Applying Energy-efficient Water Heating Practices to the Residential Buildings of the United Arab Emirates The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability 9, 2 (2014) 35-51
With the growing evidence of the phenomenon of anthropogenic global warming, it has become necessary to take immediate action to avoid disastrous consequences for future generations. Since buildings are a major energy consumer, their potential impact on the environment is considerable. Therefore, expanding the application of lowenergy architecture is of the utmost importance. Water heating is a thermodynamic process that involves using an energy source to heat water above its initial temperature. Thus, the application of energy-efficient domestic water heating systems has a potential for reducing the energy consumption levels of buildings. In many countries, the most common energy sources for heating domestic water are fossil fuels. This is certainly the case in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region which includes the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The aim of this paper is to investigate the potential for energy savings of applying energy-efficient water heating practices in the buildings of the UAE. A typical residential building in Dubai was chosen as a case study. With the aid of energy simulation software, the potential energy savings - after applying the energy efficient water heating system - was monitored. Moreover, the paper drew some recommendations with regard to solving many problems that the domestic water system is suffering from and has provided some solutions to improve performance and further reduce energy consumption. As a final note, whilst this paper mainly focuses on residential buildings in the UAE, it could be argued that many of the research outcomes are relevant to several countries especially those with similar social and extreme environmental conditions.