Public and private sectors come together to promote smart energy use with the Belma23ol campaign
By Ahmed Mansour
May’s brief heat wave, accompanied by waves of power outages, could be considered an early warning of what summer has in store. As the government scrambles to supply enough fuel to the power plants, our air conditioning, household appliances and electronic gadgets demand more electricity than the plants can supply. Last month, the Egyptian Initiative for Energy Conservation (EIEC) launched Belma23ol, a public awareness campaign to get people to curb their power usage.
The EIEC is a consortium of international oil companies and government ministries working to identify and publicize the best ways to weather the current energy challenges through energy conservation. Ultimately, saving energy saves money. Not only does the household electricity bill decrease, but the government has to spend less money building new power stations and buying fuel to feed the existing ones.
International oil companies participating in the initiative include Shell, BG Egypt, Apache Egypt, Dana Gas, GDF Suez and IPR, with the technical support of BP Egypt, ENI and Taqa Arabia. They are working in collaboration with Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum & Mineral Resources, and the Ministry of Electricity & Renewable Energy.
The current campaign — featuring energy-saving tips and facts in print, broadcast, online and outdoor media outlets — takes its name from the Arabic term for “moderate consumption. “ The initiative has set a target of cutting overall consumption by 20%, reaching out to all segments of society including households, commercial and industrial sectors. Read on to find out how you can make your life more energy efficient. et
- Use sunlight wisely. Leave shades and blinds open on sunny days as long as possible to limit the need for electric lighting.
- Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which use about 75% less energy and can last up to 10 times longer than normal incandescent light bulbs.
- Set your AC units to 24-25 degrees Celsius.
- Keep the AC in economy mode, which turns the machine off when the room reaches the target temperature, and it turns it back on when needed.
- Service the AC to keep it running efficiently. At least once a year, make sure the filters are cleaned or changed, the motor is oiled and the blades are straight.
- Switch to gas or solar water heaters, which use less power and are more efficient than electric heaters.
- If you do use an electric water heater, install a timer and set it to start heating water only when you need it, such as during the day. Even simpler, unplug the heater when not needed, and plug it in 30 minutes before you need hot water.
- Set the maximum temperature between 50-60 degrees Celsius.
WASHING MACHINES / DISHWASHERS
- Lower the water temperature: 90% of the electricity consumed by washing machines is used to heat the water. Choose the warm or cold water settings instead.
- Set the temperature at 2.8 to 4.5 degrees Celsius. The colder the setting, the more energy consumed.
- Minimize how often you open the door.
- Service the refrigerator to clean the compressor.
- When you’re ready to replace an appliance, look for Energy Star labels (for US products) and A+ ratings or higher (for EU products). These indicate that the machine follows energy-efficiency guidelines that could cut your bills by 30%.
TURN IT OFF… BETTER YET, UNPLUG IT
- When you put your computer in hibernate mode or turn your TV off using the remote control, the machines are still consuming electricity. So make sure you shut them off completely.
- Use a power strip for devices you use intermittently, such as TVs, computer equipment and chargers. You can unplug everything at once when you go to bed or leave the house.
- Unplug the charger as soon as the device is fully charged.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Electricity consumption in households amounts to 42% of the total local electricity usage.
• 57% of local gas resources are used to generate electricity in Egypt.
• Electricity generated from Aswan Dam amounts only to 5.5% of the total local electricity produced.
• 91% of the electricity is generated from gas and petroleum products, not from Aswan Dam.
• The government is currently working on replacing lighting systems with energy efficient systems in all its premises.