How to use less energy in our homes

This is Part 2 of a series of articles on energy use in the Philippines, what we can all do to lessen energy use in our homes, and El Nido Resorts as a case study for how small changes mean big savings.

The first part in our series of articles showed where the Philippines gets its energy, where it goes, and why we need to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels as soon as possible. For Part 2, we’re sharing some handy tips on what you can do in your homes to decrease your energy use. Remember: less energy used = more financial savings = less pollution and carbon dioxide. Everybody wins!

1. Invest in compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) instead of incandescent bulbs. CFLs use 75% less energy, generate 75% less heat, and last up to 10 times longer than the average incandescent. CFLs also now come in “warm white” color, which mimics the pleasant glow of an incandescent. The prices of CFLs have dropped over the years so there’s no reason not to make the big switch. If you want to go even more energy efficient, light emitting diodes (LEDs) give off the same bright light but with the least electricity used.

Photo by Nestor Galina (via Flickr)

2. Turn off and unplug electronic equipment (computers, TVs, kitchen appliances, etc.) when not in use. Unplugging is important as electronics in standby mode still consume electricity.

unplugging the machine
Photo by Chris Phan (via Flickr)

If unplugging numerous appliances is a hassle…

3. Plug electronics into power strips where the power to several appliances can be turned off with the flick of a switch.

Put All Device Chargers on One Power Strip (154/365)
Photo by Brittany Lynne Photography (via Flickr)

4. Choose energy-efficient appliances. The top electricity-uses in your home are your refrigerator and washing machine. Appliances with the ENERGY STAR label meet the strict energy efficiency requirements of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Department of Energy.

5. If you’re addicted to hot water, try installing solar water heaters on your roofs. Over a 20 year period, one solar heater can prevent the release of over 50 tons of carbon dioxide.

Solar Water Heater
Photo by Sterling College (via Flickr)

6. Use light colored, loose weave fabric for curtains. This way, you get the privacy you need but still let the daylight in. More daylight equals less need for artificial indoor lighting during the day.

curtains, 9 pm
Photo by Anthony Easton (via Flickr)

7. Drive less often. Consider walking or riding a bicycle. Not only is it good for the environment, it’ll be good for you too.

Save gas... Ride a bicycle!
Photo by Ron Miguel RN (via Flickr)

If a bicycle isn’t possible due to weather or safety considerations…

8. Commute. Taking public transportation like buses or trains means less cost for you, fewer cars on the road, and less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But if you really have to take  a car because the public transport system isn’t that good…

9. Drive smart. Choose a fuel-efficient car. Find out what your most fuel-efficient speed is and stick to that on highways. Aggressive driving habits like speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard breaking waste gas. If you can, load things in the trunk and not on the roof rack. A roof rack creates drag and slows you down. Take the time to clean out your car. The junk in your back seat or trunk means extra weight, and extra weight means wasted fuel.

10.When cooking on a gas stove, look for blue flames. If the flame is yellow or red, this means that the cooking gas isn’t being burned efficiently and it’s time to clean the burners.

Stove flame
Photo by Paul Kretek (via Flickr)

11. Match the size of the pan with the amount of food you’re cooking. Using a large pan when you’re cooking only a small amount of food wastes both the time and energy needed to heat the pan.

12. Don’t open the refrigerator door often. Hot air enters the fridge each time you open it, making the compressor work harder and use more electricity. Also check if the fridge seals are tight. You can do this by inserting a piece of paper between the seals. If the paper falls or is pulled out easily, then it’s time to replace the seals.

13. If you can help it, use an electric fan instead of an air conditioner.

Part 3: El Nido Resorts as a case study for how small changes can mean big savings.

Additional resources:
Energy Savers Guide from the US Department of Energy


Read all articles by Macy Anonuevo.

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