03 October, 2006


The brand new Zayed University campus on the Al Ain Road is nearing completion, more or less. It's an absolutely massive building in the middle of the desert, with large covered-over "outdoor" areas, and the whole thing is air-conditioned beyond the freezing point.

Can anyone tell me why then, in a country with abundant sunshine and in an institution that prides itself on being progressive, they did not build the campus to use solar power? It seems to me that they missed a huge opportunity to set an example to the rest of the city, as an institute of higher learning should. And I hear the electric bills are higher than the entire rent on their last campus. Surely a little forethought and additional expense in the construction would have paid off handsomely in so many ways for years to come?


norman said...

you heard correcctly! but why the surprise? they'll keep their semifreezze on hiring and in the meanwhile pay more for lectricity and glosy magazinesd and adverts. 'progressive' ia one overstatement.

archer14 said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but solar panels still cost a helluva lot and requires very efficient battery systems in order to really do something to cut costs drastically. Otherwise the only benefit would be that they might save around 10% of the bill, after the huge investment on solar panels. Besides, solar panels can't be used to run even an AC, when these campuses rely on AHUs.
But hey, they're conserving energy every time you pay for a parking ticket.

Mme Cyn said...

Yes, I suppose that's true, archer14.. Solar is more cost effective for heating than for cooling. But even an effort -- for heating the water in the kitchens, and perhaps lights (?)--would have been worthwhile. In some ways, it's the principle.

And it's true too that the only good thing about the parking meters in Dubai is that they are run on solar power.

Even so, why has no one covered the Empty Quarter with solar panels and run an energy plant out there? What else is all that sand & sun doing? Oil drilling can't take up that much of the surface.

marwan said...

Cyn - the probable reason why no one has ever built solar stations in the desert is the absurd expense of maintaining it all. All that abrasive sand would eat panels day and night.

Now wave power, that's an idea....

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