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close this bookIdeas for Action : Save, Recycle and Do Not Pollute (IIRR, 1992, 146 p.)
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Energy-saving actions for the home

Energy-saving actions for the home

Electricity is the primary source of power in most homes, especially those in cities. Minimizing electrical consumption should be a regular practice in our lives and not an emergency measure to be adopted during power shortages. Here is a list of energy-saving actions for a household with electrical power:


· Place lights close to the area where light is needed the most.

· Use light reflectors which make the most of available light.

· Turn off unnecessary lights. Ask yourself which lights are really necessary.

· As much as possible, use sunlight for illumination.

· Before going to sleep, check the house to ensure that all lights are turned off.

· Keep bulbs and electrical fixtures clean so they can produce the maximum amount of light.

· For bright lights, especially spot lights or outside lights usually left on for long periods, use higher wattage bulbs.

· Use flourescent lighting, instead of incandescent bulbs. They last longer and produce more light at a lower cost. These energy-saving lights are now available in the Philippines, but they are still costly to purchase.

· Replace two low-wattage fixtures with one high-wattage fixture. A single 100-watt bulb gives off 20 percent more light than two 60-watt bulbs.

· Replace high-wattage bulbs with low-wattage bulbs in places where bright light is not needed.

· Avoid use of light diffusers which tend to disperse and reduce available light.


Air conditioners

· Reduce the use of the air conditioner to lower electrical consumption and to save energy.

· Ventilate your house properly to minimize heat that enters the house and reduces the efficiency of the air conditioner.

· When using the air conditioner, start it at the lowest setting, then raise it after a few minutes. Immediately setting the air conditioner to its highest setting will not cool a room any faster.

· When leaving the room for a few hours, turn off the air conditioner.

· Place fans at least one to two feet above the floor to circulate cool air sitting on the floor.

· Use proper home insulation to keep the house cool and minimize air conditioner use.

· Check filters at least once a month. Keep them clean and replace them when they become too ragged so they will perform at peak efficiency.

· Plant trees and other plants around the house to keep it cool.

· Install air conditioner in a shaded area by a tree or an awning. Locate the unit in the coolest side of the room. The best is usually at the northern side, away from the morning and afternoon sun. This consumes less electricity. Also, install it at least one meter above the ground to ensure proper ventilation and operation of the machine.

· Open windows and use electric fans, where possible. However, during the hottest time of the day, keep windows and outer doors closed or shaded to prevent too much heat from entering.

· Install ceiling fans which help to circulate air in a room.

· Place lamps or TV set away from your air-conditioning thermostat. Heat from these appliances is sensed by the thermostat and can cause the unit to run longer than necessary to maintain coolness.

Air conditioners

Electrical or gas stoves and ranges

· When cooking, match the size of the pot to the size of the burner. Consider which cooking ware to use when cooking a certain type of dish.

· Thaw frozen food at room temperature before cooking.

· Use the proper amount of water to cover the food being cooked.

· Use a tight-fitting lid to conserve moisture.

· Do not open the oven when something is cooking. Heat escapes every time an oven door is opened, extending the cooking time and wasting energy.

· Turn off the oven a few minutes before cooking is done; the remaining heat will finish the cooking.

· Use microwave ovens, oven toasters and pressure cookers when cooking small or medium-sized portions. They cook faster than conventional ovens so they consume less electricity.

· Cook and iron clothes early in the morning and late in the evening as much as possible. This helps to keep the house cool during the hot time.

· When using charcoal or fuelwood for cooking, cook the first dish on the first stove. A few minutes before cooking is done, transfer it to a stove with lesser heat. Then, cook the second dish on the stove with high heat. Always plan what dish to cook, so charcoal and fuelwood use can be regulated.

Electrical or gas stoves and range

Refrigerators and freezers

· Avoid repeated opening and closing of the refrigerator door. Close the door quickly to keep heat from entering.

· Defrost regularly. Thick frost on the walls of the freezer acts as an insulating blanket which causes the motor to work overtime, resulting in increased power consumption.

· Keep refrigerator and freezer settings at appropriate temperatures. Set refrigerators at 4°C and freezers at about minus 15°C.

· Remove dust from the compressor units and condenser coils at the back of the refrigerator every three to four months. Clean condenser coils allow for proper cooling.

· Cool foods to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. Placing warm food in the refrigerator increases the temperature inside, thereby increasing power consumption.

· Place the refrigerator far enough from the stove or range so that it will not be affected by the heat generated. Install it where air can circulate freely around it.

· If you are buying a new refrigerator or freezer, choose energy-efficient models. Manual-defrost freezers consume less energy than automatic-defrost models. Chest freezers save more energy than upright freezers. They are better insulated and the cold air does not escape when the doors are opened.

Refrigeration and freezers

Other electrical appliances or gadgets

· Turn off electric fans when not in use. Never leave an electric fan on when there is nobody around.

· Maximize the use of a fan timer. This helps regulate the time a fan is needed to cool the area/room.

· Clean fan blades and motor regularly to make it more efficient.

· Unplug electrical appliances when not in use.

· Use the electric iron efficiently. A hand iron consumes more power than a colored TV set.

Other electrical appliances or gadgets


Ruth Caplan. Our Earth, Ourselves. Bantam Books, 1990.

Mynard Macaraig. How Green is Your Home? A Filipino Primer on Home Ecology. Earth Station, 1991.

Home Greenhouse Saver. Greenhouse Unit, Office of the Environment, Victoria, Australia.
Surviving the Coming Summer' Metrognome.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992