Upping the ante in the campaign to conserve energy, the Qatar General Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (QGASM) will launch the golden label of eight stars and the silver label of seven stars for air-conditioning (AC) units in the country in October.

The new Energy Star ratings are only optional for distributors and manufactures and would not be mandatory but the authority will give appreciation certificates to the makers and sellers to encourage them to increase the production and supply of energy-saving ACs, an official statement said. QGASM hopes that in future this will be obligatory as part of its plan to pitch for energy saving appliances.

As part of the government's efforts to conserve power, the QGASM, in cooperation with Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa), the Ministry of Energy and Industry and the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, had announced the new regulations for importing airconditioners into the country. As a result the import and sale of AC units (split and window) that do not carry Energy Star rating labels was banned with effect from July 1.

Dr Mohamed bin Saif al-Kuwari, assistant undersecretary for specifications and metrology affairs at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) said as more and more energy saving ACs are imported into the country, the high energy consuming units will be phased out.

In the meantime, QGASM in cooperation with the departments concerned will launch an intensive inspection drive to ensure compliance with the directive regarding the import and sale of new AC units, he said. Also, random samples from the imported stock will be taken to test their compliance with the required specifications and standards.

QGASM has registered eight types of ACs of the eight star category (the golden label), which has an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of more than 12.50 British Thermal Units (BTU). They save up to 51% of electricity compared to normal ACs. Besides, QGASM has registered 29 types of ACs of seven stars (the sliver label) with an EER of more than 11.5 BTU. These save up to 46.8% of electricity compared to normal airconditioners.

With the new rule coming into force, only energy saving ACs that comply with the Approved Qatar Standard Specifications No. 2663 and the GCC Technical Regulation No. BD-14004-01 were allowed to be imported into the country. The EER of these ACs should not be less than 8.5 BTU for the window units and 9.5 BTU for the split units. All imported AC units should have at least three stars rating. In addition, the voltage and frequency of these AC have to be in line with the provision in Qatar, which is 240 volts for single phase and 415 for three phase (50 Hertz frequency). ACs with specifications other than these would be rejected. QGASM also affirmed that AC units should have hard to remove plastic or metal labels put by the manufacturer indicating the Energy Star rating of the unit and approved by QGASM.

Since June this year, 39,554 air conditioning units, including the split and window types have been imported into the country, the authority said in a statement yesterday. Of these 4,448 were three stars, 1,658 four stars , 25,604 five stars and 6,642 six stars. The rest came from suppliers not registered with the department.

Until now 61 companies have registered 392 types of energy saving ACs with the authority for import into Qatar. Of these only 270 were approved and the others rejected due to the unavailability of test certificates and reports and other related issues.

Dr al-Kuwari pointed out that scientific studies indicated that air conditioners use up to 70% of the energy consumed in the buildings sector. To reduce consumption, five main elements should be considered: improving thermal insulation , ensuring there are no air leaks, using high efficiency energy saving ACs, performing regular maintenance of ACs, and controlling the internal temperature.

QGASM had celebrated the entry of the first energy saving AC units into the country in June.

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