As a new intern at GAR, I had the opportunity to join the last session of the World Environment Day (WED) campaign and I learnt that with just a few simple conservation steps, we can save energy by a significant amount.
GAR invited Mr. Yeo Kim Dek from Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS) to talk about how to reduce energy usage at the office and at home. He explained that using less energy has lots of benefits – you can save money and help the environment at the same time.
Some consequences of wasting energy.
What appliances consume the most energy?
Surprisingly, when he asked us what the top three energy consuming appliances were, most of us guessed incorrectly. I myself thought that the highest energy consuming appliances were the refrigerator, air conditioner and television. However, Mr. Yeo revealed that it’s actually air conditioners followed by water heaters and refrigerators. He then explained that many appliances still use electricity even if it is switched off but still plugged in. Water heaters for instance use energy constantly to keep the water continuously warm.
Air conditioners top the list as the highest energy consuming appliance
He then explained to us that there are plenty of good reasons why we should make an effort to cut down our energy usage at the office and especially at home. By being sensible about our daily energy use, we can reduce our carbon footprint which has a big impact on the climate. And it will also save us money in our utility bills. If we use less energy, there is less pressure to increase the available supply of energy, for example by constructing new power plants or by importing energy from another country. Mr. Yeo encouraged everyone to think about our lifestyle decisions and find opportunities to reduce climate impact.
Mr. Yeo talking about energy consumption and climate change.
How we can save energy at home
It turns out that saving energy can be done by following some simple steps. For instance, when not using any electronic equipment, we should unplug it from the power outlet, since some electronics still use electricity even when the device is switched off. We should also set the air conditioner thermostat to the appropriate temperature, which is 24 degrees Celsius and place the condensing unit in a cooler and shaded area that does not receive direct sunlight. This is because when it is in contact with direct sunlight, the air conditioner uses more energy to keep the air cool.
Another way to increase energy efficiency is to choose the correct light bulb. By changing our light bulbs to LED light bulbs, we can make a whopping 90 percent saving in our electricity bill! Sunlight is often overlooked as a source of energy and light and the use of natural light should be maximised. This again helps us save energy and money.
After the session, I realised that using energy efficiently is not as hard as I thought it was. At home, I started to make small changes and unplugged all my electronics from the outlets. I also bought several LED light bulbs and turned off the air conditioner when not using it. Keeping these simple things in mind, we can all start to make better efforts at cutting down our energy consumption.