Summer energy savers

Energy SaversUsing low-energy light bulbs is one of the easiest way to reduce energy consumption

There are different ways UAE residents and businesses are making a difference in energy efficiency and saving money as a result. In one example, Tabreed, the Abu Dhabi-based district cooling company, has announced that its annual energy savings reached 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours last year. This translates to approximately 570,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, roughly the equivalent of removing 110,000 cars off the streets.

“In the GCC, cooling accounts for approximately 50 per cent of total energy consumption and 70 per cent during the peak summer months," says Jasim Husain Thabet, Tabreed's CEO. "With an expanding population, economic growth and diversification and continued industrialization, it is becoming increasingly vital that reliable, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly cooling solutions are utilized to meet our growing cooling requirements."

While the efforts of utility companies and large corporate organisations will have a big impact on energy conservation, experts say it is imperative that households also take responsibility in reducing energy usage.

“Increased carbon emissions have had a negative effect on the earth's climate and, as a consequence, average global temperatures are continually rising, which is contributing towards erratic and sometimes extreme weather patterns,” says Lukas Eigenmann, Director of Hitches and Glitches.

"Therefore, protecting the environment we live in is paramount. It is important that we accept responsibility for what is happening around the world – melting polar caps, 1loods, cyclones, tsunamis and so on. As individuals we are contributing to this. We are causing this detrimental climate change.”

Practising what it preaches, Eigenmann's company has undertaken various initiatives to reduce energy consumption, including installing low-energy light bulbs and water-saving devices on taps and upgrading air conditioners.

In our own residences, there are several ways to ensure that we do not waste energy, especially this summer.

"To maximise energy efficiency, especially during the hot summer months, it may come as a surprise to many households that there are simple measures they can take to reduce their electricity and water consumption significantly," says Eigenmann. "These include getting your air conditioning serviced so that it is operating effectively and setting the temperature at a constant 24C.

“Also, get your plumbing, including irrigation if you have it, checked for possible leaks, which can cause extensive damage as well as waste gallons of water, especially if you are going away on holiday."

Eigemnann also suggests closing the curtains in moms that are not in use to keep them cool and fitting windows with tinted film to reflect the sun. Unplugging electrical appliances at the wall socket is especially important when going on holiday, as it not only conserves energy, but also prevents accidents.

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority advises consumers to set air conditioners to the highest comfortable setting, as savings of up to 9 per cent on the bill can be achieved for each degree the air conditioner's temperature is raised. Most old air conditioners are not energy-efficient and can even double the cooling cost, so it is often worth investing in a new energy-efficient air conditioner and save money in the long term. For even more savings, use ceiling fans as they use roughly the same amount of electricity as a light bulb.

Energy-efficient housing

Developers are also ensuring that new homes and buildings are energy-efficient. Last month Deyaar received the Emirates Energy Star (EES) Award for registering the highest number of buildings under the programme. The developer claims it has managed to reduce carbon emissions in its facilities by 25 per cent.

"Deyaar Development has taken proactive steps to make its buildings energy-efficient," says lyad Charchar, Vice-President of Engineering and Project at Deyaar. "EES is a nationwide programme aimed at improving energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of the UAE. Set up by Etisalat and Pacific Controls, it aims to lower energy consumption by 20 per cent and reduce the carbon footprint among its customers by 20 per cent by 2015.''

Global power and automation technology group, ABB, recently won the Zayed Future Energy Prize 2014 for its efforts to drive innovation, renewable energy and energy efficiency. The company says while there has been a lot of progress in developing energy-efficient technology and practices, there are several other ways to conserve energy and generate more cost savings.

“The International Energy Agency [IEA], a Paris-based energy consumers' club, says the industry could still axe its energy bill by a breathtaking $3.3 trillion [Dh12.12 trillion] by 203S," says Carlos Pone, CEO of ABB in Southern Gulf, Kuwait and Pakistan. "The IEA argues massive savings can be made just by upgrading the efficiency of the millions of motors and motor-driven systems used in industrial applications throughout the world.

"Upgrading and improving the control of electric motors employed by virtually all sectors of industry would achieve large savings as these products account for about two-thirds of industry's electricity usage."

While technology is essential in helping energy-conservation efforts move forward, Eigenmann believes education is also vital.

"Technology will always play an important role in reducing carbon footprint, but education is the key," he says. "It is the next generation that will inherit our legacy and it is crucial that they respect the environment far better than we have, for the sake of their own children."

Source: Helga Jensen-Forde, Special to Property Weekly


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