The time is now. Thanks to the likes of Greta Thunberg and the millions of people who have poured onto streets around the world in recent weeks to protest against Climate Change, we are more aware than ever about the terrible effect we are having on our planet. Our resources, our wildlife and the natural beauty that surrounds us are under threat and we can often feel totally powerless to do anything to change this perilous state.
But, as is often the case, the answer begins in the home. Indeed, there are a multitude of small changes you can make around your house to help our planet and save yourself money in the process.
Switch It Off
We all know that switching lights off when we leave the room is important but it is very easy to forget to do it. Remember – the most energy saving bulb is one that is not switched on and this small action can make a huge difference to the environment.
According to a study at Boston University, if you turn off the lights whenever you leave a room, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 0.15 pounds per hour. Put another way, the university calculated that if everyone on its campus turned off one light, for one hour a day, for one year, they could save 733,475 kWh per year, the equivalent of removing 97 cars (or 1,161,000 pounds of CO2) from the road for an entire year.
Hot and Bothered
Here in Malta, we feel reliant on air-conditioning during the summer months. But is there anything we can do to save energy while still keeping cool?
Firstly, as with our light bulbs, if we are not in a room, we don’t need the air-conditioning on in it. It would be better to close doors and windows, and keep the curtains or blinds drawn. When re-entering the room, consider whether a fan would do as good a job of keeping the room comfortably cool. And, if air-conditioning is the only way, set your machine to no less than 26 degrees. There is no need for icy conditions indoors, no matter how hot it is outside, and too low a temperature wastes money and resources.
Cold and Draughty
Conversely, as a nation best set up for our hotter months, the winter in Malta can result in unnecessary use of energy in order to warm up our chilly houses. First of all, ensure that no draughts are the cause for inclement conditions. Better insulation around windows and doors can go a long way to keep a room warm without requiring expensive heaters. Furthermore, our hard floors – perfect in the summer – can be a little too chilly underfoot. Rather than heating the whole room up, would a few rugs (and a cosy pair of slippers!) help to keep the chill away? Lastly, if heating devices are required, set them to a sensible temperature (no more than 18 degrees) and ensure that they are switched off at the wall when not in use.
Every Little Helps
There are a great many ways in which you can save money and help our planet when using energy around the home. By increasing your energy efficiency, you will see a big difference on your monthly bills and will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you are playing a small part in finding solutions for our climate crisis.