Extensive retrofit funded through a co-branded credit card initiative launched in 2013 will cut the electricity bills of the Abu Dhabi-based special needs school by around a third

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company ('Masdar') and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) are celebrating the Year of Tolerance in the UAE by helping an Abu Dhabi-based school for people of determination to drastically reduce its electricity and water bills.

Funds raised from a special co-branded, biodegradable credit card, launched at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2013, are now being used to finance a series of energy- and water-saving measures at the Future Rehabilitation Centre in Mohammed Bin Zayed City, which on completion will reduce the school's annual utility expenses by around a third.

A percentage of the spending on the joint credit card goes towards a dedicated Green Fund for environmental projects selected by FAB. Following an extensive audit of the Future Rehabilitation Centre by Masdar's Energy Services team during the Year of Giving in 2017, a portion of this money will now be invested to cover the cost of eight water- and energy-saving technologies at the special needs school.

The Energy Conservation Project launched today will take four months to complete and include solar panels, an advanced ventilation and air-conditioning control system, various water-saving devices, a swimming pool heat pump, LED lights, special soil additives, and the application of solar films on windows and thermal coatings on the school's roof to reduce heat gain. A monitoring system will also be installed to verify the achieved energy savings.

This special project would not have been possible without the generosity of the tens of thousands of credit cardholders who have shown just how much they care about environmental causes and the responsible use of our precious energy and water resources, said Yousif Al Ali, Acting Executive Director, Clean Energy at Masdar.

It is a proud moment to see the partnership we launched with FAB now starting to bear fruit, and a great honour to have this opportunity to work with the Future Rehabilitation Centre, an institution which is doing incredible work to support young people of determination of all nationalities in the UAE, both in the classroom and the workplace. Every dirham donated through the co-branded credit card initiative is being given back to the UAE community.

Opened in 2000 under the patronage of its Honorary President His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Cabinet Member and Minister of Tolerance and Future, the Future Rehabilitation Centre is dedicated to the empowerment of special needs children through therapy and teaching which specifically addresses their individual needs in line with UAE and international best practice.

The launch of Energy Conservation Project coincides with the 20th anniversary of the school, which also announced today that it is introducing a school-wide energy conservation programme in support of the UAE Vision 2021 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

We anticipate the improvement of learning outcomes among the students once the project is up and running, said Mowfaq Mustafa, Director of the Future Rehabilitation Centre. I believe that the better air quality will provide a healthier condition for the staff and students. The shift to LED lighting, for example, promises to improve visual acuity, which will potentially improve both our students' and staff's performance in their daily tasks.

The overall benefit of decreasing energy consumption converts to the gradual decrease in energy service payments, which has been one of our major challenges for many years, Mustafa added. The savings on energy bills could eventually be allocated to the expansion of student-directed programmes. And with that, I am thankful to Masdar and FAB for making this project a reality.

The retrofit of the Future Rehabilitation Centre is one of the most ambitious projects the school has undertaken since moving to its 5,500-square-metre, purpose-built facility donated by the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi in 2011.

Since its foundation, the school's programmes have enabled the integration of 117 students into regular schools and also helped 18 young adults to find meaningful employment in the government and private sector.

The centre has also supported the holistic development of around 1,400 individuals with various conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities and those with multiple disabilities.

Hana Al Rostamani, Group Head of Personal Banking Group at First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), said: FAB is proud to work alongside our customers to help build a greener future for all. Simply by swiping their credit card they have made a difference to the lives of Future Rehabilitation Centre students, enabling the organisation to reduce its energy consumption and direct resources where they can have the greatest impact. Initiatives like this, allied to our innovative work in areas like green bonds, are central to FAB's goal of helping people to grow stronger through access to sustainable finance and clean technology.

Source: Mubadala Investment Company