The construction boom and rising investments in real estate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), have resulted in phenomenal growth for building technologies such as heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), lighting, and mechanical-electrical-plumbing (MEP) systems in recent years.
As all these systems operate on electricity, KSA's energy consumption has inevitably surged rapidly over past few years. Additionally, economic growth across sectors such as petrochemicals and plastics, power, water and wastewater, infrastructure, and metals and mining, has contributed to increased energy consumption.
According to Frost & Sullivan, in 2011, the energy consumption pattern in KSA was dominated by its residential sector with 54% of total energy consumption, followed by commercial sector with 29%, and industrial sector with 17%.
KSA is projected to account for over 50% of the Gulf Cooperative Council's (GCC) district cooling operating capacity and 33% of overall revenue by 2016, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.7%. KSA is highest waste generator in the GCC, which was recorded at approximately 22 million tones in 2011.
Availability of cheap fossil fuel and low landfill rates, however, have been hindering growth of waste-to-energy and recycling market in the country.
The rise in energy consumption must be addressed by developing new techniques for energy efficiency. Frost & Sullivan recommends upgrading existing systems including controls, sensors, building management systems, and performance contracting models, along with harnessing energy-efficient products and systems to help rationalise energy consumption in the country. Some techniques that can support energy-efficiency measures are HVAC, lighting, integrated building management systems (IBMS), performance contracting, and recycling. Phasing out inefficient lighting systems with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) lights is further expected to reduce annual electricity consumption by 3.2 Twh and CO2 emissions by 2.4 Mt.
KSA is spearheading the region's emerging trend towards adoption of alternative and renewable sources of energy. With strong renewable energy resource base and constant technological developments, KSA has ambitious plans to improve energy efficiency by effectively using existing systems and encouraging use of energy-efficient products.
In 2010, the Government of KSA established the Saudi Energy Efficiency Board (SEEC), as energy efficiency was identified as a national priority. Amongst others, one objective of the SEEC was to propose a national energy-efficiency plan in order to rationalise energy usage in the country. Thus, KSA's first grid connected solar power plant was inaugurated in 2011. KSA offers over $1.35bn of energy-saving potential and out of this about $1bn is an immediate addressable market potential for energy efficiency. Currently, the KSA accounts for $1.44bn of untapped energy-saving market, which translates to about 37.1 bn kWh of energy saved.
"Greener equipment should start making inroads into the KSA market. If Saudi Arabia implements energy-efficiency programmes as proposed by the electricity advisor, demand for products such as programmable thermostats, energy-efficient HVAC equipment, and other associated services and solutions is expected to increase," says Frost & Sullivan Environmental and Building Technologies Industry Manager, Kumar Ramesh.
According to Frost & Sullivan's recent study on 'Energy Efficiency in KSA', a critical challenge to development of the Saudi Arabian energy-efficiency market is lack of awareness amongst end users. To address this, Frost & Sullivan recommends that KSA should implement mandatory regulations on energy management and incentives for energy-efficient investments in order to generate awareness. It is also essential to include efficiency standards for new air-conditioning appliances, along with actions on replacing inefficient models and regulation on maintenance. KSA needs to incentivise implementation of new technology to reduce energy consumption, provide more autonomy to energy-related organisations to work towards efficiency, create awareness about the need to conserve energy, and educate end users with respect to increasing energy prices. As ongoing massive industrial development in the Kingdom is expected to raise the energy demand further, Frost & Sullivan recommends implementation of a transparent building model, showcasing periodic reduction in operational costs for new constructions as well as existing buildings, ensuring energy-efficiency.
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