Broad Range of Worldwide Exposure

Creara International highly qualified international team have experience in many different regions of the world, in the developed as well as the developing countries. This range of experience allows for the best practices and techniques proven working in the developed world to be easily transferred and applied in the developing world.

Creara International presenting one of its projects as best practices for Development Program on Energy Efficiency:
Interview with Sam Gouda (SG), Short Term Expert for MED-ENEC, Lead Facilitator in the Seminar “Energy Efficient Lighting” in Cairo, February 2013

ME: What exactly are you doing in Cairo?
SG: I just concluded a workshop as a facilitator/ lecturer which I performed together with MED-ENEC, in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy on the issue of Energy Efficient lighting. After conducting two workshops addressing Energy Audit in Buildings in Algeria and Palestine, also with MEDENEC, this was a more specific workshop addressing Energy Efficient lighting including lighting audit, lighting design, EU and international standards, procurement and more. The task was to help the participants understand more about modern lighting concepts, technologies and standards to save energy, how and where to find opportunities for energy savings, and to learn how to do Cost Benefit Analysis and financial performance of EE lighting measures.

In this context the costs for energy and technologies are main factors. For example, the demand for solutions is of course more significant in countries like Palestine where the energy prices are among the highest in the region. However, I believe that not the prices but the true costs of ownership including energy consumption should be the main driving factor for governments to take initiative and enhance energy efficiency programs. This seems to be better understood by now.

ME: How about the participation?
SG: Well, the response was really great. We expected 25 participants, but 45 attended. What impressed me the most was the fact, that in addition to the participation of staff involved in energy issues from different government agencies,  many engineers and consultants from the private sector participated from the first to the last day; all together 5 working days. We can see by this that the question of energy efficiency “is on the table”, so people feel motivated to learn more about what can be done. Especially the issue of Energy Audit in lighting systems seems to be very interesting for the audience.

I was really happy with the interactive nature of the workshop and the active participation of the audience; they added a lot of value to the learning experience.

ME: After your experiences in Egypt, are there things you would like to modify coming back?
SG: It is always the question, what will be the benefits of a seminar or training on the medium and long term. From experience, in addition to the technical knowledge, Egyptian energy efficiency professionals will also have to – so to speak – market their knowledge and energy efficiency services to be able to develop projects for different clients. We learned that many are eager but still need to learn more about rather basic issues such as: how their customers view energy efficiency lighting and how the project might affect them. In terms of marketing, the participants will have to answer the question, why the client would want to invest in a project or what is the driver that would make a customer make such an investment.

Is the reason to save money? Not necessarily, customers can possibly have other more important priorities like better working or learning environment, increased productivity, safety, security etc… For example, improving the lighting conditions through modern energy efficiency lighting can reduce floor accidents in an industrial facility or contribute to a better learning environment in the classroom.

I clarified during the workshop that energy savings means different things to different people and often projects are developed due to the fact that improving conditions while saving money is the more successful approach to convince clients. The capacity to develop projects is an area that I would include in future workshop.

ME: Bringing the private and the public sector together in one seminar: How did this work out?
SG: Quite well, and we should be able even to extend this approach. It brings professional people together. For example, you find professionals from the Ministry of Irrigation and independent private sector consultants working for the UNDP delegation working together on Energy Audits for the facilities and discussing different energy efficient lighting solutions.

Also, engineers who are working for the hotel industry and consulting firms participated. Participants in charge of refurbishing and upgrading the hotel rooms in a hotel in Heliopolis, Cairo are now working on a concept together with consultants who also participated in the training where the consultants are providing efficient lighting design options for the rooms being renovated.  Now with both attending the same seminar, they were able to continue after the workshop with a much better understanding of energy efficient lighting.

Last but not least the seminar encouraged local manufactures to give bigger emphasis to improve their services in the energy efficient lighting sector. After the workshop lighting manufacturers like Philips invited all participants from the public sector as well as the private sector to a product show to introduce the energy efficient lighting solution they manufacture.

It is clear that the vision of MED-ENEC and the workshop sponsors with respect to inviting participants provided a great opportunity to have effective synergies that really made sense and improved ongoing activities.

ME: How fast can Egypt catch up to other countries in the region and – on a longer term – to Europe?
SG: First of all, we still see huge room for improvements as far as energy efficiency in Egypt. No one can deny that Egypt is still walking the first steps. But of course, the country can avoid some of the mistakes which other countries did and use better and more effective technologies. Elaborating on worldwide experiences in energy efficiency should make catching up can easier, listening to the lessons learnt from elsewhere, for instance, by such seminars provided by the MED-ENEC project will help capitalizing on successful experiences and avoid mistakes done by others.

Have a look for instance to the hotel sector. Hotels can attract new target groups from Germany and other European countries “selling” their energy saving measures, clean and green commitments. For some – not for all of course – it is of high interest to play in a different league as the Eco-clientele tends to be wealthier than other tourists. This experience was successful by the hotel industry in the Canary Islands where they understood this long ago; here at least Egypt can catch up rather quickly benefiting from the experience of others.