Generally, the buildings (residential, governmental, and commercial) in Saudi Arabia are characterized with severe excess of electrical usage, whether in air conditioning, lighting, equipment, and other devices, as buildings consume 80% of the electricity produces in Saudi Arabia, where as air conditioning represents 50% of this consumption.
According to the annual report of 2011 of Electricity & Cogeneration Regulatory Authority, consumption in Buildings Sector for participants’ categories and levels of their consumption reached more than half of the sold electricity. Consumption categories on the level of Saudi Arabia are divided as following: residential sector: 51.2%, commercial sector: 13.6%, governmental: 13.4%.
With regard to consumption methods among consumers in the various working regions, the Authority clarified that the industrial consumption overwhelms the eastern working region, as it reaches 45% of the total consumption in the region, where are the residential one is the dominant in other working regions, as it oversteps 50% in middle working region, and 62% in western working region, and it reaches its peak in south working with 70% of the total consumption in the region.
Report of Ministry of Water and Electricity for the year 2011 on the total electricity energy sold to the residential sector revealed that it reached 109.261 gigawatt/hour, i.e. approx. 50% of the total energy sold in the Saudi Arabia. While a study conducted by the Electricity & Cogeneration Regulatory Authority displayed that the residential sector consumes more than half of the electrical energy in the Saudi Arabia, where air conditions loads represent 70% of the consumption.
Governmental and Commercial Sector
On 29/4/1405, honorable royal order No. 7/905/M, necessitates on governmental agencies to minimize electricity consumption in the existing governmental buildings, and use thermal insulation in the new buildings. This was followed by issuing a circular from Minister of Water and Electricity implies utilizing thermal insulation in all public and private buildings, considering it as a condition for electricity connection, where electricity will not be connected to the building unless verifying that the applicant has submitted thermal insulation application. A study conducted by Saudi Electricity Company revealed that lighting consumption rate in some commercial buildings exceeds 30% of the total consumed energy for the optimal lighting usage.
Challenges face energy efficiency efforts in buildings
Electricity low bills, as the average of electricity bills for 65% of participants is less than 100 Riyal per month, consequently there is no motive to rationalize consumption. Moreover, bills’ low prices do not encourage investment in energy efficiency neither in new houses nor upon renovating old ones. Prevalence of low efficiency devices due to low awareness of energy efficiency, which lead consumer directly to buy low efficiency devices, in addition to restricted motives provided to the consumer to replace low energy efficiency products by high efficiency ones.
70% of residential buildings are thermally not insulated.
Weakness of supervision and product control standards, as there are no mechanisms to supervise products. Moreover, currently there are no specifications, standards, or mechanisms to control insulation and lighting products.
Energy consumption rationalization methods in the public buildings (residential, governmental, and commercial)
Air conditioning :
- Enhance central air conditioning efficiency and cleaning ducts and filters.
- Disassociate air conditioning from lighting, in order to control each part separately upon necessity.
- Conduct regular maintenance for air conditions to assure high efficiency performance.
- Use timer devices to switch the air condition off when it is not required.
- Avoid having windows and doors open when air condition is on.
- When central AC is on, other units should be off, and vice versa, to save electricity.
- Clean AC filter regularly (every other week)
- Switch AC off upon leaving the office, room, and house.
- Set AC thermostat on 23-25 C, which is the perfect temperature for healthy and comfortable air conditioning.
- Choose AC capacity and sizes which fit the capacity and sizes of the room. It decreases energy consumption.
- Switch the lights off when work is done; in office house, and shop.
- Utilize natural lighting as much as possible.
- Replace tungsten bulbs with the fluorescent economic ones, or set lighting in the elevators to switch off in it is not in use.
- Use the suitable type of lighting (fluorescent), or saving energy, high efficiency, less consuming lighting, and stop using less efficient, high consuming tungsten bulbs.
- Replacing the external bulbs around the building with energy saving ones, and decreasing using them as possible especially in summer.
- Work on insulating the existing buildings by adding insulators to ceiling, external wall and windows.
- Ensure closing all holes to prevent worm air access, by inserting fillings around doorjambs, ventilators, and any other areas.
- Conduct maintenance for building entrances to secure effective closure.
- Double glazing windows charges (thermal insulation) do not exceed 1% of building’s basic cost.
- Thermal insulation decrease electrical energy consumed in AC for 30-40%.
- Thermal insulation protects buildings from weather changes that happen as a result to temperature differences.
- Thermal insulation protects your furniture in the house.
- Thermal insulation decreases building’s periodic maintenance costs for removing the damages caused by heat and humidity.
- Thermal insulation increase building’s life and price.
- Choose high efficiency washing machine indicated on energy efficiency card. More stars means less electricity consumption.
- Choose washing machine with a size suitable for family’s needs to avoid unnecessary energy consumption.
- Selecting “fast washing” for little dirty clothes, helps saving energy.
- Operating the washing machine in full load decreases energy consumption.
- Utilize air and sun to dry clothes minimizes operating electrical devices, and consequently saves energy.
Refrigerator and freezer:
- Choose high efficiency refrigerator and freezer indicated on energy efficiency card. More stars means less electricity consumption.
- Ensure closing refrigerator’s door tightly.
- Install refrigerator in the coolest place in the kitchen, avoiding hot spots.
- Set refrigerator thermostat in mid temperature, i.e. preserve food fresh and decrease energy consumption.
- Check insulating rubber of refrigerator’s door to ensure having no leakage, neither chilliness from inside to outside, nor hot air from outside to inside.
- Keep at least /15/ cm distance between refrigerator and wall to increase ventilation capacity for gas tubes, keeping also side and upper distance.
- Avoid leaving the heater connected to electricity for long periods.
- Set heater’s temperature on less than 65 C.