Recently, we in Malaysia have been hit with a hike in the electricity rates. It doesn’t quite affect all consumers and on a personal note, I’m not really affected by it because my electricity consumption comes within the unaffected rate. However, this is something not quite unexpected with the dwindling reserves of fossil fuel and rising oil prices, and I’d really like to keep my electricity consumption low. Lower electricity costs = more savings = more $ for shopping! 😉 So economics and complaining aside, here are 5 energy-saving things I practice that you might already also practice. Or it might help you save some electricity (and money for shopping!) too 🙂
1. Remove plugs of unused electrical items from the socket
My Mom taught me this one after she came across an article that said that electricity is still being consumed by appliances that remain plugged into the socket, even though you aren’t using it and its switched off. It was described as a “vampire appliance”. The kitchen might be your first place to look. Is your toaster or oven or microwave plugged in all the time? How often do you use them? Removing the plug after use might help you save quite a bit. It helped us – we were testing with various equipment in the house and the one that helped the electricity bill drop the most was the electric oven.
2. Switch off unneeded lights in the home
I have practiced this one for a long time. If you leave a room or area in the house and don’t intend to return within 10 minutes, switch off the lights. This includes the kitchen, bathroom, living room, storeroom etc. My kitchen is near my living room, so if I need something from the kitchen, I don’t switch on the lights unless I am looking for something specific. The ambient light from the living room is usually sufficient for me to see what I want – usually a glass of water or a fruit from the fridge… which has its own light anyway. In the day, where possible, I use natural light.
3. Don’t leave appliances on standby. Switch them off and Unplug them
Hands up how many of you leave your computers, laptops and TVs plugged in and on standby mode when not in use? Don’t. Standby mode draws on electricity too. See point 1 above. If you aren’t going to be using them, switch them off and then unplug it. It might take a little longer for your computer to boot up, but really, unless its a life and death matter, why the rush? 😛 In my household, most switches are kept off for most electrical appliances (and unplugged). Doesn’t take 2 seconds to switch it on whenever I want to use it.
4. Use Energy Saving Bulbs
An oldie but a goodie. Where possible, use energy saving bulbs in your lights. These days, even fluorescent tubes come in an eco-friendly energy saving option and because so many people are buying them, energy saving bulbs are also now more affordable than they were before. Even if they are more expensive than regular lightbulbs, they have a longer lifespan and can ultimately help you save money.
5. Use the air-conditioner only when needed
The air-conditioner is probably my biggest vice. With the hot weather here, its probably no wonder this is so. However you can save some electricity even if you use the air-conditioner by not keeping the temperature too low and only switching it on when needed. It takes more energy to cool a room to 18°C than to 25°C which in a smallish room, is quite a comfortable temperature to be at. I’ve read that the ideal temperature for a good night’s sleep is between 24-25°C which isn’t too hot nor too cold. I only use my air-conditioner in my bedroom when I sleep and on a low fan setting at 25°C. Its comfortable enough for me. In my living room, I use the ceiling fan which consumes less electricity unless I have guests over when the air-conditioner may be put to work. Where I live, the night breezes are very cool so I sometimes don’t even need the fan 🙂
Do you practice any of the same tips I do? Or perhaps you have a tip to share? Please do! I’m sure all of you have a tip or two to save electricity. The more electricity we save, the more money we save too! 😀 Oh and its also better for the environment 😉