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Energy-efficient Gadgets to be Made Compulsory Filed on December 21, 2009

DUBAI From next year, only energy efficient household appliances will be available in the market as UAE moves to lower energy consumption and focuses on the health and safety of consumers.

This will mean huge savings on electricity bills, safety and better health for consumers, said a senior official.

The country is regulating and setting up new conformity standards for eight household appliances and will eventually phase out products that are low on energy efficiency in three years’ time.

More than 200 local trading and manufacturing firms have been given six months to ensure that their products conform to the new standards or else face closure.

Following a risk assessment strategy, appliances that can become a safety concern for consumers are being controlled first, said Engineer Mohamed Badri, Acting Director General for Emirates Standardisation and Metrology Authority (ESMA), the organisation that is formulating the country’s first local standards for household appliances based on international guidelines.

“We have different categories of consumers that come in daily contact with household products including children, therefore it was very important to ensure that all products are safe, do not pose a health risk and are energy efficient as well,” he added.

The products that will be under the scanner include air-conditioners, refrigerators (chillers and freezers), electric stoves, washing machines and clothes dryers, electric irons, extension cords and adaptors and storage water heaters.

Over 90 per cent of the water heaters and extension cords in the country failed safety tests carried out by the authority in 2007. Nearly 50 per cent of electric irons also failed the tests. “Use of microwave ovens is a concern too because if it is not a safe product, then a high amount of radiation may be leaking out,” explained the official.

Before the products are allowed into the market, they will have to carry the authority approval seal and informational tags detailing their energy efficiency. “This will cut energy consumption and consumers will not run up huge electricity bills,” said Eng. Badri. Air, adding that air-conditioners alone comprise 75 per cent of all house hold energy consumption.

Both traders and local manufacturers will be issued certificates that will allow them to market their products. “These new standards will also allow local manufacturers to compete internationally, especially in Europe and other western countries,” he said.

For those planning to move to the UAE, the official suggested they declare electronic items upon arrival. “Or else, they may be putting the lives of their loved ones at risk. And, in case some disaster happens, they will be held responsible,” he added.

The official assured that there would be no shortage of appliances in the market after the regulations are implemented. “80 per cent of imported goods have safety certificates,” he added.

At the recently concluded UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, the UAE committed to clean energy solutions, energy efficiency, carbon emissions reduction and human capacity building in the field of renewable energy and clean technologies.

Gas Cylinders and Cosmetics, Too, Will be Regulated

Domestic gas cylinders and cosmetics will also be regulated by the authority according to GCC standards by 2011.

Cylinders will be re-evaluated in five years’ time and the authority will decide if they can be reused, said Eng. Badri.

“Legal metrology is an issue with gas cylinders. Customers may be told that the cylinder is full but in fact, this may not be the case. Therefore, we have to standardise and place quality marks on the cylinders,” he said.

“There are so many products that need to be regulated but we have a limited manpower. We have to follow a system,” he added.

Energy facts and tips

  • UAE is one of the major consumers of electricity in the world. Air-conditioning is one of the main power consumers
  • Dubai’s electricity and power demand is set to double by 2015
  • Install compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) where possible. CFLs use about one-quarter of the energy and last up to 10 times longer than regular incandescent lamps.
  • Use 18-watt fluorescent lamps instead of 20-watt lamps, and 36-watt lamps instead of 40 watts
  • Install dimmers in areas like the dining room or the bedroom. Light that is dimmed by 15% reduces energy consumption by 15%.
  • Set your AC thermostats to 24 degrees Celsius in summer and make sure you set it on automatic mode, so that it shuts and restarts at intervals. Don’t set it at a colder setting than normal, it can cause excessive cooling and higher energy bills.
  • Unplug personal computers, electronic devices and chargers when they aren’t in use; most electronics use electricity even when switched off. It is estimated that in the average home, 40% of all electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the devices are turned off..
  • Make sure you unplug your mobile phone charger when it is not in use. Only 5% is used to charge the phone. The rest is wasted by leaving the charger plugged in.
  • Leaving a computer on constantly the whole year can cost more than 1,000 kilowatt-hours per year, which is almost equivalent to the total electricity consumption of a high-efficiency household.
  • Kitchen appliances consume energy even while switched off. Make sure you unplug your mixers, grinders, juicers, blenders, pressure cookers etc from the power supply after your use.


Asma Ali Zain

Associated with KT for 15 years. Covers health issues, Pakistan community, human interest stories as well as general topics for daily news or features.

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