The effects are stark – usually bustling roads are quiet, popular shop lots are shut down, and city neighbourhoods are eerily silent.
Across the world, restricted movement orders and lockdowns are currently being enforced to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In India, domestic transport services have been forced to shut – a move echoed by several other countries. The European Union (EU) has banned all nonessential travel into Europe for 20 days, and Malaysia’s government has just announced an extension of its initial 2-week lockdown in light of the increasing number of cases each day.
With the slowdown in economic activity, citizens have been told to stay at home, and play their part in breaking the chain of infection. With increasing time being spent at home, we’re also consuming more electricity than usual. Here are some ways we can change our everyday habits to conserve energy, so that the nation’s energy supply remains sufficient for our needs.
1. Pull out the plugs! – Plugs that are not pulled out of their socket will still draw small amounts of power even when they are not being used. By leaving your device plugged in, energy is wasted and this will also reflect in your monthly bill. This practice also protects your devices from power surges. You can also refrain from using energy-heavy appliances to avoid high energy consumption.
2. Place the fridge at a place with adequate ventilation – Ensure that your refrigerator can breathe. Lack of proper ventilation results in higher energy consumption for the refrigerator to stay cool.
3. Wait till your washing machine is full! – Optimize the use of your washing machine by making sure you use it at its full capacity without overloading it to save energy.
4. Turn off your laptop the right way – Laptops left on standby for hours will still drain your battery and cause more frequent charging. Avoid this by properly turning of your computer.
5. Set your AC temperature between 24-26°C – For those who uses an air conditioner at home, the temperature setting of 24-26°C would be the most energy efficient setting. Don’t forget to close the doors and windows when the AC is turned on!
Set a timer for your air conditioner – This is even more practical at night before you sleep as a few hours of air-conditioner usage is sufficient for your room to remain cool throughout the night.
6. Iron all your clothes at once – Iron in bigger amounts at once to make use of the heat energy better. Plan your outfits ahead and iron them all at once during the weekend to save energy.
7. Switch to LED – LED bulbs are approximately 75-90% more efficient than incandescent light bulbs and are a cheaper option since they also last longer. During this lockdown period, you may find it tough to physically visit stores – but such bulbs can be found aplenty online! Another pro tip: Let your current bulbs live out their lifecycle before replacing them with the LED option.
8. Make use of natural light – opening your blinds and curtains while the sun is up minimises the use of artificial light, reducing the energy needed to light your home. Wake up bright and early to get the most out of daylight hours, and make it a habit to go to bed early – you’re conserving energy, and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule!
While energy companies are amping up their efforts to manage the crisis, consumers should also be aware of the role and effect they have during this period. As citizens, one of the best ways to play our part is to use the energy that is supplied to us as efficiently as possible. As consumers, it is within our capacity to conserve energy so that not only do we save some bucks, but we also optimize our overall energy usage, so that those who need it most, never run out of power.
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