Friday, July 23, 2010

Ways to Save on Water and Electricity......


After my two tenants left my apartment, I challenged myself to see whether I could minimise the utility bills. I did it with the bill showing a total charge of $14.95 - my lowest.!
Now with increased charges, the bills hover around $20 - $27 and about $33 to $45 when I have guests.

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Yesterday, I invited my colleague, Jack and my friend, Paul for lunch at the popular Banana Leaf Restaurant near my home. After lunch, we proceeded back to my apartment as Jack was going to help me set up my iphone with the computer, while Paul was going to render me some assistance with cleaning the ceiling fans, windows and airconditioners.

Both my friends were surprised by the breeziness when they came to my apartment. It was so breezy that I did not even have to turn on the fan. I shared with my friends that it is breezy most of the times, and this probably accounts for the low consumption of electricity.

I guess there are also other contributing factors. I dislike to shower with warm water...hence I hardly use the instant heater; I dislike ironing clothes and have not been ironing for years! I opt for clothes that do not need to be ironed as this saves time and electricity usage. As my apartment is right in the heart of the city,
it is quite bright even with my lights off. Hence, I can find my way around the rooms even with the lights off if I should wake up in the middle of the night! I boil my water with gas, as I learn from my friends that electrical kettles consume a lot of energy.

A year and a half ago, I learnt that it helped to save power when we switch off not only the buttons on the gadgets but the power point connection as well. I did that and to my surprise, it lowered the electrical charges quite substantially every month. It takes effort, but when I think of the shy koalas coming down from the trees just to beg for water, it makes me determined to play my part to conserve energy.

Whenever, I wash my dishes or foodstuffs like fish, vegetables or fruits, I will save the water to water my plants. For soapy water, it will be used to flush the toilet. Whenever it rains heavily, the rain would also come into the corridor along
my apartment. I would put a pail to collect the rain water. It would be even easier for those living in landed properties to collect rain water. It requires effort, but when I think of the sun-dried, parched grounds in some countries during the drought season, I become even more determined to save water.

Whenever I travel alone, I will put a note for the chambermaid not to give me fresh towels or change the bedsheets until I leave the hotel after a week's stay. After all, at home, I only wash my towels once a week, and the bedsheets once every two weeks.

When I have open house, I try not to turn on the airconditioners until it is almost time to do so. After each viewing, I would go round the house at least twice to ensure that all electrical gadgets (except the refrigerator) are switched off.

One of my friends was puzzled by my low utility bills because the electrical charges for his fridge alone already amounts to about $23 a month! I asked him why he would need such a huge fridge when he is living alone. When my tenants left, I gave away my big fridge and bought a smaller one, as refrigerators consume a lot of power.

Another friend suggested that my low consumption could be due to the fact that I am hardly at home. In fact, I work from home, and would only go to the office for meetings or some paper work or when I have viewing of my clients' properties. I only put up curtains for the bedroom, but there are no curtains in the living room and study. Why put up curtains when there is no blockage and danger of people peering in.? I would also not have put up curtains in the bedroom but my tenants requested for them and I also think curtains make the room cozy. Nevertheless, it means that I could practise my violin and piano without having to turn on the lights when no curtains are drawn.

I hope to continue keeping the bills low but one person can only do a little. However, if everyone plays a part, we will have a concerted effort to save the earth, and help preserve the earth for our future generation! If my readers have any other unique ideas to save water and electricity, please share so that we can learn from one another. United we conserve - by reusing, recycling and recreating!

Gan Cao

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