Energy Efficiency Tips
Why are energy efficiency tips important?
To cope with the fact that the world’s current energy resources are finite and would one day run out, individuals (eg. scientists, activists), organizations and nations all over the world have championed various energy conservation efforts and alternative energy efforts.
However, until the day when we are able to effectively tap on the various alternative energy sources (eg. solar or wind energy) for ever renewable energy supply, we would have to rely very much on the earth’s supply of fossil fuel and natural gas – finite energy sources – to keep our economies and households running.
In other words, while we leave our scientists and engineers to work on how better to tap on renewable energy supplies, how the rest of us can make a difference (and a substantial one too) is to conserve our energy resources, ie. reduce energy usage.
Nevertheless, in our modern world today, where many of our day-to-day activities now depend on various electrical or electronic appliances (eg. lights, automobiles, handphones, computers, etc). As such, it may be impractical to stop using some of these appliances altogether, in a bid to save energy.
In such instances, energy efficiency tips and measures become particularly important. Read more about what is energy efficiency.
Do you know that the efficient use of energy resources can help us reduce our energy consumption by as high as 30% or more?
This means that in our use of energy, actually a large amount is wasted.
If we are able to reduce our energy consumption through energy efficient measures, not only are we conserving our fossil fuel and natural gas supplies, we are also reducing our carbon emissions substantially.
Here are some energy efficiency tips and measures that both individuals like you and I, or even organizations or governments can adopt to save energy.
Use of energy efficient appliances
An example of an energy efficient appliance is the LED lighting.
Other than its much longer operational life (~ 100,000 hrs) as compared to our conventional bulbs (~5,000 hrs), the main strength of LED lightings is its reduced power consumption. When properly designed, an LED circuit can achieve as high as 80% energy efficiency, as compared to a compact fluorescent lamp (7W) or an incandescent bulb (40W). In other words ie, 80% of the electrical energy is converted to light energy. Although LED's are more costly, the cost will be offset over time in terms of energy cost savings and lower maintenance cost.
If you need to light up an entire building for 24 hours, imagine the amount of energy you can save if you use LED lights instead of the conventional bulbs or florescent! This energy efficiency tips will not only allow you to conserve energy and fight climate change, but also allow you to save money.
Very old appliances tend to be less energy efficient, either because they were not designed to be so, or because they are no longer in their optimal working conditions. As such, you may have to consider replacing them. A careful balance has to be made between energy conservation and waste reduction. If there is a real need to replace your old appliances, do consider sending them for recycling. In this way, some of their recyclable parts can be re-channelled to the production line to make new products.
One important energy efficiency tips when getting new appliances is that it is important to get the model of the correct size or capacity. Oversized or undersized appliances usually operate inefficiently.
Additional features like automatic icemakers and through-the-door dispensers on refrigerators increase energy use as well as cost at purchase. So rethink whether you need these additional features.
More and more energy efficient appliances and devices are being designed and produced today. So find out more now, and start adopting energy efficiency tips and using these energy conservation products.
Read about the various energy efficient appliances:
Besides appliances, even our automobiles can be energy efficient. Read energy efficiency tips on energy efficient cars.
Energy cost labelling
Energy cost labelling refers to the labelling of electrical or electronic appliances with information on their energy consumption rate, such that consumers can make informed choices about the long term cost of using these appliances.
With some education on the advantages of energy efficient appliances, energy cost labelling can help encourage consumers invest in slightly more expensive energy efficient appliances that are better in the longer run to their pockets and the environment.
You may think that this energy efficiency tips and measure concerns only manufacturers or regulatory bodies that put in place guidelines on retail products. That is not exactly true.
As a consumer, you have the right to ask about the energy efficiency of appliances, and make decisions based on this information. As more and more consumers demand of such information and make decisions based on them, manufacturers and retailers would be driven to provide accurate product labelling, as well as design and produce energy efficient products, in respond to the demand.
Energy efficiency standards
The implementation of energy efficiency standards by local or international authorities can make a difference.
Public education on such standards can help consumers make more discerning choices when making purchases. The enforcement of such standards in the building and retail industry also helps shape a community’s consumption pattern, whether the consumers are conscious of their “greener purchases” or not.
Different countries or communities may have their own sets of energy efficiency standards.
For example, California has in place the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards. Singapore has in place the Singapore Standard or SS530, which governs energy efficiency for building services and equipment, now includes key revisions to improve the minimum energy efficiency standards of air-conditioning equipment and electric motors. Read more about the developments and news in the area of energy efficiency.
So if your community does not already have in place energy efficiency standards, ask for them today.
Smart building / appliance controls
One important energy efficiency tips you can adopt is to make good use of the controls that come with appliances or are designed into buildings.
For example, adjust the thermostat in your refrigerator to the recommended setting. Overcooling your refrigerator wastes electricity.
Similarly, for your air-conditioner, the lower the temperature setting, the more energy it uses. Set your air-conditioning thermostat as high as comfortably possible. Once the temperature in the room reaches your desired level, the air-conditioning unit can take a break!
Avoid placing heat generating appliances near the thermostat. Otherwise, the air-conditioning unit would have to operate harder/longer than necessary to keep the room temperature at your desired level.
If your home or building does not already have these smart controls in place, then consider installing them. They would help you cut electricity cost and energy use in the long run.
Energy efficiency tips for building design
The design of buildings and the materials used to build the landscaper office or your home matters.
For example, good insulating materials help to keep the temperature within the building at the desired level, regardless of the conditions outside. Conversely, the use of less-than-effective insulating materials like the normal glass allows the undesired transfer of heat into or out of the building, resulting in unintended energy wastage in heating up (in cold regions) or cooling down (in warm regions) the building.
Installations such as curtains or blinds, especially for west-facing windows, can help to reduce the temperature of rooms during the hottest part of the day. As such, less energy needs to be used in cooling down the room.
When there is a need to air-condition multiple rooms at the same time, multi-split units are generally more energy efficient than separate single-split/ window units.
How you position the various appliances or items in the home or building also matters.
For example, the refrigerator should be kept away from direct heat sources like direct sunlight, cooker hoods and the oven. Leave sufficient space around the refrigerator for proper airflow – this allows heat to escape from the compressor and condensing coil.One energy efficient tips when positioning your air-conditioning heat exchange unit is to avoid direct sunshine on the unit, as it decreases its efficiency. Consider placing the heat exchange unit under shade, but do not block the airflow around the unit.
Energy saving behavioural changes
Some behavioural changes you and I can make to save energy include:
Switch off all appliances at the power socket when they are not in use. Standby power can account for up to 10% of the electricity use.
If you need to cool down your room, use the fan instead of the air-conditioning. The fan uses less than 1/10 of the electricity used by an air-conditioner. Alternatively, run the air-conditioner for half an hour to cool down the room quickly, and then switch to the fan after that.
If you need to use the air-conditioner for longer periods, then service your air-conditioning units and clean the air filters regularly. Such practices will allow the air-conditioner to operate at its optimal.
Read about ways to conserve energy at home. Also find out about the energy efficiency tips you can adopt when driving.
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