Going green at home isn’t just sustainable; it’s economical too. Here are 10 ways you might be wasting energy (and money) without even realising, and what you can do about it.
In 2018, Singapore’s National Environment Agency reported that household electricity consumption had increased by approximately 17% over the previous decade. Financially that equates to around $1000, and 7,295 GWh (gigawatt hours) of electricity per household, per year. If Singapore is to meet its 2030 climate targets, it’s not just the industrial and public sector that need to make significant changes. We can all take #LittleGreenSteps to decrease our energy consumption, many of which won’t make a difference to your everyday life.
If your monthly energy bill is an unwelcome arrival every month, chances are your energy consumption is higher than it needs to be. The first step in reducing the energy used in your home is to track it. And to do that, things like the SP Utilities app can be really helpful. It allows you to track monthly spend and better understand your consumption through monitoring energy usage. Once you’ve got a starting point and with a few simple changes, it’s easy to reform your habits at home. Not only is this better for the environment, but your bank account will also thank you. Here are 10 common causes of energy-wastage that we should all be mindful of, and one easy solution from SP Group that will help keep you on track.
1. Heating water
According to a 2017 National Environment Agency (NEA) survey, in most homes heating water is the third-largest use of energy. Most manufacturers set their water heater thermostats to 60°C. Try switching it down to 50°C and we bet you won’t even notice the temperature difference of your shower. And we are in Singapore after all, cold or room temperature showers are more refreshing anyway!
2. Long hot showers
Your shower’s dirty little secret is that it typically accounts for up to 30% of your household’s water consumption (according to this NEA report). Take shorter showers and switch to a water-saving showerhead; it’ll help you reduce water consumption and save you energy too.
3. Keeping things Arctic indoors
If you need to wear a sweater indoors, it’s too cold. Turn your air-con down and limit your usage. Or better still, turn it off. OK, we get it; in Singapore’s humidity that’s easier said than done. But think about how many times you’ve left a room and left the cold air blasting. Be conscious of your consumption, go easy on the AC, and you’ll notice a significant financial saving.
4. Overcharging devices
Do you leave your phone or laptop plugged in when it’s at 100% charge? Guess what: it can’t be any more charged! Multiply the excess energy usage with all of the devices in your household, and you’ve got a lot of wastage going on there. It’s time to unplug and step away from the charger.
5. Washing your clothes on hot
According to the Energy Savings Trust, if you wash your clothes at 30 degrees, you’ll use 40% less electricity over a year than if you washed at higher temperatures. And while you’re at it, only start a wash when your machine is at least 3/4 full. Empty loads equal wasted energy.
6. Tumble drying laundry
Tumble drying your laundry uses just over 4kWh of energy and produces around 1.8kg of CO2 per cycle. Multiply that by the number of households in Singapore, and the number of cycles per week and, well, you do the maths. Just think how many tonnes of CO2 would be saved per year if we all just hung our clothes out to air dry naturally. Not to mention the dollars.
7. Old-school lightbulbs
Still using old-school incandescent lightbulbs? Take a step into 2020 and make the switch to LED or other energy-efficient bulbs. Not only do they last up to 25% longer, but they also use up to 80% less energy. And you know what that means; a cash saving (wahoo!).
8. Leaving your lights on
If you’re not in the room, the light’s don’t need you. And if you do need more light, open your curtains and let the sun do what it does best.
9. Old appliances
When your white goods do need replacing, opt for newer, energy-efficient models. It might cost a little more upfront, but you’ll get the extra investment back, and then some, once your energy bills start reducing. And shop around before buying anything, because the good news is energy-efficient models aren’t necessarily the most expensive. Helpfully, Singapore’s National Environment Agency created a 5-ticks system for appliances so its easy to tell whether your next purchase is energy efficient. In a nutshell; the more ticks, the better. So where possible always opt for appliances with a four or five tick rating.
10. Having everything plugged in, all the time
Just because an appliance is turned off, doesn’t mean it’s not consuming energy. Be sure to switch off at the wall socket and unplug if you’re not using something. According to Finder.com.au, leaving a Playstation on standby after using it for 90 minutes a week can cost an extra $37 per year in energy use. Add the rest of your gadgets and gizmos into the equation, and it soon racks up.
The solution: GreenUP.
Despite all these changes, it can sometimes feel like you’re fighting a losing battle if others in your household aren’t as mindful, which is where the SP Utilities app comes in. Through GreenUP, it encourages every individual and household to do their part through its fun and engaging platform. By completing different green challenges, you can earn points in the form of ‘leaves’ that can be redeemed for vouchers to be used in malls across Singapore. It makes going green at home that little bit easier, and a lot more fun. Download the handy app here to get saving.