The buildings sector represents about 28% of the primary energy consumed in the Kingdom. The sector’s consumption of the total electric energy produced in the Kingdom has reached more than 75%, with an annual growth rate of about 7%. This increase rates are due to two main reasons; firstly, the low energy consumption efficiency in the electrical appliances used; and secondly, most buildings lack thermal insulation.
Therefore, the Saudi Energy Efficiency Program (SEEP), to be prepared by SEEC, has implemented a series of secondary programs to rationalize electricity consumption in buildings including updating the standard specification for air conditioners and other household appliances, as well as standard specifications for lighting and air conditioning with large capacities.
These programs also included addressing the fact of more than 70% of existing residential buildings are lacking thermal insulation, as well as this fact led to increase the consumption of energy used in refrigeration equipment by about (250) million equivalent barrels approximately during the past five years.
As the thermal insulation contributes to reduce energy consumption in buildings by a rate ranging between 30 - 40%, SEEP has accelerated the implementation of the Royal Order, issued in 1431H, to oblige all new buildings to apply the thermal insulation. This is carried out by updating the standard specifications for thermal insulation materials, determining the values of the thermal transfer coefficient of the buildings and monitoring their implementation as follow:
- Update (15) standard specifications for (10) new thermal insulation materials.
- Apply the thermal insulation in a compulsory manner in (24) cities in the Kingdom, as a first phase. It has started to apply the thermal insulation throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 01/01/2019.
- SEEC, in cooperation with the Saudi Building Code National Committee (SBCNC), has updated the Saudi code for energy rationalization 601 and 602 that contains the values of the thermal transfer coefficient of buildings, determining the thermal transfer coefficient of ceilings, floors, walls, windows, and glass doors, by dividing the kingdom into three climatic zones.
- Assign the Saudi Electricity Company to carry out three field visits to the building during the construction phase, to ensure the application of thermal insulation. SEEP has developed a sustainable mechanism to monitor the application of thermal insulation and to ensure the compliance with the application of thermal insulation requirements.
After the application of all the previous procedures in the buildings, the energy consumption per building is expected to be reduced up to 50%.
Tips to rationalize energy consumption in buildings
- Select high-efficiency air-conditioners by energy efficiency cards. As the level of energy efficiency of the appliance is increased, the conditioner consumption of electrical energy is reduced.
- Raise the efficiency of central air-conditioning while cleaning the cooling ducts and filters.
- Carry out periodic maintenance of air conditioners to ensure their highly efficient performance.
- Use automatic controls in the air conditioning system to turn it off when it is not needed (TIMER).
- Avoid leaving windows and doors open while air conditioner operates.
- If the central air-conditioner is turned on, other units must be turned off, or vice versa, to preserve electrical power.
- Keep the cleaning of air conditioner filter regularly (every two weeks).
- Turn off the air conditioners when leaving the office, room or house.
- Adjust the conditioner thermostats (the temperature control unit) at 24 ° C, which is the most appropriate degree for comfortable and healthy cooling.
- Determining the right air conditioning capacity for the place to be cooled reduces electrical energy consumption.
- Isolate the existing buildings by adding insulators for the ceilings, external walls and windows.
- Take care to close holes to prevent hot air, by placing gaskets around doorframes, windows, suction fans and any other places.
- Maintain the entrance doors of the building to ensure their well closure.
- Ensure that the costs of using double windows (heat insulation) do not exceed 1% of the building’s basic cost.
- The insulation contributes to reducing the percentage of electrical energy consumed in air conditioners at rates ranging between 30 - 40%
- The thermal insulation protects buildings from external weather changes that are caused by temperature differences during the day.
- The thermal insulation keeps furniture in house in a safe condition.
- The thermal insulation reduces the periodic maintenance costs for the building due to heat and humidity damage to the building.
- The thermal insulation increases the life and value of the building