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Dubai carbon to provide solar lesson with rooftop panels at schools

Dubai Carbon is embarking on a project to install rooftop panels on schools to teach pupils the value of energy conservation.

The initiative will be launched alongside Etihad Esco at the first two schools next week, the Dubai Carbon chief executive Ivano Iannelli said he wants many more to join in.

“If we need to jump-start the solar rooftop industry, I think that our best bet is to align with the younger generations,” he said.

“All of the schools are welcome to get in touch with Dubai Carbon to participate in the programme – the more the merrier. This is one of those areas where quantity makes the programme more efficient.”

Mr Iannelli said schools will be involved with the installation and maintenance of the system, as well as monitoring the amount of energy generated and the benchmarking of data against consumption figures. Merely adding panels to rooftops “would not have the same social developmental value”, he said.

“What we hope to see is that the younger generation see how hard it is to produce energy and how easy it is to spend it,” said Mr Iannelli.

In terms of Dubai’s own carbon footprint, Mr Iannelli said he expects the emirate to move down a global ranking of cities with the highest carbon footprint this year.

“I believe last year we were 11th and this year we hope to decrease further,” he said.

Dubai Carbon said it had gained certification from the United Nations acknowledging a reduction in its CO2 emissions equating to 419,500 tonnes in 2016 through a number of initiatives including the 13 Megawatt first phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid solar park, Dewa’s Testiac scheme to cut the emission of harmful gases used in chillers and a project by Union Cement Company that converts waste heat into power.

“These are the emissions that the United Nations has verified and signed off against. Obviously the actual reduction number is higher, but that doesn’t come with the official blue stamp.”

He said Dubai Carbon’s focus for 2017 would be to apply lessons it has learned in reducing power and water usage to waste generation. Initiatives will include a scheme to incentivise domestic staff to recycle at source, a waste “stock exchange” linking producers and potential buyers of recycled materials, and a scheme that has been submitted to the Dubai Future Accelerators project to treat more waste within local communities.

Mr Iannelli said the project involves converting waste management rooms within local communities into waste treatment rooms. By drying out and compacting waste, it reduces volumes by 60 per cent and produces a “refuse-derived fuel” that can be sold to energy-from-waste plants.

“The numbers, at the mom­ent, demonstrate an average cost for a household of roughly Dh7,000 per year becoming a revenue stream of roughly Dh2,000 per year,” he said.

Dubai Municipality’s current waste master plan is targeting a 75 per cent diversion of waste streams from landfill by 2021.

Speaking ahead of an industry conference last November, the director of Dubai Municipality’s waste management department, Abdulmajeed Saifaie, said: “At present, an average 7,500 tonnes of solid waste is dumped in landfill in the emirate per day.

The municipality aims to reduce waste dumped at landfills with GPS tracking system, smart gates and RFID [radio frequency identification].”