UAE switching to green lights

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By mid-2013, only fluorescent bulbs and LED lamps will be used across the UAE, as Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology is expanding its range of efficiency standards to cover more electrical appliances including washing machines and refrigerators.

According to the new standards, all light bulbs sold and used in the country must have an eco-friendly rating.

Under the new rating system, which is currently being devised, only fluorescent light bulbs and LED lights will only be approved.

Mohammad Saleh Badri, acting director general of ESMA, said: “We are covering different electrical equipment and appliances gradually on a priority basis. Early next year we will announce the new set of appliances covered under the ratings system.”

The authority is also having discussions with different stake holders to study the impact of the ban and making sure that all ends are covered before any such move is implemented.

“We want to make sure nobody is adversely affected, most importantly the consumers. We don’t want to put an additional burden on the consumers because of the ban on normal bulbs, so we are studying the impact of the ban and, if possible, we will proceed if the government can subsidise eco-friendly bulbs to bring the prices down,” Badri added.

Once the differences are ascertained and regulations drafted, which are likely to be ratified by the UAE cabinet during the next couple of months, incandescent bulbs will be banned permanently.

“The regulations would effectively ban incandescent and halogen bulbs as they consume a lot of energy and would not make the cut. We urge all consumers to stop buying these bulbs and replace them with energy efficient white bulbs which will save a lot of power as well as money,” Badri said while explaining the benefits of the move.

“We are coordinating with different (government) departments to implement (the plan) at the governmental level. We are also in talks with the Roads and Transport Authority Dubai (RTA), the Department of Transport Abu Dhabi and several municipalities to see whether they can replace street lamps with energy efficient bulbs. If this happens, it will be a great achievement for us,” he added.

Meanwhile, ESMA is working hard on replacing industrial lamps and flood lights used in stadiums and entertainment arenas with eco-friendly ones.

“Our primary focus is on domestic and personal users, but we will gradually cover all types of lights, including decorative lights, flood lights etc. There are energy-efficient alternatives for all types of lightings and we will slowly push for their replacement at every level,” said Badri.

Rating Scheme

The rating systems which are implemented for refrigerators and washing machines is the same which was implemented last year for air-conditioners.

Based on the energy efficiency, ACs, washing machines and refrigerators will be rated and labeled from One to Five Star.

Explaining the rating scheme, Badri said: “We are working to decide on the cut off marks for the Minimum Energy Performance, which is 5.9 in case of AC and any product falling below the cut off is not allowed to enter the country.”

The energy efficiency rating is an important part of the overall set of standards which covers all products that have an impact on consumers. The rating is given on the basis of safety, quality and environmental aspects of a product.

All electronic products imported or manufactured in the UAE should obtain ‘Certificate of Conformity’ from the ESMA.

Mixed Reaction

With energy authority implementing the use of LED and fluorescent bulb, people are coming up with mixed reactions. Many are concerned about the prices of these bulbs while pointing out the fact that CFL bulbs are not green at all as they contain Mercury and generate dangerous radio-waves.

Most of the CFL bulbs in the UAE are being thrown out in bins and end up into landfills to pollute soil and water with mercury.

According to environmentalists, LED lights is the only option that should be considered in the long run as it is recyclable and lasts for many years.

Fluorescent bulbs are costlier compared to normal incandescent bulbs. However, they consume less power and as a result, save a lot of money.

Sources: Gulf News, Dubaiholding.com

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