We live in a world where everything is interconnected and COVID-19 definitely proves that. Despite the challenging COVID-19 period, nature can recover: roaming wild animals, reduction of pollution and emissions, and collapsing meat industries around the world. Yet, COVID-19 also means the rising consumption of electricity and water at home. Hence, one particularly crucial topic now when everyone is staying at home is our electricity usage.
These are some practical and easy tricks we all can do:
- Know which appliances use a lot of electricity? knowing the largest impact
- Can we use less of this? Sometimes less can be more.
- How can our appliances work better for us? energy efficiency
1. Which appliances use a lot of electricity?
First, we need to know what can create the largest impact.
These are the top 5 things Singaporeans use electricity for:
- Air conditioning
- Water heaters
- Televisions and Computers (especially for work, videos and skype, includes gaming consoles and wifi)
Kitchen appliances (kettles, microwaves, ovens, stoves etc.) and washers, dryers and irons take up a part of the energy at homes. (Though not many Singaporean families use dryers)
We can always look at what we do – what are our daily habits? Every household is unique and not everyone uses the appliances in the same way. For instance, some households do not use air-conditioning, so focusing on other appliances can maximise our positive environmental impact. One way to know our usage is to note down when we start and stop using an electrical appliance. This can go a long way in helping us figure out what’s most effective to improve our electricity usage.
2. “Can we use less of this?”
Subsequently, these are some tips we could adopt to improve our electricity usage:
- Unplug your appliances when not in use
- Setting a timer for air-conditioning to switch off after 2 hours (or switching to a fan)
- Television, WiFi and even refrigerator can be turned off at night
- Washing the clothes once a week instead of twice
- Finding ways to spend time without electricity: gardening, workout, meditation, reading, playing cards or board games
Of course, this list is non-exhaustive and there are many ways to reduce our electricity usage. The biggest thing we can do is to reduce the ones that use the most electricity at home. Then, the impact on sustainability will be much greater.
3. “How can our appliances work better for us?”
This is about the efficiency of your electrical appliances. Efficiency is how much electricity is converted into something useful. For incandescent bulbs, some electricity is converted to useful light along with a lot of unnecessary heat. So, incandescent bulbs are inefficient. However, LED lights are efficient as most of the electricity is converted to light and little heat is released.
In Singapore, an easy way of gauging efficiency is the number of ticks of an electrical appliance.
The greater the number of ticks, the better the energy efficiency and it means we would save energy for the same activity we do. Still, we should continue to use our current appliances and consider a high-efficiency appliance when an old one has broken down so it would not be a waste of a perfectly good appliance.
Another way of improving efficiency is to incorporate products or habits that boost the energy efficiency of appliances. For example, installing a Continewm AC net improves heat exchange of air conditioners and placing refrigerators further from the wall reduces overheating of the refrigerators.
98% of the electricity in Singapore comes from fossil fuels – natural gas, petroleum and coal (yes, we still use coal!). So, continuing to use the appliances conservatively is critical to lower our carbon footprint. Hopefully, we now know the appliances that use the most electricity, how to use appliances less and get more efficient appliances. To further enhance our environmental impact, we can adopt green or renewable energy. Energy companies like Sunseap, Sembcorp and Geneco in Singapore offer amazing renewable or low-carbon energy like solar, hydrogen or biofuel. With all this, we can limit the carbon emissions generated and collectively do our part for the environment. Just remember that every home is essential and every small step counts.