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Thursday February 29th, 2024

ECO33: Pioneering Global Energy Conservation

Rukshan Sheriff, Director and Chief Executive of ECO33 Sri Lanka; and Dammica Wickramaratne, Chairman and Managing Director of ECO33 Group

ECO33, with its corporate office in Perth and its regional engineering support centre in Sri Lanka, leads in cost-effective energy conservation, with a unique focus on guaranteed outcomes through Energy Performance Contracting (EPC). In an interview with Dammica Wickramaratne, Chairman and Managing Director of ECO33 Group, and Rukshan Sheriff, Director and Chief Executive of ECO33 Sri Lanka, we explore the organization’s outlook and commitment to shaping the future of energy conservation.

Take us through the ECO33 journey. How have your initiatives in Sri Lanka achieved significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and power generation requirements?

In a short span, our Sri Lanka initiatives significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 47 million kilograms of CO2 equivalent and decreased power generation needs by 68,000 megawatts. This equates to a 68-gigawatt reduction and preserves over fifty thousand tons of carbon sequestered by US forests in one year, positioning us as a significant contributor on national and global scales.

Beyond the environmental impact, we’ve trained over 25 engineers, fostering a future workforce globally. Our concepts in energy efficiency improvement, energy conservation and energy retrofit are globally recognized, and we plan to expand services to major organizations in the U.S., the Middle East, and Asia, addressing the need for carbon-neutral solutions.

Collaborating through partnerships with customers like John Keells Holdings, Brandix, MAS, Taj, BIA Airport, Shangri-La Mall, and Seylan Bank, we specialize in comprehensive solutions for greenfield (new) and brownfield (existing) buildings, guaranteeing financial savings of 20% to 50% on energy bills, saving over Rs12.3 billion at today’s energy rates across all our customer sites since 2015. We’ve achieved global success, saving over half a million dollars annually in a recent project in Australia’s hotel industry. We have invitations to expand to Dubai, Oman, Singapore and Thailand, and we’re poised to assess nearly 12,000 properties over the next 5 years. Adhering to global standards, with membership in the Australian Energy Efficiency Council, ESCO at Sustainable Authority and Green Building Council of Sri Lanka, we are poised to globally expand and lead in meeting the increasing demand for energy efficiency and zero-emission solutions.

What are some of the challenges and opportunities that determine your business model in energy efficiency improvement locally and Internationally?

Energy is a pivotal component in today’s global sustainability and climate change, acting as the driving force for industries, livelihoods, and habitats. The increasing global population and digitalization expanding into remote areas have led to a substantial demand for energy. This demand supplied traditional fossil-based energy and renewable energy sources, creating challenges to cater for baseload, energy security, affordability, availability, energy transition, and climate change due to human intervention and natural causes.

Global policies are leaning more towards sustainable energy use in the current climate change challenges. Climate action is imperative, and energy efficiency emerges as one of the most cost-effective solutions. Existing buildings, for instance, can enhance their operations by investing in energy efficiency improvements, yielding better savings to support their business endeavours.

Globally, energy efficiency plays a pivotal role in climate action, particularly in the built environment, covering various sectors such as hotels, hospitals, mixed developments, apartments, and residential areas. Over the past decade, our business model has centred around energy efficiency, addressing a growing demand not only in Sri Lanka but also internationally.

Recent global events, including COP28 in Dubai, have underscored the importance of energy efficiency improvement alongside renewable energy in mitigating climate change challenges. Scientific advancements, policy developments, and technological innovations are aligning to promote energy efficiency. Countries and associations are actively emphasizing renewable energy and energy efficiency improvement.

From a business perspective, organizations worldwide are compelled to compete and achieve more with less energy consumption. The evolving landscape of energy efficiency improvement presents opportunities driven by science, policy, and business considerations.

How does your company address the wasteful usage of energy in large organizations, and what contributions has your comprehensive approach made to greenhouse gas emission savings?

Specializing in delivering tailored solutions to the private and public sectors, we empower organizations by identifying and rectifying energy waste. Our comprehensive approach has a direct, positive impact on financial outcomes, reducing energy costs and making substantial contributions to greenhouse gas emission savings—a tangible triple bottom-line effect.

As a full-scope, tier-one energy services company primarily focusing on large organizations, we align our operations with ESG indexes. Our advocacy extends to policymakers, urging expedited incentives for energy efficiency improvement initiatives, pivotal in navigating the ongoing energy transition and mitigating adverse greenhouse gas emissions. Since our 2014 entry amid heightened energy concerns in Sri Lanka, we’ve seen a notable uptick in customers’ willingness to invest in energy efficiency to stay competitive despite funding challenges and fluctuating interest rates.

Initially concentrated on hotels and apparel, our scope has expanded significantly to airports, mixed development, factories and manufacturing. As a comprehensive energy efficiency improvement company, we cover everything from audits to ongoing maintenance. Being among Asia’s few companies guaranteeing the outcomes of our initiatives underscores our confidence in our model.

Positioned as an Australian-Sri Lankan energy efficiency company, we’ve refined our game-changing model over six years, establishing a global presence and competing in the field. Overcoming initial challenges in conveying the concept in Sri Lanka, we gained support from engineering and financial management, as they see multiple benefits within a single contract. Our commitment to gender-neutral policies and equal opportunities in career advancement is evident. Collaborating with top global brands, including the global top 10 engineering and building management equipment manufacturers, we integrate cutting-edge solutions, solidifying our position as industry leaders. We are the sole representative of SMARDT magnetic bearing energy efficient chillers, solutions vendor of Schneider BMS, Danfoss PIBC, and Yuang Heng cooling towers.