Honeywell is cooling mosques and saving energy in the UAE
The plan increases the emphasis across the small emirate for both private and public spaces to become more environmentally conscious. With more than 5,000 mosques in the country, and tens of thousands more in the Gulf region, developing technology to reduce energy, while maintaining the comfort of worshippers was of utmost importance.
Declared a key energy service company by the government of Dubai, Honeywell customized its VisionPRO 8000 thermostat to better serve the large spaces of mosques and the need for better ventilation during prayers.
Gulf News Journal recently spoke with Dilip Sinha, regional manager of Environmental & Combustion Controls for Honewell Middle East, about this new technology and its impact on the region.
GN: Why did Honeywell specifically choose to create a thermostat for mosques?
DS: Honeywell is a trusted name across many industries and is a leader in the field of temperature control performance. The firm excels in developing new and innovative technologies, and takes great pride in its ability to take products created by its global research and development team and customize them to suit geographic, cultural or client needs anywhere in the world.
The VisionPRO 8000 Mosque Thermostat was originally designed to provide optimal comfort and energy savings in homes and offices, and was customized for the Middle East market after consultations with mosque caretakers found there was a gap in the market for an intelligent AC system [that] could automatically lower temperatures five times a day during prayer times.
The mosque thermostat is testament to Honeywell’s commitment to providing its customers in the Middle East with clean, energy-efficient and locally relevant solutions. With this unique solution, Honeywell hopes to make mosques in the region more comfortable and more conducive to comfortable prayer experiences, while also providing an intuitive and energy-efficient solution for a mosque’s administration.
GN: How and why is the technology different for these specific types of buildings?
DS: Mosques often house large and open interior spaces, and are usually energy intensive to cool, especially during the summer. Consequently, ensuring a comfortable yet energy-efficient environment five times a day during prayer time is a challenge across the Middle East region.
To address this challenge, Honeywell customized the VisionPRO 8000 Mosque Thermostat to keep temperatures in mosques at optimal levels effectively, accurately and automatically.
To do this, Honeywell’s thermostat for mosques comes with a feature called ‘auto-azan,' which detects prayer times according to the mosque’s location, and lowers temperatures automatically during peak times when it can get crowded, while saving energy when the building is less occupied.
GN: Is the project very different than other thermostats created by Honeywell?
DS: While the VisionPRO 8000 Mosque Thermostat in itself is not very different from other technology created by Honeywell, it is the way it has been adapted to serve the needs of the region [that] makes it special. Having an automated thermostat [that] maintains different temperatures during different times of the day, or [that] turns on or off at prescribed times, is not new. Having that technology programmed to automatically calculate prayer time year-round is new and very different - especially when it can raise and lower temperatures to mirror the footfall of worshippers coming in to pray.
GN: How is this technology environmentally friendly?
DS: Nearly 50 percent of all Honeywell products are linked to energy efficiency, and the VisionPRO 8000 Mosque Thermostat certainly helps save energy by conserving energy used to cool a mosque in between peak times when worshippers arrive to pray. While we are still working on the specific saving figures for mosques in the Middle East, suffice it to say they are substantial.
GN: What has been the response of the emirate government to this technology?
DS: Earlier this year, the government of Dubai officially accredited Honeywell as a key energy service company with the necessary expertise and technology required to support the UAE’s ambitions of becoming a green economy world leader through advanced energy efficiency solutions.
As part of the UAE’s long-term Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative, which seeks to create a sustainable environment for economic growth, Dubai aims to reduce its demand for energy by 30 percent by 2030 through a range of programs and policies in the areas of energy, agriculture, investment and sustainable transport in addition to new environmental and construction policies that aim to raise the quality of life in the country.
GN: Do you have plans to introduce the thermostat in other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)?
DS: Yes - the technology is available across the GCC states, after having been tested extensively in Sharjah, UAE.
GN: Are there future plans for other projects similar to this one in the UAE or the GCC as a whole?
DS: Honeywell’s Middle East team will continue to work with the global R&D team to design products [that] will better serve our regional customers. With the VisionPRO 8000 Mosque Thermostat, the team observed how caretakers of mosques used their thermostats, and measured the ebb and flow of worshippers as well as the temperatures required to ensure optimal comfort. Moving forward, we will certainly be looking at other ways to provide innovative solutions [that] will improve continue provide an enhanced quality of life, as well as operational efficiencies.