The Environment Needs You!

It’s a fact: you are damaging the environment. The conveniences that we take for granted each day help degrade our natural surroundings, bit by bit. But here’s the good news: you can help, and it’s easy!

There are a number of simple steps that everyone can take which would collectively cut down our electricity and water consumption. Cutting electricity use means burning less coal, and that means cleaner air and clearer skies.

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Use your energy efficiently.

Whenever you buy a home appliance, look for the Energy Star, with grades one to three. An air conditioner with a grade one will save 15 percent on electricity than one with a grade three.

A grade one refrigerator saves 35 percent compared to a grade three. Check the Energy Star website www.energystar.gov/ for more details on brands and products available in Hong Kong with energy labels. You’ll help save the environment and cut your power bills.

Keep your cool

Open and close your refrigerator only when necessary. Make sure the refrigerator is well sealed by putting a piece of paper between the door and the main body, and try pulling it out when the door is closed. If it comes out easily, your refrigerator is leaking cold air and wasting electricity.

Melt the frost

Don’t put your refrigerator next to a heat source, such as a stove, or in direct sunlight, as the refrigerator will work harder to stay cool. Make sure there is four centimetres between the back of the refrigerator and the wall to allow ventilation. If your refrigerator is not a frost-free model, defrost every six months for maximum efficiency.

conservation tips

Now you’re cooking

When cooking with a burner, keep the flame down so that it does not come up the sides of the pan or pot – this wastes fuel. Putting a lid on your saucepan when cooking can save up to four times the energy as open cooking. And remember: only boil the water you need – it saves power and water.

Dressed in green

Only wash a full load in the washing machine, and use cold water. Hang-dry your clothes whenever possible. Clean the filter in your clothes dryer for every load, as clogging lowers the dryer’s performance.

Do it in the shower

If possible, replace your current showerhead with a low-flow type to save water. Start using navy style showers – first, turn on the water to wet your body, then turn off the water to soap and scrub, then turn on the water for a final rinse. A ten-minute shower can use up to 60 gallons of water, but a navy shower can cut that to just three or four gallons, cutting water use and electricity consumption.

It’s better with the lights off

Here’s a thought: keeping one incandescent light bulb lit for one year requires burning over 300 kilograms of coal. So turn off all unnecessary lights and appliances that aren’t in use. Make use of natural lighting as much as possible. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs they are more expensive, but last ten times longer and are 70 to 80 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs.

Undress for the hot stuff..

When Hong Kong’s Donald Tang removed his bow tie and asked people to dress down in summer, he had a point. Air conditioning is a big part of summer electricity use. So set the thermostat to 25 degrees Celsius – every degree cooler increases your power consumption by ten percent.

Make sure that rooms with an air conditioner are well sealed to avoid losing cool air. Also, regularly clean the filter for efficient functioning. When choosing a unit, make sure it has an energy efficiency ratio of 7.5 Btu/w/h or higher… or even better, use a fan, not an air conditioner.

windmill powerOutside of the bedroom

If you have separate air conditioning controls for each room at home, only use air conditioning for the room you axe actually in.

During the day, close the bedroom and cool the living room and vice versa during the night. And always remember to close your windows if using air conditioning.

It’s not necessarily a turn-off..

Plug DVD players, stereos, computers and other equipment into power boxes (strips) with switches, and shut them off when not in use. Even in standby mode, these devices can collectively use as much power as running a light bulb.

There’s no harm in sharing

Whenever possible, walk or use public transport. If you must drive, try to share the ride with others. The more cars on the road mean more congestion, which mean more idling and more pollution. Maintain your car properly, including tire pressure and high-quality oils for engine lubrication – it cuts C02 emissions and saves fuel.

Office affairs

Remember to switch off lights, air conditioners and computers when they are not in use. Air conditioning accounts for 47 percent of an office electric bill in the summer, so if there is an individual thermostat, turn it to 25 degrees.