The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) is currently working with the Ministry of Environment to develop the new specifications to ensure that the ACs used in the country are equipped with high-efficiency compressors and have heat transfer surfaces, among other measures, so they can help save electricity, which along with water is available to nationals free of charge but is subsidised for expatriates, who must pay utility bills.
People’s reliance on air-conditioning in homes and offices because of the extremely hot weather most of the year means these machines are the single largest source of electricity consumption.
The plan might also see a drastic reduction in the use of, or possibly a blanket ban imposed on conventional (incandescent) light bulbs and old tubes that consume more electricity as 90% of the energy incandescent lights use is given off as heat, and only about 10% results in light.
In their place the use of fluorescent light bulbs and tubes will be encouraged as they consume 20 to 40 percent less electricity than their traditional counterparts, reliable sources say.
Rationalisation campaigns and changing laws
Qatar passed a law in 2008 to help combat the wastage of these precious utilities and launched a rationalisation campaign last year, which is likely to become more aggressive in the days to come.
The law is now being further amended to include added provisions to ensure the drive is effective. The short to medium-term aim of the rationalisation drive is to help reduce 20 percent electricity and 35 percent water consumption in the country per capita.
With a view to making the drive work, Kahramaa plans to train a national workforce that would be empowered with judicial authority to monitor the use of the utilities by all categories of users, including homes, commercial establishments and industries, and check waste.
To begin with, new school and mosque buildings are required to be designed so they are energy-efficient and can help save up to 37 percent electricity and four percent water.
Plans are also afoot to assess the energy efficiency of government buildings and take steps to make improvements in case there are gaps.
Engineering consultancy firms will likely be directed soon to incorporate energy efficiency features in building designs.
Those found on the wrong side of the law may be fined but prior to that may receive warnings through SMS.