As the human population continues to grow, we continue to burn dwindling fossil fuel supplies in order to keep up with our increasing power demands, harming our environment with carbon emissions in the process.
One of the many environmental initiatives created to tackle the issue is World Zero Emissions Day on Sept 21, which encourages people to go back to basics and minimise their use of fossil fuels and electricity for 24 hours.
The advice of Centre for Environment, Technology and Development Malaysia executive director Anthony Tan on things Malaysians can do to reduce their household emissions.
On average 43% of Malaysian households’ electricity consumption goes into keeping homes cool. Some steps to cut down on electricity consumption include setting the air-conditioning temperature no lower than 24 degrees Celsius, restricting the amount of time it is used in a day and using fans instead whenever the heat is more tolerable.
Refrigerators are never switched off and hence consume a great deal of electricity. Though most modern refrigerators are designed to be energy-efficient, we can further cut down on consumption by not opening the doors for too long and cleaning the refrigerator regularly to keep it running in top condition.
3. Water heater
Some people leave their water heaters switched on throughout the day to have ready access to hot water. Consider minimising its use by only switching it on shortly before you take a shower or do laundry.
Cut down on electricity consumption by using fewer light sources, switching off lights that are not in use, relying on sunlight to illuminate rooms in the daytime and switching from incandescent to energy-saving fluorescent bulbs to save in the long term.
5. Electric kettle
This may be a surprise to some, but repeated use of electric kettles to boil water throughout the day can really add up in terms of energy consumption. A better option would be to boil a full kettle once in the morning and keep that water warm in a large vacuum flask or switch back to gas kettles.
6. Washing machine
Unsurprisingly, washing machines are one of the household appliances that consume the most electricity and water in a single use. This is why many people only do their laundry at full loads, while smaller items can be hand-washed.
Though deceptively small, irons have a relatively high maximum wattage compared to other household appliances. Similar to washing machines, consider only ironing large batches of clothes; or better yet, wear more clothes that do not require ironing.
Technological advancements have reduced the power consumption of television sets significantly, but prolonged use of any electrical equipment is never good. Try cutting down on watching television or avoid it altogether and adopt healthier habits such as reading and exercising.
9. Standby mode
Tan often refers to this as the “energy vampire”. Equipment in standby mode continues to consume electricity and this can account for about 7% of all electricity usage in many developed countries. Consider switching these devices off and unplugging them and then see the difference in your electricity bills.
10. Waste management
Be it through landfills or incineration, waste disposal is a major source of carbon emissions all over the world. We can help to reduce this by separating recyclable materials such as plastic, glass and aluminium from other types of rubbish.
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