Results highlight potential savings of over 30% of electricity and water in UAE households
Three families in the UAE took part in home carbon audits, funded by an Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy grant, to help reduce their Ecological Footprint and tackle climate change as part of EWS-WWF’s Heroes of the UAE initiative, launched in 2009 in partnership with Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD). Announcing this in a joint communiqué, EWS-WWF said that the main contributor to the country’s ecological footprint is households, which contribute 57%. It also revealed that the sector has the potential to significantly reduce its energy and water consumption and help in the fight against climate change.
The audits conducted in three households in Abu Dhabi, Fujairah and Dubai, had the avowed objective of finding out how much energy and water UAE households are using and what measures can be taken to reduce their consumption, the two agencies explained.
The retrofits, which were also carried out as part of the initiative, included shifting from traditional bulbs to LED lighting, installing Eco3 devices to improve air conditioning efficiency, installing water-saving devices and using a thermal roof coating.
According to EWS-WWF, results indicate that with the technological changes alone, households have the potential to reduce electricity consumption on an average by 37% and water consumption by 30%. On an average, each participating case study has the potential to save more than 11,000 kilogrammes of CO2 per year, saving 34% of the total carbon emissions from the three households, the report added.
The agencies pointed out that the financial savings from these audits is significant, as all three households have the potential to reduce their bills by more than AED12,000 per year by saving 54,000 kWh and the equivalent of about half million 1.5 litre-water bottles annually. The audits emphasised the fact that households could achieve additional electricity and water savings of at least 10% through implementing simple behavioural changes, such as turning off taps and switching off lights and appliances when they are not in use.
Tamara Withers, Heroes of the UAE Programme Manager at EWS-WWF, who was reportedly one of the driving forces behind these audits said: “The main thing these audits bring to light is what a huge difference a few changes can make. Technical changes in lighting, air conditioning, and water faucet devices lead to significant savings in energy and water consumption, which will not only help the environment, but also help save money as well. Many of these technical changes are available and affordable, such as energy-efficient lighting and water saver devices. These audits also help to highlight how shifting our behaviour patterns can also make a huge impact on energy and water conservation.”
The agencies believe that households in the UAE can learn more about these audits by watching the Heroes of the UAE Household Audits video at: www.youtube.com/wwfuae
The report also revealed that 76% of the UAE’s high per capita ecological footprint is due to carbon emissions mostly associated with energy and water consumption. Identifying the benefits of conserving these resources, the national campaign, Heroes of the UAE, was launched with a focus on energy and water conservation across all sectors of society – from individuals and households, to corporations, government and schools. More information about the campaign, can be obtained by visiting www.heroesoftheuae.ae
In its endeavour to raise awareness among people and corporate fraternity, the joint communiqué has added the following information: Emirates Wildlife Society is the UAE’s environmental non-profit organisation established under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan: Ruler’s Representative in the western region and Chairman of EAD. EWS works in association with WWF. EWS-WWF has been active in the UAE since 2001 and has initiated and implemented several conservation and education projects in the region. The mission of EWS-WWF is to work with people and institutions within the UAE and the region, to conserve biodiversity, tackle climate change and reduce the ecological footprint through education, awareness, policy, and science-based conservation initiatives.
Heroes of the UAE is an initiative established by EWS-WWF in partnership with EAD. It is a national campaign focusing on energy and water conservation across all sectors of society. The campaign was launched to help address the country’s ecological footprint through its four programmes: Energy, Water, School and Corporate. The initiative encourages companies to be proactive in reducing their energy and water consumption as the private sector is accountable for 30% of the country’s ecological footprint. Through its carbon audits and retrofits, downloadable business toolkit and Corporate Hero pledges, businesses can learn easy-to-adopt tactics to help them achieve a lower carbon footprint and a better bottom-line. Other initiatives under its aegis are: Energy Programme, which motivates individuals to act to reduce their energy consumption; School Programme, designed to educate and engage school children to be part of the solution through a competition and quiz, as well as making a pledge to save the environment; and Water Programme, which addresses the UAE’s per capita water consumption, which is three times the global average. The Heroes of the UAE website allows visitors to pledge to reduce their water and electricity consumption, as well as access information to help them reach the pledge.