ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Lebanon 2017 | ENERGY | B2B

As with many things, Lebanon's biggest players, when it comes to energy efficiency, hone the skills they learn at home to conquer markets abroad, and vice versa.

Jacques R. Chahine
JACQUES R. CHAHINE
General Manager
EDESSA
Ronald R. Diab
RONALD R. DIAB
Chairman
Energy Efficiency Group (EEG)

How has your company evolved recently?

JACQUES R. CHAHINE We set up EDESSA in 2000 by taking over the business of Dames & Moore, a US consulting and engineering company in Lebanon whose main activities were environmental, marine, and construction management. Therefore, we evolved into these same lines of business. We had its support while setting up our own independent company and were able to continue with the same clients. Since then, EDESSA has grown with offices in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Lagos, Nigeria, and we are active in Qatar on a project basis. We have continued to be as aggressive as if we were still an American company. We kept the same mentality and have done projects from Tajikistan to Mauritania and Nigeria. Qatar has been on and off, and now the political situation is changing. The next opportunity for us is Iran. We see an opening there and a change in policies in the region. Closer to home, of course, is Syria. We have worked in Syria before on various projects, and its reconstruction should involve a lot of Lebanese companies. We are looking at how to develop that market already.

RONALD R. DIAB EEG's story began with National Energy Consultants (NEC), established in 1996 as the first energy services company (ESCO) in Lebanon and one of the first in the MENA region. NEC's focus was solely on energy auditing and energy efficiency, which were continuously developed across the years. In 2006, NEC set up a new ESCO with a leading regional facility management group MMG, which was later called EEG. Six years later, NEC and EEG merged their operations under EEG. In our combined 22 years of operations, we have always focused our development on several key parts: our internal resources, technical expertise development, and the evolution of our core service that paved the way for efficiency projects, our energy audits. Our approach has always been boutique services, which leads to greater customer satisfaction; today, the largest part of our business comes from referrals and repeat clients. Though we began in Lebanon, we also opened a separate entity in Cyprus in the early 2000s, now considered the leading energy auditing company there. We also work through our partner MMG wherever it is located. In addition, we use our base in Lebanon to carry out projects internationally, especially in the hospitality industry. Our key achievements are our client credentials, which include a large number of landmark properties in Lebanon and abroad.

What are some of your main focuses today?

JRC In the environmental field, the biggest project is the rehabilitation of the Normandy landfill. We started this project as Dames & Moore, and EDESSA finished it. It involved marine works to build the sea defenses and waste treatment site to make it suitable land for construction and prime real estate. We are currently involved in marine works on the gas importation project. The idea is to import gas into Lebanon, for which several floating terminals must be built. We also recently built the Zardman Group's offices in Jal el Dib in Lebanon. Originally, we went into construction through our environmental and consulting work, which is why we have done a lot of industrial projects. For example, we came in as consultants to design a waste-water treatment plant, and because there are not many contractors that construct these facilities, our clients asked us to continue and do the construction work as well. Thus, little by little we have moved more into the traditional construction market.

RRD Our strategy has been to cover every sector in every local market in which we have an entity, whether it is Lebanon, Cyprus, or Qatar. These include hospitality, industrial, institutional, and so on. However, we consider the hospitality market our global focus, as we have gained international expertise and success with a number of landmark properties across 23 countries. Having this expertise and credentials are the two ingredients to go after a vertical market globally and the reason we have nurtured and focused on the hospitality market, mostly in EMEA and Asia Pacific. To name a few, EEG has completed works for the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, Milan, and Bahrain; the Raffles Hotels and Resorts in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Seychelles; and the Sun Resorts Group in Mauritius, which includes five properties in Mauritius and one in Maldives. In Beirut, we have worked with the Four Seasons, Phoenicia, Vendome Intercontinental, Mövenpick, and Le Gray.