Keeping air conditioning maintained properly and turning up the thermostat is just as important as other more faddy green technologies in new buildings, according to an environmentalist.
Sabiha Shaikh, a coordinator at the Emirates Environmental Group said that simply changing the filters and cleaning the vents of the cooling systems could be one of the best ways to keep the equipment running at peak efficiency.
“Preventative maintenance goes a long way” she said at Cityscape in Dubai on Wednesday.
“People forget that air conditioning has to work in the dusty conditions that we have here,” she said, adding that keeping an eye on the temperature can make large difference in the amount of energy consumed.
“So many people have the temperature turned right down to 18 degrees, but it is still perfectly comfortable, even at 25 degrees” she added.
Many developers appear to be heeding the message. Speaking elsewhere at the same exhibition, Doug Kelbaugh, a design and planning director at property builder Limitless said, “In China it is illegal to set the AC lower than 26 degrees in summer. Here in the UAE most thermostats are considerably lower, anything from 18 to 23 degrees we have found.”
“This means it can be uncomfortably chilly in malls, shops, restaurants and some homes, with energy consumption unnecessarily high.”
Kelbaugh added that notching up the AC by 3-5 degrees saves up to 30% on energy bills: “It is the most obvious way for everybody to become part of the environmental solution not the problem, although this small change in behaviour must be complemented with an underlying strategy of better insulation and solar systems to make buildings even more energy efficient” he added.
This year’s exhibition has seen a change in focus from ever more grandiose launches to selling on projects nearing completion, with buzzwords relating to environmental sustainability being banded around on practically every stand.