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Saudi Arabia has taken the first step towards becoming energy efficient by holding its first ever public stakeholder meeting, the initial step in certifying an energy efficiency project under the rules of the Kyoto Protocol?s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), in Jeddah recently.

?This is a relatively small project, however it?s symbolically highly significant, as is this first stakeholder meeting. This is history in the making,? Xenel-Balderrie?s CEO, Rachad Itani, who conducted the meeting, was quoted as saying by Arab News. The project involves switching from electric to absorption chillers for the King Road Tower building and will reduce CO2 emissions by about 10,000 tons per year. This will generate emission credits that could amount to US$2mn over the project?s 10-year registration period.
It was initiated by Source Energy, part of STCC, a Saudi energy company that specialises in financing, developing and operating power and thermal utility solutions utilising tri-generation technologies to provide energy efficient district cooling and power services. The company is building an efficient power plant that will provide the King Road Tower with electricity and air-conditioning services.
Source Energy will use absorption chillers to produce refrigeration by capturing the waste heat generated by the diesel power plant. This will lower fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions. The project owners have retained the services of Jeddah-based Xenel-Balderrie to register the project as CDM compliant, in a bid to generate carbon credits that can be sold to European and Asian companies through the CDM?s financial mechanisms.
NTCC representative Ahmad Abu Hamdieh said that the switch to absorption chillers would reduce operating and maintenance expenses to provide refrigerated water to the building?s air-conditioning system by 20 per cent. However, since absorption chillers are more expensive than electric chillers, the additional expense when electric energy is so cheap can be justified only if the project owner can generate additional income from the CDM.
Antoine Nasrallah, the general manager of Faden, the company overseeing the construction of the King Road Tower, explained that the switch to modern insulating materials would increase the tower?s energy efficiency by 21 per cent compared with building practices commonly utilised in the Saudi Arabia. He said ?We expect to receive a LEED Silver certification? for the building.