Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) customers in Egypt are voting for smart and energy-efficient systems as they become more mindful of the environment, according to Osama Bekhit, Founder and Managing Director of 365 Ecology, a top Egyptian HVAC system contractor.

He said the company hopes to drive the real estate sector's sustainable development with plans aligned with Egypt's Vision 2030 agenda.

"We are currently studying the creation of a new subsidiary that specialises in the Internet of Things in line with our growth plans and strategic vision of providing a full spectrum for the buildings of tomorrow, from energy-saving and safety to connectivity."

"We are [also] introducing consultancy services for contractors in the design phase, allowing us to support [projects] in the early stages, [thus] ensuring integrated energy-saving and smart buildings."

Building retrofit is also a vital part of the strategic plan.

"This means we scout old administrative buildings or historical buildings and perform a full refurbishment of the HVAC systems, equipping them with our latest technologies, providing energy efficiency and high performance while maintaining the original authenticity of the building," said Bekhit.

The company has delivered sustainable HVAC solutions for 60 projects in the banking sector for Banque Misr, National Bank of Egypt, Qatar National Bank, and Banque du Caire.

It has also worked on 33 mall and restaurant projects, 18 office, administrative building projects, and projects in the residential, industrial, and hotel sectors.

"We are very proud to be part of major projects that place Egypt on the map of infrastructure and development like Dubai Ports World, Amazon warehouses, and Cairo Stadium renovations," said the 365 Ecology founder.

"Lately, we've witnessed a greater interest from the healthcare and clinical sector, which pushed us to offer innovative and appropriate solutions to this vital sector."

Local investments

The company's total investments in the local market stand at more than 100 million Egyptian pounds ($6.4 million).

"We have increased our investments in the smart building industry lately by launching several sister companies that work on different aspects of the field. We also consider our partnerships as one of our vital investments with multiple foreign partnerships involving Korean, Italian, and Australian companies."

The company's ongoing project portfolio includes the Pioneers Mall in the New Administrative Capital and HVAC systems of the prestigious Bibliotheca Alexandrina cultural centre in Alexandria.

Bekhit noted that the company's projects in the education sector for the European University, El Sewedy Educational Hub, and the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime have focussed on creating a comfortable and healthy study environment by providing high air filtration to promote good indoor air quality.

He said these projects use smart systems to optimise cooling based on building occupancy and use the recovered waste heat from the HVAC systems to reheat water, thereby reducing energy costs.

"Studies have shown that an integrated and efficient building design can not only reduce the energy and operating costs of universities or any facility but can also reduce the size and cost of the HVAC system needed," he said.

Tackling Covid-19

365 Ecology launched several initiatives in the year to mitigate the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on its employees, clients, and projects.

For its workforce, apart from health and safety measures like limiting presence at sites and inside offices and supplying them with disinfectants and face masks, the company also published a manual addressing the psychological issues arising from the fear of the pandemic.

For its customers, the company offered three months of free maintenance for their installed HVAC systems.

"With the majority of the people spending time indoors, either at home or the workplace, attention needs to be paid to the indoor climate and the necessary precautions required to protect ourselves.

That's why we ran the initiative of free maintenance of HVAC systems allowing us to achieve and reach the healthy levels of air purification, better care, operation, and hygiene of ventilation systems. This ensures that air pollutants or diluting the concentrations to acceptable levels are carried out."

Bekhit admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic had and continued to affect the flow of business. Still, the company managed to ride out the initial challenges by investing in technology to stay in touch with stakeholders. These include webinars, podcasts, and a mobile app targeted at customers.

"We witnessed some minor shift and slowdown in projects but only in the first few months when the whole world was under lockdown. Today, with our agile business model and the flexibility we provide our customers, 365 Ecology has entered into new partnerships, projects and continues to deliver efficiently and on time," he concluded.

(1 US Dollar = 15.67 Egyptian Pounds)

(Reporting by Marwa Abo Almajd; Editing by Anoop Menon)


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