In our desert climate, when the sun comes up it’s time to cool things down, but the type of AC unit you have and the way you use it can make a big difference to the amount of electricity you use, and to the bill that goes with it.
As Abu Dhabi continues to grow and develop, our hunger for energy is growing too. Currently, we demand over three times more electricity than the world average*, with cooling and air conditioning responsible for much of this — around 70% of summer peak electricity load*. Of course, it’s no surprise we use more than average, given the hot and humid conditions in which we live; but we need look at the challenges our growing energy demands present, and think about how we’ll be able to meet our future energy needs.
* Source: World Bank Statistics 2012
Save your energy
Air conditioning accounts for a large part of our total electricity consumption, so it’s important that we learn to use our resources wisely and reduce the amount of energy we use to keep cool. As with most other appliances, modern AC units consume less electricity than earlier designs: you can shave up to 40% off of the cost of running your older model*. When buying a new unit, try to go for one with a SEER reading (Seasonable Energy Efficacy Rating) of 13 or above, and make sure you choose one that’s the right size and type for your needs. For this, you’ll need to look at the size of the unit itself, and also consider how big the room is that it needs to chill, the surrounding environment (it’s hotter near a kitchen), how often the AC will be used and the type of thermostat settings available.
Our society is becoming more and more conscious of the need for energy efficiency, and most new AC units sold in UAE now display an Energy Guide label, which shows typical annual energy consumption. Look out for products showing the Emirates Quality Mark label, as these models exceed the minimum efficiency levels set by Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA). Another efficiency logo to look for is the Abu Dhabi Trustmark, awarded by Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council, which rates AC units depending on their type and cooling capacity.
Keep your cool
So, once you’ve bought your new, energy efficient AC unit, you might think your work’s done. But it’s also important to keep it regularly maintained, so that the filters are kept clean or replaced often, allowing cool air to flow freely; this could help you reduce the amount of electricity your AC uses by up to 30%*.
Make sure your home is well insulated to keep heat out and to stop cold air escaping, which will keep the room cooler for longer. Try closing curtains or blinds over windows during the hottest part of the day to guard against warmth from sunlight.
Chill out at home
Changing how you use AC in your home can really make a difference. The colder your thermostat is set, the more energy it uses, so try turning things up a few degrees; it won’t affect your comfort but a small change can go a long way: 1 degree Celsius can save up to 6% of your electricity consumption*.
Alternatively, you can use a programmable thermostat to make sure cool air is only there when you need it.
As well as controlling the temperature, don’t waste energy cooling rooms that aren’t being used. Turn the AC off when you don’t need it and try not to waste electricity trying to chill a room when the doors or windows are open.
* Source: RSB Powerwise
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