Jamal Jawhari, CEO of SAFID, a regional engineered air solutions company and an HVAC expert, is currently working toward providing innovative and energy efficient air systems that improve the quality of indoor air while reducing the region’s carbon footprint. As a supporter of LAU, Jawhari has established an annual scholarship for needy and deserving students.
Q: Are current HVAC technologies still viable for green and sustainable buildings?
A: Like any other technology, the HVAC sector is being continually developed into smarter systems. Old methods are being redeveloped and new products are being introduced, leading to better indoor air quality while utilizing less energy and reducing carbon emissions. If we don’t stay abreast of the sector’s news, developments and innovations, we will be left behind.
Q: What are the new HVAC trends in energy saving and environment protection?
A: There is the demand-controlled ventilation and air conditioning, which — by using advanced sensors and control technology — allows the system to work only when it is required. Another trend is solar cooling, which uses solar energy to power air conditioning systems. Shifting from rectangular to round ducts for indoor distribution of cooled air has also been proven to be more energy efficient. There is a shift toward the building of district cooling plants for large projects as an alternative to numerous units, thus reducing the energy consumption of the entire area.
Q: What are the challenges facing green HVAC in the region, especially for the Gulf countries?
A: Due to their geographical location, the Gulf countries have a naturally high demand for HVAC. However, because of new building codes and regulations, there are a lot of initiatives for more green buildings, and here lies the challenge. Designers and contractors need to be educated in the new technologies, in their long-term advantage for both people and the environment. Not to mention the long-term commercial advantage for project owners.
Q: Are governments providing any support to encourage sustainable building?
A: Yes, governments are aware of the new trends, and new building codes are being imposed on new projects, but it is not only the governments that should be making an effort. We should also support them by educating our clients and project owners in the new technologies and the benefits of energy efficient systems.
Q: What should LAU students looking for a career in HVAC concentrate on?
A: The career growth in HVAC is very promising, and students should take courses that focus on energy consumption and efficiency to provide them with the tools to develop value engineering on projects. I am sure this will add value to their CVs as potential candidates. I would advise them to believe in themselves and be passionate about what they do.
Q: Would you like to add anything else?
A: Nowadays, technology is moving very fast, so I suggest that students read and follow trends in parallel to their studies. Keep abreast to stay alive.