Power shortages and energy crises usually occur when the energy supply cannot keep up with rising demand for electricity. When you conserve electricity and use it more wisely, you not only save money on your next electrical bill – you shrink your carbon footprint and positively impact the environment too, since fossil fuels are unfortunately still the country’s primary energy source (but hopefully not in a few years!). Apart from the obvious, like switching off lights and appliances when you leave the room, here are a few things you can do to cut down on your electricity consumption.

  1. Incorporate energy-efficiency in your home or office design.

Whether you’re renovating a tiny apartment or building your dream house, it’s important to think about energy consumption as early as the design and conceptualization stages. Designing with, not against, your environment and climate, and taking advantage of natural ventilation and natural lighting can reduce your dependency on electricity significantly, and in the long run. For instance, using sunshades, cross ventilation and strategically placed windows in tropical countries like the Philippines can keep the house comfortable and livable throughout the year.

  1. Take shorter showers.

A long, hot shower might sound relaxing after a tough day, but it can often do a lot of damage to the electricity and water bills, especially since an average 8-minute shower can already use 65 liters of water. Using a tabo or water dipper will help you control your water consumption, but if that’s not an option, give your warm showers a time limit and try not to keep the water running while you soap your body or shampoo your hair. Turning down your water heater thermostat will help, too.

  1. Switch out your old light bulbs.

If you haven’t done this yet, you should! Replace your regular incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving LED lights as they use up to 90% less electricity and last up to 20 times longer. They might be more expensive at purchase, but savings will show on your electricity bill. Another option is the use of CFL bulbs, which cost less than LEDs but are still more energy-efficient than incandescents.

  1. Be smart with your air-con.

Air-conditioners can eat up a significant portion of your monthly electricity consumption. To cut down, first make sure your air-con has a good efficiency rating, and change or clean your filters regularly to keep your cooling system running in top form. If you’ll be in an enclosed space, like your bedroom at night, you can try switching off your air-con after a few hours (use the off-timer function). The room will stay cool, and a ceiling fan can help circulate and distribute the cool air even after the appliance has been shut off.

  1. Unplug your appliances when not in use.

It’s not enough that you switch off your appliances when they’re not being used. Many appliances and electronics eat up electricity just by being plugged in! Some of the worst offenders include TVs, desktop computers and laptop computers, modems and routers, chargers, and surround sound systems. Aside from unplugging these appliances individually after use, you can use power strips that cut the power to all these electronics in one go.

  1. Use your refrigerator wisely.

Refrigerators, typically plugged in and running 24/7, account for a huge chunk of electricity consumption and costs. To make sure you’re being as efficient as possible, first buy a ref that fits your needs. Something too large will waste space and energy, while something too small can encounter lots of problems from being overworked. Remember to defrost regularly. Also avoid opening the door unnecessarily, storing hot or warm food, and filling your ref to the brim as these impede efficiency.