Dubai initiative to switch to energy efficient bulbs may save households Dh2,500 a year

Households in the UAE can save up to Dh2,500 a year on utility bills if they switch to energy efficient lighting, according to the Sustainable Lighting Initiative.

The potential saving by simply switching to energy efficient lighting (EEL) for the entire country is estimated at Dh495 million a year.

Incandescent, energy wasteful, light bulbs were banned from being sold in the UAE at the end of 2013. However they are still responsible for 78 per cent of lighting energy usage.

As part of the new initiative, retailers in Dubai will reduce the cost of energy sustainable light bulbs by 25 per cent from May 22 to June 5.

“We understand that people may not be focused on green initiatives with many other priorities,” Niall Watson, the founder of the initiative, said in Dubai on Tuesday. “That is why we are trying to get the message out there that you can save a huge amount of money by simply changing the lighting in your home.

“We also want to mitigate the cost of changing which is why the government and the retailers have helped with the price reduction of the efficient bulbs. We are starting in Dubai but we will roll it out across the country from October 1 for a full month.”

Ida Tillisch, the director general of Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF put it more plainly about the cost and energy efficiency of EEL.

“Switching to EEL is a no brainer because you have a return on investment within a year. The bulbs also last for 10-12 years against two years for incandescent bulbs and we a re cutting our ecological footprint at the same time, it’s a win-win.”

About 57 per cent of the UAE’s ecological footprint is generated from domestic household energy consumption, 6 per cent of which is from lighting, according to the UAE’s lighting regulations report from December 2104.

The initiative believes that by switching to EEL, the UAE could save 65 per cent of the energy consumed for lighting.

While the initiative is for domestic consumption of electricity, the Dubai government is assessing where and how it can cut its power needs.

The Roads and Transport Authority and other stakeholders are currently running tests on 25 kilometres of internal roads to assess the likelihood of using LED lighting. However, the freeways need more powerful lighting which LED bulbs cannot produce currently. The Green Building Code also now ensures developers and commercial buildings adhere to strict green guidelines.

“When you see the external coloured lights on Dubai’s tall buildings, they are almost all exclusively LED lighting,” said Saeed Al Abbar, the chairman of the Emirates Green Building Council. “We have stringent government guidelines that ensure when developers build anywhere they have to adhere to the regulations otherwise they will not get a licence to operate or be allowed to sell the properties. The government of Dubai and the UAE are serious about this.”

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