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AUB wins Energy Ambassador of the Year award
9/27/2017
Safa Jafari Safa  |  Office of Communications  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 

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The American University of Beirut was recognized with the Energy Ambassador award for the year 2017 for launching its first photovoltaic power plant that mitigates the environmental and economic costs of electricity generation. The award was announced at the International Beirut Energy Forum (IBEF) for Sustainable Development 2017, specifically dedicated to sustainable energy issues and projects.

“The American University of Beirut has established a photovoltaic power plant on the rooftops of its Faculty of Engineering and Architecture and intends to expand this project throughout its campus to save an estimated $500,000 annually,” said Ziad El Zein, vice president of the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC) Board at the awarding ceremony. “The University aims to attain an area of 15,000 square meters of photovoltaic panels. Winner of the Energy Ambassador award in the not-for-profit institution category is the American University of Beirut.” 

Minister of Energy and Water Cesar Abi Khalil presented the award to dean of the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (SFEA), Dr. Alan Shihadeh, who attended on behalf of AUB President Fadlo Khuri.

“I was delighted that AUB was recognized for its solar electric power plant, which generates at least 30 percent of the electricity consumed in the Bechtel Building,” Dr. Alan Shihadeh told us. “Once we begin implementing energy efficiency measures, that figure can go much higher.” 

The photovoltaic system converts sunlight directly into electricity through photovoltaic modules. A pilot project set up 474 photovoltaic modules each generating a peak power of 315 watts, covering an area of 1,500 square meters, split over the roofs of Bechtel and CCC Scientific Research Buildings on the University campus. This system offers a power saving of approximately $40,000 per year and an annual reduction of 150 tons of CO2 emissions, estimated at 1,500 tons if all rooftops on campus are covered.

“As President Khuri said, ‘we lead by example,’ and we hope this initiative will be adopted more profusely, throughout Lebanon and the region,” SFEA’s Assistant to the Dean for Laboratories and Facilities Mohamad Khaled Joujou told us. “This initiative helps diminish the high environmental and economic costs of electricity generation through combustion of diesel. It will help alleviate part of the electricity problem in Lebanon, preserve the environment, and meet its (COP21) environmental commitment to generate 12 percent of electricity and heating demand from renewable energy sources by 2020.”

Held on a yearly basis since 2010 and supported by entities such as the League of Arab States, the European Union, and the United Nations Development Program, and with LCEC as a strategic partner, the IBEF has become the main event of the Lebanon Committee of the World Energy Council (WEC). It annually recognizes “individuals and/or institutions for their outstanding contribution to the development of sustainable energy in Lebanon and the world.” 

AUB won the award in the category of “Lebanese NGO/public institution/not-for-profit institution” for its efforts in improving environmental efficiencies, implementing technological advances, financing renewable energy projects, and displaying a commitment to sustainable and forward-thinking solutions.  

“At SFEA we have a long way to go to practice what we preach in class in terms of sustainable architecture, renewable energy, and waste reduction on our campus,” Dean Shihadeh told us. “At the same time, this award is a reminder that we are turning the corner towards a brighter and greener tomorrow.”
Story Highlights
  • ​​The American University of Beirut was recognized with the Energy Ambassador award for the year 2017 for launching its first photovoltaic power plant that mitigates the environmental and economic costs of electricity generation. 
  • The award was announced at the International Beirut Energy Forum (IBEF) for Sustainable Development 2017, specifically dedicated to sustainable energy issues and projects.​
 
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