We all know it’s a bad thing to waste precious resources like electricity, and Abu Dhabi residents are becoming increasingly aware of the need to “go green”. It doesn’t take much effort to change your habits and become more energy efficient, which will not only save on bills but also help the environment and improve your quality of life. Here are some simple tips to set you on the road to a more energy efficient future.
Around the home
Air conditioning accounts for about half of all electricity consumption in Abu Dhabi. So, although it’s tempting to switch the AC to ice-cold when it gets hot outside, it’s worth remembering that 24° Celsius is the ideal temperature to balance comfort and economy. As well as turning the thermostat up, it’s important to have your AC system serviced regularly to make sure everything is working efficiently.
Instead of leaving the water heater on all the time, try turning it on just half an hour before your bath or shower, or install timer switches to heat the water at night so that it’s ready for you in the morning.
Get into the habit of turning off lights around the house when they aren’t being used; this is an important lesson for others around you to learn, too. You can reduce your lighting bill by as much as 90% by replacing those old bulbs with modern LED or CFL bulbs. Of course, where possible it’s better to use natural light in place of the electric version.
Always unplug electric appliances when they’re not being used. Leaving devices like TVs or laptops on standby power wastes a lot of electricity that can be easily avoided.
In the kitchen
Freezers and fridges are an essential part of life in a hot climate like ours, but they need to be used efficiently to avoid wasting electricity. Defrost your freezer regularly and keep it as full as possible so it uses less power to keep the contents frozen. Don’t over fill your fridge, and try not to keep opening and closing the door all the time or the cold air inside will escape.
This works for electric ovens too; if you keep opening the door to check how your cooking is doing the heat that has built up inside will escape. When cooking on a stove, try to use pots that are the same size as the hotplates to retain heat. It’s also a good idea to lower the heat slightly, so that your food cooks evenly and pots and pans don’t boil over. You can even turn off the power a few minutes before everything’s fully cooked, as the food will still keep cooking for a while.
Using your appliances
Today’s electrical appliances don’t need as much energy as older models. So if your washing machine, dishwasher or refrigerator is more than 10 years old you’re spending more money on electricity than you need to. Replacing them might be an expensive business, but it could save you a lot of money over time. To help you compare different products, more and more domestic appliances sold in the UAE now display a special label with an energy rating showing how efficient it is.
Dishwashers and washing machines are two of the biggest energy guzzlers in your home so it’s important to make sure they’re fully loaded before you switch on. If possible, avoid using hot water and chose a cool or warm cycle instead. Better still, if your machine has an eco cycle, try to use that when possible.
In general, only use the energy that you need. For example, when you feel like a cup of tea or coffee, don’t overfill the kettle but boil only enough water to make your drink.