xGreen: Energy and Water Saving Tips

Victor
| May 2020

Save the Earth AND Your Wallet

    For those of you reading from the future, you may recall a time in 2020 when our living rooms became travel destinations and garbage disposal was an event we dressed up for. For those of us currently stuck at home, we may often feel low in energy and it is important to find hobbies (like group exercising on Zoom or gaming) to help us stay mentally and physically healthy.

    Hobbies help us destress and keep our minds engaged.

    Speaking of low energy, this week, we will be sharing tips on how to save energy and water on your household appliances and electronics. Previously, we talked about choosing more eco-friendly appliances with the help of labels (energy- SG, MY; water- SG, MY). However, there are more immediate changes that we can make, to save on our utility bills and help protect the Earth. Here, then, are some common household electronics, which we can use, just a little differently.

    Air-conditioner

    If you had to guess the three appliances which consume the most energy at home, you would probably say Air-con, heater and fridge (because you saw the headings). What you might not know, however, is that these three appliances together take up about ¾ of our average energy consumption (source SG/ MY). Now, even more so because we are home all day. Therefore, do consider the following tips for your air-con usage:

    Energy tips:

        1) Use a fan instead, or at least use the two intermittently (the cooled air remains cold for a while). This saves you
             up to $400/ RM686* a year. *Malaysia has lower electricity prices.

            • Did you know: 98% of households practice this.

        2) Set a temperature of 25°C. Every 1°C increase in temperature saves you about $15/ RM26 a year.

        3) Clean the filter once a month and service the air-con annually. Properly functioning parts allow the air-con to
             work efficiently, reducing energy usage.

        4) Close curtains or blinds so that your air-con is not competing with the heat from the sunlight.

    Water Heater


      If you have one of these connected to your hose, yours is an instant water heater.

    Instant water heaters are more energy saving but tend to have weak water pressures. Check if yours is a storage water heater, then these tips are for you:

    Energy tips:

        1) Switch off when not in use, because the heater keeps heating when turned on. This saves you around $110/
            RM190 a year.

        2) 10 Minutes of heating before a shower provides sufficient hot water.

    Refrigerator

    Energy saving tips:

        1) Ensure thermostat is set to the recommended temperature to avoid over-cooling.

        2) Allow hot food to cool before refrigeration, the more it has to cool, the more energy a fridge uses.

        3) Cover food and liquids to prevent excessive moisture. This makes the fridge work harder.

        4) Do not open the fridge door too often or for too long.

        5) Place fridge in a cool corner, away from sunlight.

        6) Avoid overloading. This impedes circulation, making the fridge less efficient.

        7) Leave a gap between the fridge and the wall. This allows the heat to dissipate easier so that the compressor is
            not overworked. This can save you up to 40% of the fridge's energy.

        

      E.g. of 1-inch gap (left); overloaded fridge (right)

    Washing Machine/ Dryer

    Energy & water saving tips:

         1) Do not overload nor underload the washing machine/ dryer. A full load should look ¾ of the drum full.
             Underloading wastes energy & water, whilst overloading uses more energy and might damage the drum.

         2) Use eco settings where possible (or avoid hot water washes).

         3) Use the correct load settings (this is sometimes automated through sensors).

         4) If your washing machine and dryer are separate, spin dry your clothes before using the dryer, as spinning is
             more energy efficient than heating.

         5) Use auto-dry instead of a timer where possible. Auto-dry detects moisture levels and switches off
             automatically, reducing excessive heating.

         6) Air dry instead of using a dryer where possible.

    Iron

    Energy saving tips:

         1) Start with the items that need lower temperatures, so that energy is not wasted on heating, cooling, and re-
             heating.

         2) For delicate items, switch off iron and use the residual heat.

    Computer

    Energy saving tips:

        1) Enable power management/ power saving settings; or

        2) Customise power settings to the minimum required (screen brightness, idle time before “sleep mode”,
            performance settings, Bluetooth, and background processes like Cortana/ Siri). For a guide on the settings and
            where to find them click here for: Windows 7, Windows 10, macOS.

    Kitchen Appliances

    Energy &water saving tips:

         1) Use a thermos flask to reduce the number of times boiling water (note: that air-pots heat constantly, therefore
             using more energy).

         2) Thaw food before cooking.

         3) Avoid opening the oven too often.

         4) Cover pots when cooking to reduce excessive heat loss.

         5) Turn down/ turn off the heat on a cooker/ hotplate when unnecessary

    Lights and others

    Energy saving tips:

        1) Switch off all lights, appliances, devices and power outlets when not in use.

        2) Some appliances go into standby mode when switched off (computers, TVs, set-top boxes, etc.), switch off the
            main power/ switch where possible.


    Look out for the standby mode indicator lights.

       3) Install timers (or use smart appliances) to automatically switch off power when not in use.

       4) Use natural lighting as much as possible.

       5) Dim or use less light whenever bright lights are unnecessary (such as when watching TV).

      6) We hope this list has been useful to you. With your help, we can all be stay home heroes, both by social
          distancing, and by practicing these energy and water saving habits at home every day.

    References

    All tips, facts and figures not otherwise cited are compiled and retrieved from the following:

    https://www.e2singapore.gov.sg/overview/households/saving-energy-at-home/energy-saving-tips/more-energy-saving-practices-at-home

    https://iswitch.com.sg/14-save-electricity-tips/

    https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/10-ways-to-slash-utilities-bill-as-water-electricity-prices-rise-10550500

    https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/laundry-and-cleaning/washing-machines/articles/best-washing-machine-for-saving-water

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