Another year brings another edition of Earth Hour, an annual event that symbolizes what we can do to conserve energy and reduce the effects of climate change. Non-essential lights will be turned off for 60 minutes, and this will be happening across the globe.
The idea of saving energy becomes more important now that the summer season has arrived, which usually brings higher electric bills due to the increased use of appliances such as electric fans and air-conditioners. While Earth Hour comes only once a year, here are some practical tips to promote energy conservation tips that we can use every day:.
Cutting down energy consumption at home
As the saying goes, kindness begins at home, and it’s especially true where caring for the Earth is concerned. As we spend a lot of time within the comfort of our own space, it’s a good starting point for learning how to save energy.
Lights, for instance, make up as much as 9 percent of a household’s total electric bill, so here are a few ways to make them more energy-efficient:
Switch off lights and appliances when they’re not being used. There’s no use in leaving the room lights turned on or the television set running when there’s no one around. Using ambient light is a good alternative, where applicable.
If you haven’t done so already, you may want to switch from incandescent and fluorescent bulbs to LEDs. LEDs not only come in stylish designs, but they are also more powerful in terms of light output, plus they are more energy-efficient since they give off less heat than standard bulbs.
Then there are appliances such as the electric fans, air-conditioners, and refrigerators which are directly responsible for cooling duties:
For electric fans and air-conditioning, periodic cleaning is necessary. Aside from making them presentable, cleaning maintains their cooling efficiency, so they won’t consume more energy than necessary.
Be sure to remove dust and other contaminants from fan blades, grilles, aircon blowers, and filters. If your fan or aircon is equipped with a timer, use them to limit the number of hours they run (and the amount of electricity they consume).
As large appliances, refrigerators tend to use more electricity, so set their temperature to the manufacturer’s recommendation; neither too high nor too low, but just enough to sufficiently cool the contents inside.
Regularly defrost the freezer to prevent excessive frost buildup that increases electricity consumption. Also, avoid having to constantly open the refrigerator door, as this practice interrupts cooling efficiency.
Other devices in the household also consume electricity in varying degrees, so reducing that consumption can have a significant effect on your electric bill:
For many appliances, it’s not enough to just hit the OFF switch. Unused devices left plugged in can still consume electricity through what is called a phantom load, so unplugging them can shave off pesos from your electric bill.
Over time and even with regular maintenance, your household gadgets will not run as smoothly as they once did. Eventually, these will have to be replaced with more energy-efficient models, which can potentially cut your electric bill by half.
Your smartphone is also a planet-saver
Believe it or not, that little electronic wonder in your hands also plays a part in saving energy. Even with technology resulting in a new smartphone model every few months now, your current phone can still lessen its energy consumption to extend its lifespan and reduce the amount of electronic waste you produce.
One of the first things that can be adjusted is the phone’s display:
Always use your phone’s power-saving feature, which modifies your phone’s settings to make it more efficient when the battery reaches a pre-set level.
At night, put it on airplane mode before you go to sleep; this will deactivate the phone’s wireless functions, minimizing its power consumption.
Use the Screen Timeout feature when you’re not using the phone after a set period, ideally between 30 seconds and one minute. You can also dim the screen or use a dark wallpaper, which reduces power consumption.
Apps can also have an effect on your phone’s energy efficiency:
Ensure your apps are running the latest version, as updates can include fixes to help extend battery life.
Close an app after using it to avoid consuming excess energy.
Uninstall apps you no longer need so you don’t accidentally open and cause them to run in the background.
Manage wireless features that use up a major portion of the phone’s battery:
Turn off the phone’s GPS if it’s not needed since this drains the battery. The same goes for Bluetooth, which constantly searches for a signal if there are no wireless accessories connected.
If you can, use Wi-Fi instead of mobile data to connect to the internet, as the former uses less battery power.
You’ll eventually need to charge your phone, so here’s how to do it right:
Recharge the phone when the battery level is between 30 and 80 percent, as this uses a lower voltage that’s less likely to degrade the battery sooner.
Avoid using the phone while charging, then unplug the charger as soon as the battery reaches 100 percent.
Only use genuine chargers for your phone, as aftermarket ones may not be able to handle the proper voltage, eventually damaging the battery.
Generally, you might want to keep your phone usage at a healthy level. Try not to use the phone for extended periods of time, as this will cause the battery to run hot. You might also want to avoid bringing out your phone when you’re under the sun for the same reason.
While these tips may seem more mundane when compared to Earth Hour, you don’t need grand gestures just to show that you care about reducing your carbon footprint. The results they bring certainly add up not just in saving energy, but also money for you and the planet for everyone.