I helped to launch and guide these two initiatives by the Regulation & Supervision Bureau of Abu Dhabi, dedicated to improving water and energy efficiency and reducing consumption across the UAE’s largest emirate.

As a seconded consultant, I served as the Education & Awareness Officer for almost three years, directing communications strategy and production and supporting research and pilot projects. I started with Waterwise, then transitioned to Powerwise, supporting both in close collaboration.

Research & Pilot Projects

I supported several projects to understand consumers and their behaviors, test water- and energy-saving methods and technologies in local context, and show proof-of-concept for expansion of research and efficiency programs on the whole-emirate scale:

Powerwise Home Makeover Project – In this project, we recruited 10 volunteer households, conducted energy audits, performed customized energy efficiency upgrades to the home and monitored savings for one year. I led communications, user experience and customer service components, and directed the production of documentary videos and resident interviews with a video production team. I also provided support in project design, management, recruitment and quality control. View my detailed description of this project >>

Waterwise Residential End-Use of Water Study – I supported recruitment for this research project to install smart meters in Abu Dhabi homes and gather baseline data about how people really use water inside their homes, tap-by-tap (or as close as possible with current technology and software). View this project on the Waterwise website >>

Powerwise Chiller Control Project – I refined the design of the digital monitoring console that was used to remotely control the air conditioning chillers in five high-rise buildings. The remote system optimized the chillers’ operation during peak hours (1-4pm) to significantly reduce energy demand. Reducing demand during peak times can significantly reduce strain on electricity infrastructure and prevent the need for further costly expansion.

Communications

I advised on communications strategy to help small teams provide high value, and directed several communications items especially focused on educating Abu Dhabi residents about how they can save water and energy at home:

Websites – directed the design and development of new websites by an outside agency, primarily for Waterwise, researched and wrote initial Waterwise content, managed both websites at different times

Videos – I directed the production of several how-to videos for Waterwise and the Powerwise Home Makeover Project videos, in English and Arabic, with multiple video production teams, including scripts, interviews and creative direction. View Waterwise videos on their website >>

Game and trade-show displays – I provided content, creative direction and user experience design advice to the Bureau’s internal communications department and digital contractors to produce Waterwise’s interactive game and trade show displays for Abu Dhabi’s annual World Future Energy Summit / International Water Summit. View the Waterwise game on their website >>

Collaboration – Several communications projects like the game, trade show displays, summer campaigns and flyers with water- and energy-saving tips were headed by the Bureau’s Communications Team. In those cases, I contributed as much as possible.

Additional Value

  • Supported the Heads of Waterwise and Powerwise and other team members daily with advice, brainstorming and urgent tasks regarding pilot projects, communications and user experience
  • Reviewed and critiqued strategy proposals by the emirate’s two major utility companies (ADDC and AADC) as they transition to taking primary responsibility for demand-side management, efficiency and conservation programs in the emirate, with support from Waterwise, Powerwise and the Bureau
  • Researched global DSM programs, policies and regulations for potential recommendations in Abu Dhabi

Expertise Gained

  • Water and energy efficiency and conservation in dry climates
  • Behaviors, expectations, beliefs, obstacles and issues surrounding water and energy consumption in the UAE, including supply- and demand-side management, desalination and government policy
  • Cultural, government, industry and residential norms and sensitivities in the UAE
  • Working with small teams inside large bureaucracy, navigating long process chains, cautious leadership, and a few authority struggles within a largely functional organization

Credits:
Graphic design for “Launch of Powerwise and Waterwise” image and project recruitment materials by French Vision
Waterwise and Powerwise websites produced by Flip Media
Waterwise and Powerwise games and Powerwise Home Makeover videos produced by B.U.T.
Waterwise and Powerwise live-action educational videos produced by Action Impact

Waterwise and Powerwise animated videos by Switch Video
Powerwise Home Makeover primary project contractors: Al Futtaim Technologies