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UAE in clamp down on inefficient A/C systems

The United Arab Emirates is in the process of restricting the entry of inefficient air-conditioning units in the country and has begun rolling out energy efficiency labeling system for window type and split-system.

Through a series of initiatives that calls for more efficient and energy-saving air conditioners, the UAE expects to cut down 30 per cent of electricity consumption or save approximately Dh250 million ($68 million) per year.

Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) is currently conducting a massive educational campaign, which will increase the awareness of how inefficient units add on to household and industrial costs.

It has now finalised the energy efficiency labeling system, which allows consumers to distinguish efficient products by the stars and certificates accorded to them.

This standard deals with the energy efficiency labels for single phase household air-conditioners for single package (such as window type) and split-system non-ducted air-conditioners using air and water-cooled condensers for residential or commercial use.

“Through the energy efficiency labeling system, people can see which air conditioners are ideal for use. The labeling scheme categorizes the product from one-star to five-star, the five-star label being the most efficient,” said Mohammad Saleh Badri, acting director general, ESMA.

“Better efficiency means lesser consumption of energy. So, if you use a one-star labeled air conditioning unit, you may save up to 12 per cent but if you use a five-star labeled unit, your cost savings could reach up to 30 per cent.”

Beginning January 2012, no air-conditioning unit will be allowed entry to the UAE unless they comply with energy efficiency labeling system.

“For the ones that are already in the market place, we have agreed with the traders that they have to remove them from their inventory either by selling them or shipping them somewhere else by the end of this year,” Badri added.

“We are also in coordination with the UAE customs to develop electronic links for the traders to get access to the system and have all of their approvals before shipping the units to UAE in advance.”

“We are also discussing ways on how to encourage users to replace their existing low-efficient units. For example, we have developed software where consumers can go to our website and check how much savings – if there is any – are they getting from their current units.  In addition, we are in discussions with local governments on how to hasten the process of replacing inefficient units.”

More than 600,000 units of split and window ACs to be traded in the UAE are expected to comply with the Energy Efficiency Standard by 2013.

“We are also in coordination with our counter parts in GCC countries to have one unified system in all countries, therefore, helping traders to have their products freely access all GCC markets without different approval. We are already in dialogue with Saudi Arabia since they are in process of developing the similar labeling system,” Badri said.

Once demand for energy-saving units pick-up, the government will move to remove inefficient products from the market place.

“Air-conditioning units which are not efficient will soon cease to trade in the UAE. We are trying to get rid of low efficient products to assist the economy of the UAE,” Badri said.

“Right now we have developed the system for widow and split ACs, which are the most commonly used. We will expand on chiller type which are vastly used by commercial and industrial sector by 2014.”

Despite the global economic slowdown in 2009 and 2010, the UAE continues to see increase in energy consumption. About 70 per cent of power consumption in the UAE can be traced from the use of air conditioners.

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