The Ministry of Environment has indefinitely shelved plans to phase out energy-hungry domestic air conditioning (A/C) units pending further study, the Peninsula reports.
The announcement comes three months after officials said that only eco-friendly units would be sold in Qatar stores starting this fall.
The goal of rolling out these new units was to help cut electricity consumption in Qatar, which has soared in recent years due to the growing population.
Time running out
According to the Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-16, domestic AC units account for two-thirds (67 percent) of total residential power consumption.
With less than two years to go to fulfill the strategy, finding greener ways of cooling homes has become a priority for authorities.
A small change in our consumption of electricity and water can affect our sustainability http://t.co/fAgoyswHDO
— ترشيد قطر (@TarsheedQatar) May 9, 2015
But this week, Dr. Mohammed bin Saif Al Kuwari, assistant undersecretary for laboratory and specifications at the MOE, said that a new committee has been formed to look into eco-friendly AC units.
“This is to avoid importing defective air conditioners. We need to study the durability and effectiveness of the new A/Cs for a long time before importing,” Al Kuwari said.
Meanwhile, the MOE has also fallen behind an April deadline to stop importing tungsten (incandescent) light bulbs, in favor of energy-efficient LED bulbs.
Officials in Qatar have been talking about phasing out old ACs and lightbulbs for years, but the relative higher cost of energy-efficient models has made implementation difficult.
Al Kuwari told local media that a decision on the import ban would be made “soon.”