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Reducing High Electricity Consumption in University of Sharjah



Subject Report Writing Pages 8 Style APA


Table of Contents
Abstract 3
1.0 Introduction 4
2.0 Background 5
3.0 Literature Review 5
4.0 Methodology 6
5.0 Results 6
6.0 Discussion 10
7.0 Conclusion and Recommendations 12
Works Cited 14

This analytical report evaluates how the University of Sharjah (UOS) can reduce high electricity consumption. This need is necessitated by reports detailing the UAE government’s intention to reduce electricity subsidies. The introduction section details governments concerns over its ability to sustainably subsidize electricity charges post-COVID. A background study shows that UOS is a growing university that equally needs to monitor its electricity usage. The literature review depicts cases on how universities are reducing electricity usage. This includes the use of green buildings and manipulation of user behavior through knowledge sharing and incentives. The methodology section outlines how the report collects secondary data while the results section reports on case studies on how to reduce electricity. Most parts reiterate the views in the literature review noting the importance of green building designs, and positive change of behavior as well as the use of energy efficient equipment and lighting systems. The discussions note that UOS is yet to optimize its energy usage and thus recommends that the university embraces smart and intelligent systems, conducts audit to monitor electricity use, and invests in green and sustainable building.
– Key words: electricity consumption, university, campus, sustainability, energy saving, and green campus buildings

Reducing High Electricity Consumption in University of Sharjah
1.0 Introduction
Electricity is one of the most subsidized commodities in the United Arabs Emirates (UAE) and the wider Gulf region. The governments in these countries take the responsibility of funding parts of the electricity bills for its citizens. In the process, the Gulf States used an estimated $120 billion on subsidies for the past two decades (Maceda, para 5). Within the same period, UAE reported offering subsidies ranging from $7 billion to $10 billion. Given that the economies of these countries is dependent on revenues collected from sale of non-renewable oil and gas, the persistent drop in oil prices, precipitated by trade wars between oil producing countries, has necessitated measures to reduce these expenditures. Apart from reducing the high subsidies, reports by Maceda have noted that the current pricing structures for electricity are not sustainable given the significant economic and social growth experienced across the country (para 4). Maceda cautions that if these pricing structures are retained, the government will spend $150 billion more on subsidies as power consumption will continue to rise in line with the development goals. These arguments necessitate reforms that could lead to higher costs of electricity.
As reported in the AEU State Energy Report of 2015, UAE is among the highest per capita consumers of electricity. By 2013, the demand for power had grown to 105 kilowatts an hour (Maceda, para 6). The figure has continued to increase over the past 6 years and given the looming economic recession post COVID-19, it is necessary for enterprises such as learning institutions to factor ways to reduce their high electricity consumption.
2.0 Background
University of Sharjah (UOS) is a private national university located in the University City of Sharjah in the United Arabs Emirates (UAE). The university was founded in 1997 to help the country and emirate meet its educational needs. Its mission and goals include ascending to be among the best ranked academic institutions in the Middle East, Gulf region, and globally. Apart from the main campus facilities, the university has introduced 6 satellite campuses to offer training programs and provide education at the community level throughout the Sharjah emirate. The main campus has most of the facilities that consume the most electricity because of the high enrolment and number of students. The facility has two student centers designed to house offices for the dean, student leaders, banks, commercial shops, eateries, and cooperative society. The university has two dormitories. Notably, the UOS contributes significantly to the social and economic development of the city. UOS has high research output. Given the role of institutions of higher learning in conducting research and resolving societal problems, it is important that electrical engineering students from UOS contribute towards solving the current electricity consumption dilemma facing the government of UAE. For this reason, this analytical report analyzes ways to reduce electricity consumption at UOS. The findings will help inform decisions on how to cut down consumption of electricity across other learning institutions in the country and globally.
3.0 Literature Review
The process of reducing electricity consumption has to begin with the identification of the most energy consuming activities in the universities. Reports by the US Energy Information Administration cite that most universities use electricity for ventilation, heating and cooling of spaces, computer and other electronic equipment, and lighting. In the UAE, cooling and heating accounts for more than 60% of all the electricity used. Han, Xuejie and Ruijiang insist that reducing consumption across universities in the UAE is a challenging task since it has to begin with a focus on buildings (801). For instance, the energy performance of buildings has to be ascertained to establish their usage in the short term and long term. Consequently, the universities have to consider building materials with favorable thermal properties in what is described as green building. Other areas to target to reduce consumption of electricity in institutions of higher learning include user behavior, and building use, as well as sub-level components namely heating, cooling, and lighting systems. Mohammadalizadehkorde and Russell note that introducing these measures will enable universities achieve sustainable energy consumption thus saving money (3250).
4.0 Methodology
This technical report collected information from secondary sources using the desk research approach. Information on the literature review is drawn from credible and peer reviewed sources from ebscohost and Google Scholar, among other digital databases. Additional information was retrieved from the University of Sharjah’s official website, and credible news reports from UAE on energy consumption and particularly, the use of electricity. While collecting the information, care is taken to verify that it is applicable to the electric engineering field. For instance, the information has to be in line with the requirements of the course.
5.0 Results
Research by a number of authors details ways that could be used by universities globally to reduce their electricity consumption. A study by Han, Xuejie and Ruijiang focusing on Chinese campuses found that the first process to reducing energy consumption is by changing the way universities construct their building (802). The buildings have to be designed and constructed in a manner that enhances their thermal capabilities. Han et al. note that this is the surest approach to green building and sustainable development across universities globally. In the case of the North China University of Science and Technology, the engineers ensure that they make measurements of a building and generate simulations on the effectiveness of energy consumption and energy saving capabilities. Some of the specific elements assessed during the simulation include electricity consumption on heating, cooling, and lighting. After the simulation, the engineers work on processes to reduce electricity consumption. In most cases, they use a consumption simulation software known as eQUEST to assess the electricity usage and other energy data (Han et al. 803). The results are then compared to other buildings within the university to benchmark on how best to reduce electricity consumption and increase energy savings. Other areas that are considered during the simulations include user behavior and the use of electronic equipment within the building. This information and data guides the formulation of energy-saving reconstruction of the building to optimize efficiency in the use of electricity.
The research further assessed the use of electricity across different departments and activities in the universities. Mohammadalizadehkorde and Russell found that the library is among the most used facility by students (3250). Given the climatic and weather conditions in UAE, it is certain that the University of Sharjah consumes a lot of electricity powering air conditioning systems in the libraries. In particular, universities prefer using centralized cooling systems. The consumption increases significantly during the summers and when the universities are in session. The lowest consumption is reported when the universities are closed and most students are on holiday. The second area that warranted evaluation was the use of electricity in hostels and student shelters. In general, the most electrical consumption was associated with lighting, equipment, ventilation, refrigeration, heat recovery, and heating. The simulated statistical figures are summarized in table 1 below on the total annual consumption across universities in UAE.
Table 1: Simulated figures on electricity consumption in institutions of higher learning in Kilowatts (Han et al. 805)
Han et al. therefore proposes that the universities need to reconsider the architectural design of their buildings to ensure green buildings that depend on natural lightning, heating, and cooling (807). To come up with the most sustainable buildings, it is quintessential that the universities consider factors such as type of building envelop, power density equipment, occupant density, air conditioning operating systems parameters, and lighting density. Fonseca et al. identify the second measure to reduce high electricity consumption as use of energy saving air conditioning equipment and systems. Air conditioning is a matter of concern since it consumes the second largest amount of electricity after lighting systems. The efficiency can be enhanced further through automation and use of sensors where the systems could go on and off whenever necessary to reduce wastage of electricity (Emeakaroha, Chee, & Yong, 24). For instance, the system should be capable of going off whenever a certain temperature is reached or when some spaces are not being used. Likewise, it is important that the energy rating of the systems are considered during purchase.
The university could invest in air conditioning systems with the highest number of electricity efficiency stars as such equipment are more energy efficient and sustainable. Third, the universities are advised to install energy efficient lighting systems. The best and most efficient systems use energy saver bulbs and lamps. The use of T5 energy saver lamps is considered more appropriate for universities compared to the ordinary fluorescent T8 lamps. The use of intelligent systems is equally recommended so that the lighting systems are automated to go on and off whenever necessary. This proposal contrasts current practices where electricity lights are left to run for extended time periods even when the rooms are not in use and completely vacated. Areas such as corridors with less traffic, toilet sections, and lighting of pathways could benefit from lighting systems that use voice activated switches and smart sensors to detect movement.
Another research by Petersen et al. noted that providing students with incentives helped save electricity consumption (9). This research is backed by reports by the Gulf News noting that 27,732 students in the UAE saved 34.2 Gigawatts of electricity and water amounting to DH24 million. The students enrolled to private and public schools were provided incentives through the Conservation Award. The program has been running for 13 years and it is hosted by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). The 459 schools that participated in the award were estimated to have saved more than 34.3 Gigawatt hours of electricity. The reduction in electricity consumption is attributed to the incentive of Dh 400,000 that was contested by the enlisted schools. According to Gulf News, the Conservation Awards seek to celebrate learning and educational institutions committed to consistently reducing their electricity and water usage. As a result of the initiative, the country had cumulatively saved 2 terrawatt hours (TWh) of electricity from 2009 to 2018 (Gulf News, para 5). Because of the initiative, the schools engaged have been forced to introduce sustainable electricity and water use programs while also educating the learners on how to conservatively use these resources. In the long run, they have nurtured positive behavior among students enabling reduced use of electricity.
6.0 Discussion
The literature review and subsequent results collected emphasize the need the University of Sharjah to focus on the green building initiative that focuses on reducing electricity consumption by reducing the buildings dependence on electricity powered heating and lighting. Instead, these factors should be aligned with the buildings structure to ease natural cooling, heating, and lighting. The university also needs to enforce energy efficiency through regulation, incentives, and technical assistance. Additional approaches to reducing electricity consumption include implementing Energy Management Programs. The program categorizes electricity and energy consumption into three phases. The first phase entails planning, the second phase involves implementing while the third phase involves evaluation and monitoring of energy management. Besides, there is need to create public awareness, enact energy regulations, share energy information, and conduct energy audits to monitor annual reduction in electricity consumption. Ahmad et al. second this discussion noting that electricity consumption could be reduced by introducing the energy management program as detailed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) under certification number ISO50001:2011 E for Energy Management Systems as shown below (23).
Figure 1: ISO50001:2011 (E) energy management system (Ahmad et al, 23)
Applying the energy management systems will help meet the ISO requirements as computed by EEI’s formula for electricity consumption. The formula is EEI – total energy used (kWh)/ gross floor area (m2) (Ahmad et al, 24). This formula further elaborates that energy consumption is dependent on the floor area. However, other factors that determine consumption include building design, electrical and mechanical equipment used, climate, and occupancy rate of the buildings. This understanding necessitates that the students and the management take proactive steps in ensuring that the lights and all electrical equipment including computers are switched off when not in use. The universities should create small areas for small events requiring few students rather than using large halls to host small events as it leads to unnecessary lighting and misuse of electricity. The lecture halls and rooms should be fitted with energy efficient air conditioners and LCD projectors that consume less energy (Al Awadi, 8). The offices alike have to adopt measures to facilitate electricity conservation. This includes switching off electronic equipment when not in use, and using energy efficient air conditioners.
This discussion further acknowledges the need for automated systems to ease the students and employees at the University of Sharjah from manually performing these duties. At times, the students and employees leave the switches and equipment lighting out of negligence, or from an uninformed point of view. Therefore, apart from encouraging users to perform the listed activities such as switching off the lights and other equipment when idle, smart and intelligent technologies could be used (Al Awadi, 8). Software and applications could be introduced to monitor energy use and facilitate electricity use audits. Similarly, they will help identify area with high consumption. The information can be used to create awareness and sensitize the students on the need to regulate electricity usage. The results from the software on electricity consumption could also be used to design an incentive system where students are rewarded for their contribution in reducing electricity usage. For instance, the hostels could be rewarded when improvements in electricity usage is noted among other areas within the university.
7.0 Conclusion and Recommendations
This analytical report analyzes ways to reduce high electricity consumption in the University of Sharjah. The university is in the UAE where the government has complained of high costs of subsidizing electricity for its citizens. The country has one of the highest rates of per capita consumption of electricity. As a result, there is a need for universities to adapt ways of reducing electricity usage. Guided by this critical analysis of how universities and public entities save on electricity, the following recommendations are made to UOS.
First, the university has to design and construct sustainable and green buildings. Green buildings are known to tap into natural lighting, heating, and cooling thus reducing dependence on artificial heating, lighting, and cooling. Such buildings can be designed effectively by simulating the best possible designs to reduce electricity consumption as in the case of the Chinese universities.
Second, use smart and intelligent technologies and systems to reduce electricity usage. These technologies ease the management of electrical systems such as switches and equipment. They enable cutting of electricity supply to the systems whenever they are idle thus saving electricity.
Third, the UOS could introduce incentives to encourage behaviors and create awareness on the need to use less electricity. These initiatives teach the students and staff to be responsible and to effectively use electricity. The schools could also invest in systems such as solar and wind power to reduce dependence on the national grid. These plans contribute towards overall reduction in electricity consumption. 


Gulf News. UAE students save water, energy worth Dh24 million, 2019. Retrieved from: https://gulfnews.com/uae/environment/uae-students-save-water-energy-worth-dh24-million-1.63701183

Maceda, Cleofe.  Revealed: Energy subsidies cost UAE $7bln-$10bln in 20 years, 2020. Retrieved from: https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/business/story/Revealed_Energy_subsidies_cost_UAE_7bln10bln_in_20_years-ZAWYA20200116080422/

Al Awadi, Wafaa Yousef. Reducing of the Energy Consumption in the Federal Buildings in UAE Using Lighting and Control Technologies. Diss. The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2014.

Fonseca, Paula, et al. “Sustainability in university campus: options for achieving nearly zero energy goals.” International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education (2018).

Mohammadalizadehkorde, Milad, and Russell Weaver. “Universities as Models of Sustainable Energy-Consuming Communities? Review of Selected Literature.” Sustainability 10.9 (2018): 3250.

Han, Ying, Xuejie Zhou, and Ruijiang Luo. “Analysis on Campus Energy Consumption and Energy Saving Measures in Cold Region of China.” Procedia Engineering 121 (2015): 801-808.

Petersen, John E., et al. “Dormitory residents reduce electricity consumption when exposed to real‐time visual feedback and incentives.” International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education (2007).

Emeakaroha, Anthony, Chee Siang Ang, and Yong Yan. “Challenges in improving energy efficiency in a university campus through the application of persuasive technology and smart sensors.” Challenges 3.2 (2012): 290-318.

Ahmad, Ahmad Sukri, et al. “Energy efficiency measurements in a Malaysian public university.” 2012 IEEE International Conference on Power and Energy (PECon). IEEE, 2012.


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