Simple & practical ways to reduce your energy consumption and utility bills

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These past few months saw the majority of us hunkered down at home, and while it did allow our planet to take a much-needed breather and recuperate, all this extra time spent indoors amid circuit breaker measures has led to a spike in our utility bills.

According to solar energy company Sunseap, just between the months of February and March, electricity consumption among households went up by a whole 5 per cent.

Even as more head back to work and school in phase two of of Singapore’s recovery plan, being mindful of your household’s energy consumption can go a long way towards keeping your power bill to the minimum in the long run.

Here are some easy ways to reduce your power consumption:

1. Install energy-efficient light bulbs

This should be a no-brainer, but if you are still holding onto the traditional incandescent light bulbs, it’s about time you switch them out for LED bulbs.

While they may be slightly pricier, LED bulbs are known to consume up to 75 per cent less energy than the pesky old bulbs.

After all, it is better to spend more now so that you can save more in the long run. LED bulbs have a considerably longer life span, therefore contributing less waste.

2. Upgrade home-tech with motion-sensitive lights

Motion-sensitive light switches are becoming more commonplace, not only in commercial spaces but also in homes. These are especially helpful if you often forget to turn off lights when you leave a room.

To maximise the effectiveness of these sensor lights, place them in a room where the likelihood of leaving a light on accidentally is high – like bathrooms, laundry rooms and storage rooms.

3. Light dimmers

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So you’ve got your LED bulbs installed. Want to cut down power consumption even more? Opt for dimmable LED lighting.

These specials bulbs come with their own dimmer switches that be used to customise the intensity of your lights and as a result, reduce wattage.

Reducing the brightness also helps to cool down the bulbs, thereby stretching out their life spans.

And as an added bonus, you now have your own mood lighting which you can play with to set the scene for cosy date nights at home.

4. Harness solar energy

Solar panels are a great way to offset energy costs, reduce the environmental impact of your home and contribute to energy independence.

While installing solar panels large enough to power our whole house may not be possible given the space constraints, there are other ways to harness its benefits.

Smaller solar panels can be used to recharge power banks for later use. IKEA also stocks various types of pendant and chain lights that are powered purely by solar energy.

5. Work energy-efficiently

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As good as working from home sounds, it has its own challenges. One of them being, mastering time management.

Cut down on screen time by avoiding distractions like social media while you are working. Plus, wrapping up work early gives you more free time to unwind and relax.

Another way to work smartly is to take advantage of natural light.

Instead of instinctively reaching out for your light switch, adapt your workspace in a way that you can get direct sunlight – ideally by a window. All that natural light is also known to boost mood and productivity.

6. Stand up against standby power

Household appliances like set-top boxes and TVs are energy vampires that leech electrical power even when switched off. In fact, standby power can cost you about $25 a year.

Before you go to bed, remember to switch off devices at the socket.

A more efficient way would be to use power strips so that you don’t have to go through the hassle of switching off your devices one at a time.

This article was first published in City Nomads.