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Mubadala unit banks on decarbonising buildings

24.03.2023 | 3 min read

The UAE has set a target of reducing emissions in its building sector by 56 percent by 2030 compared to 2019 levels.

This is part of the country’s broader efforts to slash emissions by 40 percent by the end of the current decade.

However, it is going to be difficult for the UAE to reach this figure, according to Ahmed Patel at Solutions+, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala, that specialises in sustainability initiatives.

“I do think it is going to take a lot of effort across the entire real estate sector to be able to hit this ambitious target,” Patel, chief business process outsourcing officer at Solutions+, told AGBI.

“But we’re very optimistic that it can be achieved. As always, there are challenges, but every day we see new technologies coming out that are helping us along this decarbonisation journey.”

The drive towards greener buildings has seen revenue at Solutions+, a wholly owned entity of Mubadala Investment Company, rise by around 20 percent a year over the past three years, Patel said.

He expects this trend to continue, helping the company to achieve its target of generating annual revenue of AED1 billion ($272.3 million) within the next few years.

Solutions+ last week signed an agreement with Mubadala Investment Company, which has a global portfolio worth $276 billion, to help the latter leverage on Solutions+’s expertise.

“We work across a spectrum of different-sized businesses, from very large all the way to startups,” Patel said.

“Once we measure the emissions for a company’s building, we identify and prioritise energy efficiency measures and develop implementation plans for them.

“This could include LED lighting retrofits or the implementation of solar PV within their building.”

One new line of business for Solutions+ is sustainable procurement, Patel said.

“We’re working towards offering this to a broader base of clients whereby we can help them to decarbonise their supply chain, which typically represents a significant part of their carbon footprint,” he said.

Occupier and investor demand for green buildings has risen in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region to 51 percent, placing it ahead of the global average of 44 percent, according to a recent report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a global professional body for those working in the built environment.

The top priorities for the MEA region are sustainable buildings that minimise water consumption (40 percent), provide a good indoor environmental quality (37 percent) and are energy efficient (40 percent).

As of 2023, about 1,500 buildings in the UAE hold the green Leed building certificate. JLL, the real estate services company, reported that more of its clients are approaching it, seeking assistance in the preparation of ambitious, yet achievable, roadmaps.