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Smart tips for an energy-efficient home

With summer upon us, the Energy Department  once again called on the public to promote energy efficiency and demand side management to avoid spikes in electricity prices.

“Demand-side management is one of the measures that we are encouraging our consumers to practice. By doing this, our energy consumption is made more efficient and economical, with the beneficial effect ultimately reflected and felt through our electric bills,” says Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi. “When energy-efficiency becomes second-nature to us, we are able to cushion whatever impact may be caused by spikes in the cost of electricity,” Cusi said. Cusi said the department has come out with “consumer-friendly tips, very simple and very doable energy saving tips.” With this in mind the department, through its Energy Utilization Management Bureau (EUMB) developed the following appliance-focused and consumer-managed energy-saving tips aimed primarily aimed at helping Filipino energy consumers manage their electricity consumption. 

Start with cleaning fluorescent lights regularly as dust can decrease its illumination. Incandescent bulbs should be replaced with compact fluorescent lamps.

For airconditioners, the department says consumers should choose a unit with high Energy Efficiency Ratio. Having a high EER guarantees a more efficient motor and consumes less electricity. 

Consumers should also select an aircon whose cooling capacity is appropriate for the size of the room.  

Always keep the filter and condenser clean and keep doors and windows closed when the aircon is operating. Reducing aircon use to two hours a day results in savings of P30.50 per kilowatt-hour in consumption or P346.50 per month. 

Air conditioned room temperatures should be kept at 25 degrees to effect a savings of 12.6 kWh in consumption--equivalent to P138.60  per month.

Choose refrigerators with high EEF as it consumes less electricity. Defrost refs and freezers regularly.

Avoid unnecessary opening and closing of the refrigerator. This can save consumers around P28.40 per month. 

Ironing clothes should be done at one time, once or twice a week and should be done during off-peak hours (before 9 am and after 9 pm). Iron thick clothes first and thin clothes last. 

Ironing during the weekends. Reducing ironing hours by one hour would generate savings of P44 per month. 

Television sets should be turned off and their plugs removed when not in use. 

Electric fans should be cleaned regularly. By setting the electric fan at low instead of high, consumers can save about P52.80 per month.

Reducing one hour of TV use will save consumers P19.80 per month.

Reducing computer use by one hour will result in P49.50 savings per month while using a desktop instead of laptop enables the consumer to save about P330 per month. 

“These energy-saving tips not only guarantee reduction in power consumption to spare the public from unwarranted price increases, but most importantly helps us to maintain and balance the power supply in the grid, thus avoiding supply deficiency,” Cusi said.

Cusi also enjoined government agencies to include setting the thermostat of air-conditioners no lower than 25°C; replacing aircon units with inverter-type ,and switching fluorescent lamps with light-emitting diode (LED) lights. Aside from requesting government institutions, the department asked nearly 70 malls nationwide to set their cooling system’s temperature to 25°C as a way to temper their huge buildings’ demand for electricity. “We, the government, have to be the best examples to our people in managing our energy consumption,’ Cusi said.

“Government agencies will continue stewarding our kababayans and private companies in achieving energy security for the country through efficient and judiciously managing electricity usage,” Cusi said.

The department has also also initiated the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Program (NEECP) which is envisioned to promote energy efficiency and conservation as a way of life for every Filipino and at the same time mitigate the impact of price increases and the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Assistant Secretary Leonido Pulido, III explained that among the major components of the NEECP are the information, education and communication campaigns to increase the consumer’s level of awareness while instilling values formation on the benefits of energy efficiency and conservation.

The department’s Don Emilio Abello Awards, meanwhile, recognizes companies and energy Managers who make significant contributions to the reduction of energy consumption by implementing technologies and techniques.

Pulido said the Government Energy Management Program also aims to sustain the judicious and efficient utilization of energy resources by integrating the concept of energy efficiency into the operations and procurement practices of government agencies and government offices.

Only recently, the department conducted a Regional Workshop on Energy Efficiency and on Minimum Energy Performance in the Commercial and Industrial Sectors which was initiated by the European Union-Switch Asia (EU-Switch Asia) through the European Union-High Efficiency Motors (HEMs) Project. The workshop was organized in partnership with the Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers of the Philippines (IIEE) and other local and international organizations. The event was aimed at  sharing knowledge and experiences in promoting energy efficiency in industries within the ASEAN region and at the same time, designing and implementing the minimum energy performance standards for electric motors.

Volatile issue

“Energy has become a volatile commodity and serious concern

world-wide. The Philippines through the DOE has continued to exhaust all means and technologies to sustain a stable supply for the country,” Pulido said.

“The DOE is intensifying its efforts to empower the consumers innselecting the most efficient appliances available in the market through our Standards and Labeling Program which involves the posting of energy guides to indicate the energy rating of a particular appliance that was tested by DOE in our Lighting and Appliance Testing Laboratory,” he said.

Pulido said the department created the website wattmatters.org.ph, which allows consumers to check the wattage, efficiency rating and consumption of household appliances such as television sets, refrigerators, air-conditioning units, etc.  This website also provides practical energy conservation tips to consumers in order to save in their electricity bills. “It is also noteworthy to mention the Energy Efficiency Road Map 2017-2040 which targets the sectors of Transport, Residential, Industrial and Commercial establishments that will guide in the generation of energy savings of approximately 25,644 Thousand Tons of Oil.” he said. Pulido, however, said the department recognizes that these are still not enough and is encouraging the active participation of the public and private sectors as well as the country’s international partners to help us in achieving our goal of becoming a more energy efficient nation.

Stricter standards

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, for his part, called for the imposition of stricter energy efficiency and conservation standards to ensure the stability of the country’s power supply amid expected surges in energy demand during the summer.

“Past administrations have mostly focused on additional generating capacity to address perennial energy shortages. That needs to change. The government must give greater weight to energy efficiency and conservation strategies in its long-term plan to ensure the stability of the power supply,” said Gatchalian, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy.

Gatchalian has been conducting committee hearings on Senate Bill No. 30, a proposal to institutionalize energy efficiency and conservation policies. The senator stressed the need to enforce Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) on machinery equipment, appliances, vehicles and other fuel-using combustion equipment, and electronic devices to ensure that homes and businesses consume the least amount of power. Under this system, manufacturers, importers, and dealers will be required to comply with the MEPS and display an Energy Label showing the energy requirement and consumption efficiency of the products. “The imposition of stricter energy efficiency standards will cut down monthly electricity costs and reduce consumption. That will be a win-win situation for both the consumers and the power sector,” Gatchalian said. The MEPS system will be carried out by multiple agencies, led by the Department of Energy (DOE), which shall develop and implement a Mandatory Energy Efficiency Rating and Labeling System (MEERLS) for designated products.

Vital support

The department will have vital support from the Trade Department (require manufacturers, importers, and dealers to comply with MEPS and display the energy label); Science and Technology Department  (conduct research and development programs in facilitating energy efficient technologies); Transportation Department (compliance of vehicle owners, manufacturers, and importers with MEPS for road transport vehicles), Interior and Local Government Department  (LGU compliance with the mandatory implementation of energy efficiency and conservation measures); and Public Works and Highways Department implementation of Guidelines on Energy Efficiency and Conserving Design in Buildings). Local government units will monitor energy consumption by business establishments and enterprises, which will become part of the requirements for business permit renewal. “Prevention is always better than cure, so goes the popular saying. In the case of the energy sector, it is better to conserve and use power efficiently to ensure a stable supply instead of acting haphazardly when power reserves become insufficient.  Let us all be responsible consumers and work together to resolve the perennial power supply problem, once and for all,” Gatchalian said.

Topics: Smart tips , energy-efficient home , Department of Energy , Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi

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