Sharjah unveils ideas to conserve water, electricity - GulfToday

Sharjah unveils ideas to conserve water, electricity

Earth-Hour

Al Majaz Waterfront marked Earth Hour.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

SHARJAH: The Earth Hour observed from 8.30pm to 9.30pm all over the world on March 30, Saturday, has revealed innovative ways on how one could and still can conserve water and electricity, not only in recent years but from years back, practices of which have been successfully passed on from elders to the future generation.

Gulf Today got hold of some of these from friends. It was noted that some were unaware of the global initiative which began as a simple ‘lights off event’ in Sydney, Australia in 2007 for climate change consciousness.

Philippine Embassy in Amman, Jordan, Second Secretary/Consul Ferdinand Flores, former Philippine Consulate General-Dubai consul, has imbibed what his mother had taught him.

“I schedule washing dishes as a bunch so I do not have to wash one glass after use and wash all at the same time. It is from my mother who checked on how we washed all the plates and kitchen utensils back then,” he said.

The Flores household was trained to “rinse the things on top of the dishes so the rest at the bottom would get a good wash before we even start working on them.” United International Private School-Dubai Community Relations manager Jennifer Gonzales does not wash her clothes every Friday since informed by a friend whose husband works at the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority that water consumption is extremely high during weekends.

She washes her clothes twice a month and added: “I have lots of (innerwear),” when this reporter asked her twice about this seemingly odd habit. Common tips were from Sharjah couple Sebastian and Cynthia Fernandes, and another Sharjah resident, Sarah Falcon.

They use LED bulbs and lamps. They switch off appliances when not in use and double check that all sockets are in the off mode. They use the AC timers.

Falcon’s flat is full of lamps using LED bulbs because the ordinary ceiling lights consume more energy. She allows sunlight to flow in during daytime. It is totally black out from 11pm to 5.30am.

Falcon lives in an apartment building with centralised airconditioning (AC) system. Hence, she leaves the AC at the minimum when not home because more energy would be saved that way than a total switch off.

“I am from the Philippines where we were trained to save wherever we can,” she said.

The Fernandes couple use five-star rated ACs: “Usually, within two hours of falling asleep, the body temperature drops. Therefore the level of airconditioning required is not the same when you are awake and active. We use the remote control to programme the on/off times/cycles for night use.” Sebastian’s tip for those planning to build or refurbish a house: “Ensure that the wiring is completed with copper wire. This saves a lot of energy, when it comes to energy loss by heat even though the initial expenditure will be higher. Copper is a better conductor than aluminium. It is also much more flexible and durable than aluminium.” Sharjah housewife Raquel Galapate and her brood of three have managed to cut down on their Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) bills by consciously practising ‘simple routines’. Sewa budget allocation is the priority deduction in the family income which has become an assurance that all their monthly financial obligations are paid on time.

The Galapates do not use detergent but use a more effective de-greasing substance in cleaning their bathrooms. This is because the water consumption level when using detergent is higher as opposed to using the latter. They observe the limited use of electricity by the minimum use of the AC which they automatically switch off every day at noon when in use. They take a bath with the use of a big tub and water dipper, maximise the use of the washing machine, and they brush their teeth using only one glass of water in hand.

Over in Sharjah’s Al Majaz Waterfront Park, all the restaurants plunged into darkness and their customers enjoyed a candle-lit dinner for an hour from 8.30pm on Saturday.

Over in Dubai, Studio M Arabian Plaza Hotel & Hotel Apartments switched off the external façade lights, public indoor areas and all other electrical appliances.