10 things you can do beyond Earth Hour

By Patricia Hului


wwf_earth_hour_300x250_cccEarth Hour is an annual lights-off event organised by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to encourage global community to create a sustainable world.

Starting in Sydney, Australia in 2007, the event takes place end of March from 8.30pm to 9.30pm local time globally.

This year, Earth Hour falls on Mar 28 where participants can commit by simply turning off the light for one hour.

Before you think Earth Hour is a phenomenal event that will instantly reduce energy usage, it is not.

But it is a symbolic action, in fact an important one. It is an initiative to promote accountability among individuals, businesses and governments in the world for their energy consumptions.

The official logo of Earth Hour ’60’ represent the 60 minutes where we focus on the human impact on the planet and to take action in addressing it.

For Earth Hour 2011, ’60+’ was introduced symbolizing a commitment to add to Earth Hour a positive act for the planet goes beyond the hour.

So what matters the most is actually what you can continuously do after Earth Hour ended.

Here are 10 things You Can Do beyond Earth Hour:

1. Switch off that light

Switching off your lights is a simple act to do but still easily taken for granted.

As we are blessed with natural lighting most times in a year, it is wise to make full use of it. Pull the curtain wide open so that you can make full use of natural light at your office instead of switching on the lights.

Outdoor lights are necessary for home safety but without a timer, the lights could be left on unnecessarily until somebody wakes up in the morning to turn them off. Hence, it is important to wire your outdoor lights with a timer so that they can be switched off the moment the first sun ray hits.

2. Unplug those appliances

After watching your favourite show on TV, it is a natural thing to do to switch off your TV and Astro decorder.

But how many of us actually put that extra effort to unplug our appliances? To shut down the computer and unplug it instead of putting it in sleep mode?

CompareHero reported in 2003 that unplugged appliances and chargers cost consumers around the world US$10 billion in electric bills every year – that is roughly RM36 billion of wasted energy!

It is definitely a good habit for every household to switch off and unplug all of your appliances. Plus, it helps to prolong the life of your appliances as well.

3. Fight against Frozen Office Syndrome

Admit it, some of your offices are perhaps even colder than Elsa’s ice castle.

All of us want a comfortable working environment, but it does not mean that we have to wear an extra layer of clothes to do so.

Tenaga National Berhad (TNB) advised customers through their official website stating, “Raising the temperature settings 1oC can visibly affect your total electricity bill at the end of the month, and probably without anyone even noticing the difference.”

They added, “While wearing sensible work attire, a cool 24-26oC should be enough to keep everyone comfortable in the office, and mean significant savings in electricity.”

4. Change those lightbulbs

One of many success stories over the past nine years since Earth Hour started was in the US when hundreds of thousands of Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lights were installed by girl scouts.

Picking the right type of lightbulb is crucial to save energy. The prices of LED lightbulbs and compact fluorescent lamps compared to incandescent bulbs are expensive, but can save electricity in the long run.

5. Go Digital

Do you know it takes 6,950 to 13,900 watt-hours to produce 1 kg of paper?

Going digital by reading online news or downloading (legally) e-books also play a part in saving energy.

If you are not ready to go digital all the way, print wisely is also another simple way to go beyond this Earth Hour.

Only print when it is necessary and if possible, always use both sides of paper. Another small step is to check before making a purchase if the books or papers are coming from sustainable forest.

6. Say no to plastic bags and styrofoam

Kudos to Sibu for being the first town in Sarawak to ban the use of polystyrene or styrofoam.

Effective since Jan 1, 2014 Sibu Municipal Council successfully implemented a programme to replace styrofoam meal boxes with bio-degradable paper boxes.

Besides the health hazard, the use of styrofoam and plastic bags also require a lot of energy to produce and recycle.

Bring your own food containers if you have to and do not forget reusable bags as well.

7. Power saver mode on

As you read this on your laptop, computer, phone or tablet, take a look at the settings. Are you on power saver mode?

When it comes to gadgets, extra uses of functions means extra consumption of energy.
Turn off your Bluetooth, mobile data or Wi-Fi modes when not in use and adjust your screen lighting to avoid energy wastage.

8. All about the fridge

If there is a thing in your house that runs on electricity 24 hours a day is none other than the refrigerator.

Hence, it is vital to efficiently use the refrigerator to save energy.

On Water and Energy Consumer Association of Malaysia’s website, the group promoted ways on how consumers can practice energy efficiency and energy saving in their home especially on the usage of refrigerator.

“Get a fridge according to necessity and not because of interest of having huge ones at home because larger fridges uses more electricity,” they stated.

The group also highlighted that when using the refrigerator, ensure the food is arranged in such a way that allows free air movement between food items.

Apart from that, the placement of your refrigerator is also important to avoid unnecessarily energy consumption.

Do not place your fridge near heat sources such as an oven or direct sunlight because an increase in surrounding temperatures can cause higher energy consumption.

The association reminded that the efficiency of a refrigerator also depends on the condenser coils and care should be given to the cleanliness of them.
So what are you waiting for? Time to clean that refrigerator.

9. Say yes to solar power bank

Power bank could been a God-sent invention for us who rely a lot on our mobile devices on a daily basis.

But it is also an excuse for us to be wasteful on our mobile devices’ batteries since we know there is a power bank to turn to when the battery run out.

Instead of the traditional power bank, opt for a solar power bank. Solar power banks can be charged with sunlight or the conventional way of plugging it on any power outlets. They are easily available here in Malaysia especially on famous online retail stores such as Lazada, Mudah and Lelong.

10. Plant A Tree

We usually turn up the fan speed or lower air-conditioner temperatures when the weather is hot.

Living in a city is noticeably warmer than rural areas because of the urban heat island effect.

Urban heat islands are caused by many reasons including lack of vegetation.

Plants can lower surface and air temperatures by providing shade to avoid heat from direct sunlight and through evapotranspiration, a process where plants release water into the air from soil.

This calls for a trip to the nearest nursery!

Official logo courtesy of www.earthhour.org.

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