation and maintenance costs and improve savings, all aligned with the facility’s operational requirements.
Taka’s area of expertise is Energy Performance Contracting, which is a commercial agreement structure that allows for capital improvement that permits energy upgrades to be paid from cost reductions generated. Under an energy performance contract arrangement, an external organization (ESCO) such as Taka implements a project to deliver energy efficiency, or a renewable energy project, and uses the stream of income from the cost savings, or the renewable energy produced, to repay the costs of the project, including the capital costs. Essentially the ESCO will not receive its payment unless the project delivers energy savings as expected.
Taka provided all engineering, equipment and investment (CAPEX and OPEX) for the project through a 6-year Shared Savings Energy Performance Contract (SSEPC). Some quick facts of the SSEPC are:
- No performance or credit risk on RSA Global
- The facility improvements are provided by Taka Solutions at no initial cost to RSA Global
- Operations and maintenance provided by Taka Solutions
- No upfront costs or lines of credit for RSA Global
The Taka Solutions EPC process comprises of three main steps:
1) The analysis phase: used to identify the amount of savings available in the facility and the feasibility of making the savings happen. Key services include:
- Detailed energy audit
- Data collection
- Historical consumption traits
- Baseline consumption variables
- Identify energy efficiency measures
- Cost estimates
2) Taka then implements the new energy efficiency measures. Services include:
- Detailed design & specification
- Material procurement
- Arranging project financing
- Project and implementation management
3) Once the measures have been installed, the management and operation of the facility begins. During this period, Taka ensures systems are operated as designed to achieve savings forecasts. Some of the services include:
- Energy management
- Measurement & verification of the savings
- Energy analysis and forecasting
- Remote monitoring
- Client reporting
- Energy Benchmarking & performance rating
A comprehensive engineering solution of seven Energy Efficiency Measures (EEMs) were implemented, including:
- Package units’ controls upgrade
- Indoor temperature management
- Warehouse lighting retrofit
- Office lighting retrofit
- Common spaces lighting retrofit
- Chilled water network optimization
- DX units’ evaporative cooling system
Results & Impact
Through the implementation of SirajPower’s solar solution and Taka’s energy efficiency measures a phenomenal decrease in current energy spend compared to the facilities’ historical spend was noted. The impacts of these approaches are that through the solar installation, 78.1% electricity is being generated and 20.9% of energy reduction was achieved through the energy efficiency measures implemented, translating to 99% of energy sourced from clean sources, with only 1% sourced from the grid.
In this project, Taka was able to generate 20.9% energy reduction across two warehouse facilities and electrical savings of 1,298,939 kWh, more than a million kg of CO2 reduction. Our energy reduction in this project alone is equivalent to CO2 emissions from 2,131 barrels of oil consumed, Greenhouse gas emissions avoided by 319 Tons of waste recycled instead of landfilled, Carbon sequestered by 15,221 Tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
This project won the Net Zero Project of the Year 2022 award at the 7th MENA Retrofit Tech Summit held in March 2022. While net-zero is a goal, energy efficiency is one of the success factors that can be implemented to achieve carbon neutrality. Projects such as this one make it clear that the Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative can not only be achieved, but also that it can be started now in any other facility across the UAE.