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Dubai Tourism leads discussions on hotel retrofitting for more sustainable industry

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) is promoting the adoption of efficient resource management practices, which can lead to substantial annual savings for hotel properties.

The process of ‘retrofitting’ has become a key focus for the city’s tourism sector and represents Dubai Tourism’s ongoing commitment to working closely with its industry partners, as part of its Dubai Sustainable Tourism, DST, initiative. Building on the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into a leading sustainable city, DST underscores the importance of joint collaborations between developers and energy service companies, ESCOs, to reduce carbon emissions by 16 percent by 2021, in line with the Carbon Abatement Strategy.

The process of retrofitting calls for the upgrade of a building’s existing systems and technologies, transforming them into smart, energy-efficient infrastructures that can seamlessly improve their operations and help save costs on an annual basis. A retrofitting programme is implemented following technical and financial audits of current conservation measures, enabling building owners and operators to identify key sustainable procurement practices that can reduce excess energy outputs across the property.

Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director – Tourism Development and Investments, Dubai Tourism, commented, "Working in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to spearhead Dubai’s transformation into one of the most sustainable cities globally, we aim to encourage wide-spread adoption of energy efficient practices, including the implementation of retrofitting programmes across the breadth of Dubai’s hotel portfolio.

"Our ongoing partnerships with energy saving companies are aimed at boosting environmental sustainability across the industry, to harness the collective power of our hospitality stakeholders and assist them in their commitment to efficient practices throughout their properties. This allows for the development of high-performance buildings that are less costly to operate, will increase in value over time and are able to contribute to a more sustainable sector."

Energy Management Consultants and companies across Dubai’s public and private sector provide retrofitting models that are supported by mutually beneficial partnerships – including investment opportunities that offer energy performance contracts based on shared or guaranteed savings. In the shared savings approach, the ESCOs secure credit to finance energy efficiency measures, with the guaranteed savings approach calling on the hotel to invest in its own equipment, while the ESCO assumes the risk on the performance.

Leading by example, the Wyndham Dubai Marina property recently underwent an extensive retrofitting programme to maximise efficiency and increase its energy saving potential, seeing immediate results and pledging its aim to continue its conservation efforts. As an additional resource to optimise efficiency, DST encourages hotels to enroll their properties to receive the Carbon Calculator tool, created to enable measurement of the CO2 emission baseline of the hospitality industry in Dubai, and identify the gaps in order to provide the right support.

The DST initiative, which is managed by the Tourism Development and Investments Division at Dubai Tourism, aims to position Dubai as one of the world’s leading sustainable tourism destinations, in collaboration with the following partners: Etihad ESCO, Dubai Carbon, Emirates Environmental Group, Emirates Wildlife Society – WWF and Emirates Green Building Council, as well as the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, DEWA and Dubai Municipality as strategic partners.


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