Public sector to cut water, electricity usage: Tips to save water, energy and money at home

Some methods of cutting water wastage are washing vegetables and dishes in a filled sink, choosing energy-efficient appliances and spending less time in the shower.
Some methods of cutting water wastage are washing vegetables and dishes in a filled sink, choosing energy-efficient appliances and spending less time in the shower. PHOTOS: ST FILE, NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

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.

Reevaluate your water habits if your monthly water consumption exceeds the average household. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

2. Take shorter showers

Shower no longer than 5 minutes and turn off the tap when applying soap or shampoo. PHOTO: ST FILE

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

Wash vegetables and dishes in a full sink. PHOTO: ST FILE

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

Fill a cup of water to rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth. PHOTO: ST FILE

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

Ensure your washing machine is fully loaded when washing your clothes. PHOTO: ST FILE

Make sure you have a full load of clothes before operating your washing machine.

6. Reduced flush

Do not always use the full flush option, especially for liquid waste. PHOTO: ST FILE

Many toilet bowls come with the half or reduced flush option. Use this for liquid waste.

7. Repair leaks promptly

Take note of leaks around the house and seek to repair it to prevent wastage of water. ST PHOTO: CHEW KENG SIM

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

A fan uses less than a tenth of the electricity used by an air-conditioner. PHOTO: ST FILE

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

Save up to $15 every year for every degree you raise on your air-conditioner. PHOTO: PANASONIC

If you must use the air-conditioner, set it to about 25 deg C. You can save up to $15 every year for every degree you raise.

3. Switch off appliances at power sockets

Turn off switches when appliances are not in use. PHOTO: ST FILE

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

Switch off your computer completely if not in use for more than half an hour. PHOTO: HEWLETT-PACKARD

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

A less overloaded fridge allows more air circulation and increases cooling capabilities. PHOTO: PDA

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

An energy label from the National Environment Agency. PHOTO: NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

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