Air-conditioning consumes up to 65 per cent of total power consumption in Abu Dhabi during summer. The energy sector is the highest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Moving your air-conditioner’s thermostat up by one degree can amount to up to 6 per cent power saving on cooling during summer, which will, in turn, help the nation breathe clean air.

Almost all residents are concerned about power consumption by lighting, which amounts to just 15 per cent of total domestic consumption. But most of the population living in centrally air-conditioned apartments in the cities are not so concerned about power consumption by air-conditioning as its bill is mostly paid by building owners.

Air-conditioning consumes up to 65 per cent of total power consumption in Abu Dhabi during summer. The energy sector is the highest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the emirate with 72.6 per cent, so each resident’s power consumption adds to air pollution. Minimised use of air-conditioning will help improve residents’ health by reducing carbon emissions.

As the summer begins in the UAE, a senior official shared with Gulf News interesting information on a project to minimise power consumption by air-conditioning in residential buildings in Abu Dhabi.

Through direct load and demand-limiting strategies, chiller demand can be dropped by 20 to 40 per cent for around three hours during peak hours, while the temperature inside the building shoot up by around 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius, said Ramiz Hamdan Alaileh, Manager, Powerwise Office at Regulation and Supervision Bureau (RSB).

RSB is the independent regulatory body for the water, wastewater and electricity sectors in the emirate. It has exclusive authority to regulate all companies undertaking activities associated with electricity and water production, transmission, distribution and supply.

Even residents do not notice a 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature change inside their homes, he said, while elaborating on a pilot project that started last summer on 5 residential buildings in Abu Dhabi.

He said even a one degree increase on the thermostat makes for huge energy savings and RSB encourage residents to do so during summer.

These 5 buildings were selected after surveying 15 buildings that recorded high power consumption.

A device installed on the air-conditioners in those buildings kept the temperature at up to 23 degrees Celsius. The indoor air quality, especially the presence of CO2, was also monitored constantly.

The operational energy demand dropped considerably in those buildings.

The pilot project will continue this summer and after the cost-benefit analysis, a decision will be taken on extending it all over the emirate.

Behavioral change is crucial in reducing overall energy consumption in the emirate. “Without behavioural change of residents, no expensive device can make any change in power and water consumption,” Alaileh said.

He said the RSB is conducting various measures to prompt behavioural change among residents and using the platform of the UAE Green Festival for this purpose.

The one-month-long festival, under the theme “Live, learn and have fun in a low carbon world’ is jointly organised by several government and private organisations. After the conclusion of the festival, all UAE residents are expected to have more awareness about the concept of sustainability.

The UAE has already announced a new indoor lighting standard to be implemented from July 1. A ban on incandescent bulbs as part of the new standards will help save Dh668 million per year on energy bills and carbon emissions — the equivalent to removing 165,000 cars off the road every year.