SINGAPORE - The public sector will cut its usage of water and electricity by a significant amount by 2020, under a new Public Sector Sustainability Plan announced on Monday (June 5).
Steps include setting a higher temperature setting for thermostats in air-conditioned offices, while more green electronics and paper products will be bought.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said the move would help set an example for the wider community to adopt sustainable practices.
Here's how the general public can do their part at home, while saving money along the way.
Water saving tips
1. Monitor water bills
Check your water bill to monitor your household's monthly water consumption. If it exceeds the average, relook your water usage habits.
2. Take shorter showers
Keep showers to under five minutes. When applying shampoo or soap, turn off the tap instead of leaving the water running. Taking a five-minute shower instead of a 10-minute one can save up to 45 litres a day.
3. Wash in a filled sink
When washing vegetables and dishes, fill your sink with water instead of cleaning them under a running tap.
4. Use a glass when brushing your teeth
Instead of using water from a running tap when brushing your teeth, fill a glass or cup with water and swill your mouth with water from that.
5. Wash on a full load
Make sure you have a full load of clothes before operating your washing machine.
6. Reduced flush
Many toilet bowls come with the half or reduced flush option. Use this for liquid waste.
7. Repair leaks promptly
Repair leaks and dripping taps immediately to prevent water wastage. To find out if there is a leak, switch off all the taps and check the water meter. If the meter is still running, there is a leak.
8. Reuse water
Collect rinse water from the washing machine for flushing the toilet or mopping the floor. Water from washing vegetables can also be used for watering plants.
9. Ask for a free water saving kit
If all else fails, ask for a free water saving kit from PUB to help you reduce as much as 5 per cent of your monthly water consumption. Get the kit here.
Power saving tips
1. Use a fan to keep cool
Air-conditioners consume the bulk of a household's electricity bill - a fan uses less than a tenth of one. This can also save you $400 per year, based on an electricity cost of $0.27 per kWh of electricity with a 2.6kW air-conditioner and/or a 50W standing fan.
2. Set air-con temperature to 25 deg C
3. Switch off appliances at power sockets
Standby power can account for up to 10 per cent of your home electricity use. This can be fixed by simply turning off switches when appliances are not in use.
4. Turn off your computer instead of leaving it in hibernation mode
If you are not using your computer for more than half an hour, switch it off completely. Leaving a 300W desktop computer switched on for eight hours or overnight daily will cost about $240 a year.
5. Get your fridge sorted
Do not overload your fridge. Placing too many food items inside can block air circulation and reduce cooling capabilities. Allow hot food to cool before storing it in the fridge, and cover liquids and food that you store. Uncovered liquid and food release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
6. Check energy labels before buying appliances
Choose an energy-efficient appliance by checking the labels. A four-tick air-conditioner, for instance, saves you hundreds of dollars a year compared to a one-tick model.
Sources: PUB, NEA