Middle East habits impede sustainable growth, say experts

Although the Middle East is famous for its palatial homes, a significant proportion of the world’s tallest buildings, and vast amounts of money, these very attributes are posing a challenge to implementing environmentally sustainable measures.

In a recent panel discussion organised by GE Lighting in Dubai, panelists shared their thoughts on the opportunities and obstacles for the adoption of sustainable lighting.

According to panelist, P.R. Jagannathan, Sustainability Director, JAFZA, the region’s excess capacity means that clients are more focused on achieving their ideal design product, even if it means compromising on energy efficiency.

“This market has excess capacity in store. We could have easily done with 50 per cent of all the lighting investments made but we need the client’s commitment to achieve this change,” he explained.

Panelist Agostino Renna, president & CEO of GE Lighting Europe, Middle East & Africa, added there needs to be an increase in awareness about the various types of energy efficient technology for clients to make informed decisions.

“There is a fair amount of gaps in information and as with all new technology, there is information that is accurate and information that is not, so naturally people will have uncertainties and these stand in the way of making investments.”

The roundtable discussion, ‘Lighting the Path to 2030: Opportunities and obstacles for the adoption of sustainable lighting,’ was attended by representatives of governmental departments, civil society organizations working to promote energy sustainability and the private sector including designers and architects.

Key panel speakers at the event included: Solaiman Al-Rifai, Director of Project Finance, Dubai Carbon; Sarfraz Dairkee, Founding Member, Emirates Green Building Council; Agostino Renna, President & CEO of GE Lighting Europe, Middle East & Africa;  Moheet Vishwas, Lead Systems Specialist, Infratech; P R Jagannathan, Sustainability Director, JAFZA and Siddharth Mathur B’Arch, M.S. (Lighting Design) Design Director, Studio Lumen.

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