IN recent times, the Government has taken a decision to implement temperature control limits on air-conditioning in government facilities. It is a great step towards achieving the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) commitment for Malaysia to reduce its carbon intensity by 40% from the 2005 levels by 2020.
Air-conditioning takes up much of the electricity and we should be seen saving here. Otherwise this decision by the Government has no meaning.
Inevitably, we applaud this decision as timely and commendable. It shows that Malaysia “walks the talk” on limiting its carbon emissions.
Perhaps the Government can also decide that the use of “western attire (lounge suits or jackets)” in government facilities and for government functions should also be done away with.
The Japanese Diet decided to do away with those some years ago to reduce their energy costs and to reduce their energy imports.
I also believe that concerns that computer server rooms need lower temperature than 240C may be a misconception.
Electrical equipment manufactured or imported into the tropics are normally “tropicalised” to operate satisfactorily for its lifetime in a higher ambient temperature. However, such installations need adequate ventilation to ensure adequate heat dissipation to prevent equipment overheating.
Hospital Operating Rooms and ICU (Intensive Care Unit) wards may warrant different environmental conditions but they are appropriately excluded from the 240C limit.
These premises can also add to their energy saving by more intensive insulation and thermal energy recovery as is done through “heat-pipes” or “heat recovery wheels”.
Energy saving in air-conditioned premises can be further enhanced by optimally insulating them, especially as mineral wool insulation is locally manufactured. In fact, roof insulation can also reduce heat stress in premises which are not air-conditioned by reducing heat gain through the roof, and thus eliminate the need for artificial cooling such as air-conditioning.
The Government has shown its intention to honour the COP 15 commitment. It is thus also time for residents in Malaysia to follow suit and make this earth a better place for our future generations, while reducing the cost of energy used to provide comfortable working and living conditions in the tropics, and to counter the effects of climate change.
ALVIN DEV SINGH