Lessons on Retrofits from Ras Al Khaimah and How to Cut Electricity Consumption by 60% or More

This week, Eco-Structures was invited alongside public and private stakeholders to the launch of the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Retrofit Program, attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah, and other public and private stakeholders. 


Buildings are responsible for over 50% of all electricity consumption in Ras Al Khaimah

Retrofitting has proven to be an effective demand side management tool to reduce overall energy consumption. The speakers presenting on behalf of the ministry underscored the importance of the retrofitting initiative as one of the 9 programs carefully crafted in the 2040 RAK Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Strategy. Read the LinkedIn article by the Senior Manager of REEM for more details on the Retrofit Program.


“We have learned from experiences that have been accumulated in the region" - Andrea Di Gregorio, REEM Director 

The program launch celebrated the signing of the first Retrofit Contract for Municipality Buildings between RAK Municipality and Enova, a joint venture between Majid Al Futtaim and Veolia. The Retrofit Program is initially aimed at government buildings but plans to fully extend next year to commercial buildings and, by 2021, to residential buildings. 

Residential buildings constitute roughly 69% of the share of buildings in RAK and consume 32% of the electricity, whereas government buildings comprise 23% of the buildings and consume 21% of the electricity in the emirate. 


Older villas consume approximately 350 kWh/m2 each year whereas new villas typically consume 180 kWh/m2 per year

In September 2018, Masdar launched a Model Villa Initiative in partnership with RAK as part of its Retrofit Program. Masdar brings its experience from the Abu Dhabi Eco Villa, with its cutting edge efficiency measures, including high insulation and proper orientation. The 405 m2 Masdar Eco-Villa with its 8-10 ton VRV chiller is reported to consume 97 kWh/m2 per year, a significant improvement over business-as-usual.


Retrofitting the Eco-Villa with TermoDeck’s thermal energy storage concrete slabs – a low cost HVAC system that primarily relies on local materials and labour – would lower its chiller requirements to 4.5 tonnes (90 m2/ton), and further reduce its annual energy consumption, while providing a healthier, quieter and more comfortable indoor environment. TermoDeck is not a product added to a structure, but rather a way of tapping into the thermal properties inherent in concrete structures by designing a more efficient HVAC solution. 


TermoDeck’s villas in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia reduced installed chiller capacity by roughly 60%, averaging 40 tonnes of refrigeration used by conventional air-conditioning compared to 15 tonnes of refrigeration for air-conditioning systems using TermoDeck. TermoDeck’s air-based radiant and mechanical (passive + active) HVAC system is proven in Saudi Arabia to consume 63% less energy than comparable conventional HVAC-designed villas and are cheaper to build than conventional villas. No other energy efficient technology costs less to build with, and is able to slash consumption while achieving award-winning occupant comfort and indoor air quality.


"If TermoDeck were used in 1 of 10 newly constructed buildings, annual CO2 emissions could be reduced by 114 million tonnes…" - World Wildlife Federation 

Employing solar PV together with TermoDeck’s energy storage would meet and exceed any energy savings and CO2 targets, much needed in this region that claims four of the world’s five biggest per capita CO2 footprints. Although solar PV requires investment, as does retrofitting to tap into thermal energy storage properties, designing with TermoDeck’s hollow core slab HVAC system at the outset can produce cost savings on construction and also slash electricity consumption by 30-65% depending on the building type. 


For the Retrofit Program, buildings that have hollowcore slabs within the structure can benefit from TermoDeck’s concrete thermal energy storage solution. Building and retrofitting with TermoDeck can help achieve our common goals to reduce electricity consumption and lessen energy loads. Looking towards the future, combining renewable energy with TermoDeck’s low cost thermal storage in new buildings is the most effective way to optimize demand side management and to meet and one day exceed RAK’s 2040 energy targets.

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