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There is no better time to find practical ways to eliminate waste and increase your savings. In many households, energy bills are a major part of the monthly expense. So, it is only wise that we all seek and embrace ways to ensure that we aren′t paying any more than we need to. More importantly, by cutting our energy consumption we will be helping to reduce the burning of fossil fuels which are a major producer of greenhouse gases like CO2 responsible for climate change and other negative health impacts.

This is particularly true for places like Nigeria where electricity tariffs have recently been hiked by between 50% and 100%, depending on location and other factors. The first step is to identify the biggest energy consuming appliances in your homes, businesses and offices. The typical consumption pattern in many homes is as shown:

Fossil-fuel powered energy plants contribute to CO2 emissions and climate change. Photo credit: Viktor Kiryanov
  1 Air Conditioning and Heating 46%
  2 Water Heating 14%
  3 Appliances (fridge, washing machine etc.) 13%
  4 Lighting 9%
  5 Others 12%

Here are some tips to help us save energy, save money and do the planet some good:

  • Use energy saving light bulbs. In the long run, they contribute significantly to energy and cost savings. Replacing 5 of your home′s most frequently used lights with energy-efficient bulbs could save you $75 a year in energy costs.
  • Sunlight is free and good for you too. Make the most of it. Switch off electric bulbs during the day and maximize the use of daylight. The sun is also great for drying your laundry too. Choose window treatments that allow you to use natural light while reducing heat loss and gain.
  • Energy efficient window treatments or covering such as blinds, shades and films can cut heat gain when temperatures rise. Apart from their aesthetic value they also reduce energy costs.
  • Switch off appliances that are not in use. Why leave an empty fridge or freezer running?
  • Do not put hot or warm food or drinks directly into the fridge or freezer. Leave outside to cool before you do so. Your appliances will thank you for it too.
  • Defrost your freezer regularly. This will help to keep it running effectively and efficiently.
  • When possible, use fans instead of air conditioners (ACs).
Harnessing the power of the wind. Photo credit: Jason Blackeye
  • Switch off your ACs when leaving the room for more than 15 minutes. Ceiling fans are great and can help to raise your thermostat four degrees thereby lowering your electricity bills without sacrificing overall comfort.
  • Remember to keep doors and windows shut when the ACs are in operation.
  • Open your windows and enjoy a crosswise breeze instead of using the ACs. This allows you to naturally cool your homes when temperatures are mild.
  • Use an electric kettle to boil water rather than an electric cooker.
  • It is cheaper to cook using natural gas than electric cookers.
  • Opt to use an outdoor grill rather than an indoor oven to help keep the heat out of your home.
  • Use heating appliances with functional thermostats.
  • Install and set a programmable thermostat. This could help you save an estimated 10 percent per year on heating and cooling costs.
Renewable energy like solar is a great investment. Photo credit: Sungrow EMEA
  • Do not leave water heaters on for too long.
  • You can also lower the water heater temperature and install low-flow showerheads to reduce your water heating bills.
  • When ironing, ensure you set the iron to the right temperature for the fabrics to be ironed.
  • Iron clothing in bulk rather than small quantities at a time.
  • Replace old inefficient appliances with newer energy efficient models. Switch to ENERGY STAR appliances, fans and electronics.
  • Use an electric power strip (extension box) for your electronic equipment. This helps reduce phantom loads and could save you $100. Turn it off when not in use.
  • Ensure that you only hire professionals to maintain your heating and cooling systems. Check and replace your air filters regularly and arrange for annual maintenance with a qualified technician.
  • Take it a step further by consulting a home performance contractor to achieve large savings. These professionals will conduct a comprehensive audit of your entire house or office using special tools to measure home energy efficiency.

Another great alternative is to consider renewable energy options like solar energy. In some cases, the initial cost may be relatively high, but it is a great investment in the long run. This way you may be able to go off grid at your off-peak hours.

I′m sure you have found a few tips that you can start to apply right away.

What tips have you got up your sleeves? Share them with us, we′ll be glad to learn.


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