As a global leader in business and lifestyle innovation, the UAE is headed towards a sustainable future. Under the directive of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, there are several initiatives already in place to support the switch to clean energy.
For example, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has just announced organising two events in October to increase dependence on renewable resources. The 19th Water, Energy and Environment, Technology Exhibition (WETEX) and the 2nd Dubai Solar Show will both take place in October to move things along with regards to implementing new clean energy solutions, such as photovoltaic (PV) panels.
The solar panels on the top of Dubai’s buildings will produce environment-friendly electricity and help reduce the carbon footprint in Dubai, as well as keep other environmental elements healthy. Until such time comes, there are super-smart hacks we can all employ to help Mother Nature and grow our savings account in the process. Here are twelve tips for saving money on utility bills in Dubai.
RATIONALISE YOUR AC USE
Since the UAE uses extraordinary amounts of energy on air-conditioning, let us start there. The following hacks should be particularly noted if the so-called chiller charges burn a hole in your pocket each month. If the cost of AC is included in your rent, you won’t exactly save money with the tips below, but you will help the environment.
Tip 1: The higher you set the temperature, the lower your AC cost. The good people at DEWA suggest you set your device to 24 C (or higher) – a comfortable temperature that should work well for everyone while saving power.
Tip 2: If your AC doesn’t already feature a programmable thermostat, invest in one. Whether you’re at work or on holiday, your AC will switch on for just enough time to help prevent temperature build-up (and mould formation ) at half the cost.
Tip 3: Is your air conditioner always set to ‘ON’ or ‘AUTOMATIC’? Having it set to ‘ON’ all-day is a total waste of power as the ‘AUTO’ option reacts to any perceptible temperature drop and acts accordingly.
Bonus tip: The older your AC is, the more layers of dust and dirt its got in the filter resulting in energy waste. If your AC is a decade old, it’s time for a complete overhaul. Buying an energy-efficient model is the smartest and the most environmentally-conscious choice.
apply the ‘TURN IT OFF’ RULE
Leaving the AC on is certainly not the only way UAE residents lose a lot of money (cumulatively speaking). We all have our reasons to leave our appliances switched on – like having a lamp welcome us to the apartment after a night out, or keeping the water heater on for fear of missing a shower. But the ‘turn it off rule’ should be a part of everybody’s energy saving vocabulary – especially since nowadays we employ more electronic gadgets than ever.
Tip 4: Take the time to switch off all your devices before leaving the room. Some of your friends might misconstrue this as an act of stinginess, but switching off the lights, the ceiling fan or the water heater when there’s no need for them should be considered normal.
Tip 5: Apply the ‘switch it off’ rule to pointless commodities such as the pre-rinse cycle on your dishwasher (most modern dish washers do just fine without it) or using a dryer when it’s 40C outside and you have a terrace.
Tip 6: If your iPhone isn’t charging, do you need to leave the charger plugged in? Despite popular belief, everything that’s plugged in does draw energy and increases your carbon output. It’s called ‘standby’ power loss, although some refer to it as ‘phantom’ or ‘vampire’ electricity. So before heading out to work, take a second to unplug your power strips.
Bonus tip: Experts say ‘standby’ power consumes 5-10% of your household’s electricity usage. If your electronic devices like computers, speakers and printers go into ‘standby’ mode, reprogram them and avoid one of the silliest ways to lose money. Alternatively, invest in a so-called smart power strip that automatically shuts down your devices when they go into ‘sleep’ mode.
BUY COST-EFFICIENT DEVICES
When shopping for new house appliances, try not to fall for discounts or a sleek design. What you need is a device that consumes the minimum amount of power, yet works just as well as a standard product.
Tip 7: Whether you’re in Mall of the Emirates, Lulu or Carrefour, try, and you’ll unearth many cost-efficient appliances. These products will have so-called ‘energy rating labels’. For example, the most energy-saving dishwasher will have an A+++ rating. Some of these will cost a little more, but you will get that money back in the long run.
Tips 8: It’s not just bulky appliances like dish washers or refrigerators that waste energy. Energy-saving lighting will significantly help reduce your utility bill in the long run. Halogen incandescent, CFL and LED light bulbs are all great and cost little to nothing.
Tip 9: Most laptops consume around 80% less energy than a desktop computer. So if you really want to be saving money on utility bills in Dubai, switch to a notebook. Similarly, the larger a TV screen is, the more power it uses. Do not buy the biggest HD screen you can find in Dubai Mall if you’re keen on saving/helping the environment.
Bonus Tip: You can also save on water consumption by procuring a water-saving shower head.
outsmart your appliances
The following small hacks could also be misinterpreted for tightfistedness. But if someone accuses you of being stingy, you can introduce them to the term ‘thriftiness or’ ‘frugality’ (being economical with money or food).
Tip 10: Don’t ever switch on your washing machine or dishwasher for just a few items. You can save potentially hundreds of dirhams on a yearly level by switching these energy-depleting devices on only when fully loaded (which in the case of the washer should be three-quarters full). Your ancestors have done it for centuries – you can wash one or two shirts by hand.
Tip 11: Start practising the ‘Two meals in one go’ rule. Say you’re grilling something for dinner and you have extra meat in the fridge for tomorrow’s lunch – is it really penny-pinching if you do them both at the same time? Not really.
Tip 12: Experts say that turning off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth can save up to 200 gallons of water per month! Need we say anything more?
Bonus tip: For more ideas on how to reduce and save money on utilities in your UAE home, visit Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, DEWA’ s official website, www.dewa.gov.ae. Or else, download DEWA’s smart app.
We hope we’ve given you some good advice on how to save money on utility bills in Dubai. For more home improvement, DIY and budgeting advice, make sure to subscribe to MyBayut. To find a cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly home in Dubai, browse villas for rent in The Sustainable City.