SAVE WATER AND ELECTRICITY
Dubai is an advanced country in many ways but unfortunately this land of arid deserts and magnificent sand dunes faces a problem that is only to be expected. Currently its water consumption is the highest per capita in the world!!! Even though measures are being taken to tackle the lack of ground water, a long term solution needs to be actioned.
A desalination complex at Jebel Ali has been initiated but it still doesn’t match up to such a high consumption. So everyone, locals and expatriates, need to do our bit to save water and electricity.
TIPS TO SAVE WATER AND ELECTRICITY
IN THE WASHROOM: 30% of all indoor water is consumed by the toilet. That would be more than what is used by any other appliance or fixture. Older toilets (built before 1994), consume much more water than the newer ones. So installing a new model can save up to 82,135 litres of water per year. In fact an ultra low-flow toilet consumes just 6 litres per flush.
If it is not possible to install a new toilet promptly, at least try to displace the toilet flow by placing a gallon of water in the tank, or partition off a section of the tank.
Carry out regular checks for leaks and repair these promptly. Do not use toilets for trash because the flush must be used sparingly.
IN THE SHOWER: the third highest use of water in the home is through bathing and it is also the second highest use of energy as most like to bathe with warm water. So if you could take a quick shower, you would manage to save 76 litres of water a year.
Install a water efficient shower head with a low flow rate, as well as aerators on all kitchen and washroom faucets. Turn off the tap and avoid running water while brushing, shaving or washing vegetables. Reuse vegetable water wherever possible like for watering plants or washing floors. And always use garbage bags instead of disposals which require more water usage.
IN WATER APPLIANCES: use dishwashers and clotheswashers only when filled to capacity as this will save not only water but detergent and energy as well. Use an appliance that offers many different cycles and make sure you reduce rinsing time. Usually energy efficient washers are also water efficient.
Use insulated hot water pipes and electric water heaters to reduce the time spent for water to reach your taps, thus saving water and energy. When purchasing a water softener, look out for a more effective ‘hardness sensor’ that will automatically trigger regeneration.
IN ELECTRICALS: when cooking make more use of smaller appliances like frying pans, ovens and toasters. Flat bottom pans with tight lids are the best. A microwave oven is more efficient than the range one. But still to save electricity cook more than one dish at a time. Preheat oven just for 5 to 8 minutes but only for baking. Self cleaning insulated ovens are definitely more energy efficient. Pots and pans use up much more energy than pressure cookers. Also use minimum water for cooking and the lowest possible heat for steaming and heating.
Always allow hot food to cool down before refrigeration.Your freezer should be maintained at 10 degrees F and the refrigerator should be at 38 degrees F. Defrost it and check the door gasket for signs of deterioration on a regular basis and keep the cooling coils clean as well.
THE OUTDOORS: use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks. Use a bucket of soapy water when washing your car and make sure that your hose doesn’t leak. It should have a nozzle to stem the flow of water between rinsing. Also check for leaks in faucets and pipes. Or simply shut off and drain water lines to outside spigots. This will help prevent leaks in winter.
Check pools and spas for leaks and get them repaired promptly. Also to reduce evaporation, make sure that they are covered at all times.
IRRIGATION: water your lawns only when required as too much water will cause shallow growth. Use moisture sensors to help you plan when watering is required and make sure that you do it in short sessions in order to allow the lawn to absorb the moisture rather than all at once. Avoid watering on windy days as timing also matters. Midday is the worst time as at least 30% will evaporate. Early mornings or late evenings are ideal.
Sprinklers should be regularly checked for leaks and should be set on a timer to avoid spraying if not required. Don’t use an appliance that sprays mist as this will evaporate quickly. Also make sure that you place the system strategically so it only waters the lawns and not the pavements.
Drip irrigation is a great solution as it saves water, time and labour. All you need is a network of hidden pipes and hoses that slowly and steadily trickles water right to the roots of plants, shrubs and trees. As its levels are controlled according to the need of the plant, there is no chance of overwatering or underwatering. It also controls the growth of weeds.
LIGHTING: first and foremost open all windows and let in natural light and fresh air. Wherever possible use one large bulb rather than several smaller ones and try to buy the lowest acceptable wattage. Switch off lights whenever you leave a room and keep your light bulbs clean and dirt free to increase brightness. Make use of the new compact fluorescent lights as they are more energy efficient and longer lasting.
COOLING: basic common sense dictates that you do all heat producing tasks like ironing, cooking and laundry at cooler hours of the day. Use drapes, and shades to reduce heat entering through glass windows. Keep windows open if cooler outside and closed if cooler indoors.
Use the exhaust in laundry rooms, kitchens and washrooms to pull out hot air. Use ceiling fans whenever possible. Switch off unnecesary lights and fans when you leave a room. If using an airconditioner, set the thermostat at 78 degrees F on auto mode and clean and replace the filter on a monthly basis. And if the airconditioner is over 10 years old replace it with a more cost efficient one. Caulking and weather stripping around all doors and windows will help retain cool air.