Sustainability is a ‘smart’ investment

As most companies across the Middle  East and even globally have  admittedly grappled with sustaining businesses during the ongoing pandemic, Sharjah-based environmental, recycling, and waste management company Bee’ah has witnessed a situation beyond ‘business as usual’.

Speaking to Construction Week, Bee’ah’s group chief executive officer, Khaled Al Huraimel said: “People have realised now more than ever the importance of keeping your city and community clean. What has become a top priority for individuals and governments alike now and has remained our core business for years.”

The company was actively involved in the UAE’s National Disinfection Programme to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“We at Bee’ah carried out disinfection operations across government buildings’ internal areas,” Huraimel said.

“Sharjah is on its way towards a sustainable future and Bee’ah is leading the way in the journey. On our part, we have already achieved the highest landfill diversion rate in the Middle East in Sharjah.”

The company stated in July that it will convert 47ha of Al Saja’a’s landfill area into a solar energy facility in the emirate. The facility is expected to be the region’s first solar energy landfill project, set to generate more than 42MW of energy per year.

In a life and business-altering pandemic situation, where does sustainability rank, and does it come with a cost?

“Sustainability is not a cost, but an investment. In the field of sustainability, government support is critical to achieving goals. Bee’ah’s model has been successful in that fashion.”

In a post-COVID environment, we will definitely see people turn towards going more sustainable and digital, driving investments in both fields.”

While it prides itself on pioneering sustainability in the region, Bee’ah is also making strides in digitalisation, healthcare, and (sustainable) transport.

As part of its overall vision, the company believes in two key pillars for new economies: sustainability and digitalisation, having fully digitised its waste management operations, Huraimel said.

As part of its attempt to marry sustainability with technology to embrace a digital sustainability model, the company’s new AI-integrated headquarters, The Office of the Future, is set to be complete by year-end.

“It [The Office of the Future] will not be only one the sustainable buildings in the region, but also among the smartest and the first to have complete AI-integration,” Huraimel told Construction Week, adding that work on the Zaha Hadid Architects-designed building is progressing well.

The AI technologies employed for and incorporated in the functions of the building include predictive facilities maintenance; smart security; and innovative digital twin technologies.

“We already have a digital twin model in our existing office as part of our testing procedures. We have modelled hundreds of AI-use cases to ensure staff happiness and productivity as well as delivery of company objectives.”

The building, Huraimel explains, will be connected to an ERP (enterprise resource planning) software, enabling all employee service functions. In addition, the building will be LEED-Platinum-certified and powered with renewable energy.

The Bee’ah app will deliver smart workplace associated features, making the journey to and from office smart, efficient, and sustainable.

The building will be equipped with facial recognition security systems and a smart concierge. “The whole experience will be touchless and contactless, befitting the post-COVID environment,” Huraimel explained.

For the future, Bee’ah is focused on cementing its position as not only a regional but also an international player in the waste management and environmental services market.

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