Dubai: From mid-2013, all washing machines and dryers sold in the UAE will have to comply with a new energy ratings system formulated by the Emirates Standardisation and Metrology Authority (Esma ), Gulf News has learnt.
A similar rating system was established for window and split air-conditioners last year that allowed only energy-efficient ACs to enter the UAE market.
The regulations, which focus on energy efficiency as well as reduction of water consumption, cover all types of washing and drying equipment for clothes including front loading, top loading and industrial machines.
According to Esma estimates, once the system is fully implemented, the UAE, which has one of the highest per capita ecological footprints, will save 2 billion litres of water per year and reduce 42,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
“We have presented the draft to all the stake-holders, including WTO, and we are satisfied by their response. The draft is due for cabinet approval this month, after which it will be implemented,” said Mohammad Saleh Badri, Director General of Esma, speaking exclusively with Gulf News.
Once approved, Esma will begin an education campaign for manufacturers and retailers, following which they will have a six-month grace period to phase out non-compliant machines.
Around 250,000 units of washing machines and dryers enter the UAE market every year and, under the new system, every unit that will have a unique model number, will be tested. Manufactures or traders will have to submit the test reports to ESMA, which has formed an independent body to verify the reports and conduct its own tests if required.
Once satisfied with the level of compliance the authority will issue an NOC and a sticker for each unit that will specify the machine’s level of efficiency and water consumption.
“We will make sure every unit has a sticker before it reaches the stores so that the consumers will have an idea which one to buy,” Badri said.
Depending on the level of efficiency, the sticker will specify the rating, ranging from five star (best) to one star (worst).
For instance, a five-star rated front loading washing machine should not consume more than 45 watts per kg of electricity, while a one-star rated front loading machine’s energy efficiency ratio should be between 75 and 85 watts per kg.
Water consumption should also be not more than the specified capacity of a washing machine. For instance, a 7 litre or kg capacity washing machine, when used to full capacity, should not consume more than 7 litres of water per cycle of washing, which includes washing, rinsing, spinning and drying.
Apart from energy and water consumption the ratings also look at remaining moisture content (RMC) after spinning. According to specifications, in a five-star rated washing machine the RMC should not exceed 50.
Interestingly, manufacturers will have to purchase each sticker from Esma and the price of each sticker will depend on the level of the machine’s efficiency — the lower the rating the higher the price of the sticker.
“The stickers are priced in reverse order of its rating, which means the best rated unit will get a free sticker. We are doing this to encourage traders to import best-rated machines only,” said Badri, explaining the rating system.
Machines with 5-star rating will get stickers for free, while the cost will be Dh1 for 4 star, Dh3 for 3 star, Dh5 for 2 star and Dh7 for 1 star.
More importantly, Esma is setting up a mechanism to make sure the more efficient machines are not more expensive.
“We have been very careful about this issue and we will make sure that there is not much difference in price of machines rated 1 star and 5 star. Our idea is to have mostly 5-star and 4-star machines in the UAE so we don’t want a situation where these units are very expensive and people can’t afford them,” he asserted.