15 ways to slash your energy and water bill
DEWA's 'Peak Load' campaign on conserving natural resources
Natural resources cannot be replaced once gone. If they can be reproduced by man, it is likely to be a long renewal process. Without natural resources, humans will not be able to sustain life. A replacement for soil, fossil fuels and water does not yet exist.
However, there are many simple steps that you can take in your daily life to help conserve natural resources including recycling items such as aluminium and newspapers, taking a shower instead of a bath to save water, and changing your household’s light bulbs to those that are labelled energy efficient.
Here in the UAE, highlighting the importance of natural resource conservation is on the rise. DEWA has launched ‘The Peak Load’ campaign, which it hopes will be instrumental in educating residents on reducing their energy consumption and Dubai’s environmental footprint.
The peak hours of energy consumption are between 12pm-5pm, particularly between July and August. The campaign, which will be rolled out in July, aims to encourage Dubai’s residents to limit their usage and unnecessary wastage of electricity and water between these hours. It takes critical environmental messages to the consumer in a friendly and informative manner by bringing to life animated household appliances that become delighted at the opportunity of taking a daily break between the peak load hours.
HE Saeed Al Tayer, managing director & CEO of DEWA said: “During the last few years we have witnessed the highest consumption levels of water and electricity during the summer months’ peak hours. This encouraged us to adopt the idea of reducing consumption during the peak load and give a break to the household appliances and daily chores during this time,” he added.
The following list details a number of recommendations DEWA is including as part of the campaign to encourage residents to reduce their energy consumption.
- Turn off the lights
- Swap for fluorescent
- Low wattage bulbs
- Microwave over oven
- Flat-bottomed pans
- Use pressure cookers
- Minimum preheat oven times
- Clean or replace AC filters
- Self-cleaning ovens
- Quick showers
- Efficient shower head
- Fix leaky taps
- Turn off the tap
- Install aerators on kitchen and bathroom faucets
Turn off the lights
Turning off lights that are not needed, particularly in unused rooms, is one of the easiest ways to reduce energy consumption. In addition, it’s one of the most economical saving electricity tips that can help you and your family together to reduce the monthly utility bill.
Try opting for timers or motion detectors on lighting that isn’t used often. Stairways, halls, and garages get a lot of through traffic, and people often forget to shut off lights once they’ve passed by. Install motion sensors that turn lights on when you walk in and off when motion is no longer detected.
Swap for fluorescent bulbs
Yellow incandescent light bulbs need to be replaced by fluorescent light bulbs or tubes as an efficient energy measure. These energy saving light bulbs not only give you much brighter lighting, but using them will result in noticeably cheaper electricity bills.
With these bulbs it is a case of result over cost. They do cost more to purchase than the older incandescent bulbs, but over time, that bit of difference in pricing will be offset by your savings. That’s primarily because the fluorescent bulb not only consumes less electricity, but it also lasts a lot longer than your typical light bulb.
Low wattage bulbs
Did you know the cost of using a 100watt bulb for one hour?
The electricity consumption during one hour is: 0.1kW*1h=0.1kWh.
Suppose the same tariff for residential is applied 30fils/kWh (including fuel surcharge)
Then: Electricity consumption cost of a 100 Watt bulb for one hour will be: kWh*30fils/kWh=3fils
Microwave over oven
Microwaves can save energy by up to 80% during cooking. So when summer temperatures may border on feverish, consider microwaving food to prepare a dish without the unpleasant side effects of heating the house. They are more efficient than ovens because they cook food faster and don’t heat the space around them.
Since using a microwave doesn't produce the excess heat a stove or oven would, it lowers the need for air conditioning.
For best contact with the heat, use flat bottomed pans with tight-fitting lids to keep the steam in the pan.
The contact between cookware and the cook top or electric element is important for efficiency. Flat-bottomed cookware on an electric element will use only about two thirds of the energy as a warped piece of cookware.
Use pressure cookers
Pressure cookers use less energy than conventional pots and pans because the pressure they produce at higher temperatures produces the boiling point.
The higher temperature allows the cooking to be completed faster, reducing energy costs by about two thirds. A pressure cooker may use only 25% of the energy that a traditional pan would.
Minimum preheat oven times
Only preheat the oven 5 to 8 minutes when baking and do not preheat the oven for broiling or roasting.
Letting the oven preheat longer than needed increases energy cost. A high preheat setting doesn’t make any difference to the speed the oven is heated at. It will only overheat the oven leading to wasted energy.
Clean or replace AC filters
Clogged, dirty filters block normal air flow and reduce an AC system’s efficiency. With normal air flow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil's heat-absorbing capacity.
The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your AC is to routinely replace or clean its filters. Keeping the filter clean can lower an AC's energy consumption by 5%–15%.
Newer ovens have additional insulation and tighter-fitting oven door gaskets and hinges to save energy.
These include self-cleaning models which use less energy for normal cooking because of higher insulation levels. However, watch how often you use the self-cleaning facility. More than once a month usage will result in you using more energy than you will save from the extra insulation.
A quick shower can use much less water than a bath. However, not all showers are water efficient. High volume power showers can use more water than a bath in less than five minutes.
Use a shower timer to reduce your time in the shower. One minute off your shower time, for a family of four would save 12,000 litres of water a year.
Efficient shower head
Fitting a water flow regulator to your shower head reduces the amount of water used by about 30 per cent without affecting the performance of your shower.
There are two basic types of low-flow showerheads: aerating and laminar-flow. Aerating showerheads mix air with water, forming a misty spray. Laminar-flow showerheads form individual streams of water. If you live in a humid climate, you might want to use a laminar-flow showerhead because it won't create as much steam and moisture as an aerating one.
Fix leaky taps
A dripping tap can waste up to 15 litres of water a day and can mean you're paying for water you haven't used. They can also cause a lot of damage to your property and possibly to neighbouring properties. Simple plumbing jobs can save a lot of water without being expensive. For example, fix dripping taps or overflows and install a leak detector to warn you about leaks anywhere in your house.
Turn off the tap
The average bathroom faucet flows at a rate of two gallons per minute. Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth in the morning and at bedtime can save up to 8 gallons of water per day, which equals 240 gallons a month!
Install aerators on kitchen and bathroom faucets
Faucet aerators effortlessly save water by as much as 4%. Bathroom and kitchen aerators are simple screw in attachments with wire screens that mix air into the water flow.
Aerators also reduce the natural gas and electricity cost involved with water heating. Aerators coupled with water saving shower heads can reduce the average homes hot water usage by as much as 50%.
Whenever possible, compost food scraps. There are a number of energy saving reasons behind composting. Your rubbish is about 40% organic waste — composting keeps it all out of landfill and reduces the number of collection trucks on the road. The organic wastes that end up in landfills decompose without oxygen and produce methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Composts also reduce the need for chemical fertilisers which run off into the water table.