Energy Saving Measures

In a world with limited energy resources, it is essential that we learn how to conserve our electricity. This helps us save money and preserve the environment. We can all make a difference by using the available power efficiently.

Discover how to save electricity and money with the Kenya Power DSM energy conservation campaign.

Energy Saving Measures:

There are a number of measures that can taken to improve energy consumption in the home. 
These measures include the following:-

Lighting

  • Use compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) which last longer than the ordinary incandescent lamps. CFLs also generate less heat which means less cooling bills. All in all, CFLs can save up to 80% of the energy used on lighting. 
  • Ensure that all lighting fixtures are cleaned regularly as dust on the surface impairs the light output.
  • Use electronic ballasts which are more efficient than the conventional magnetic ballasts for fluorescent tube lighting. The electronic ballast uses up to 40% less energy, is flicker free and eliminates hum. Electronic ballasts also generate less heat thus lowering the cooling bills.
  • Enhance the use of timers to turn security lights on in the evening and off in the morning to ensure the lights are switched on only when necessary. Motion sensors, where possible, are important to ensure lights are on only when required. Additionally, you can utilise photo sensors for security lighting to automatically turn your light on at night and off during the day.
  • Turn off lights when you are not using them, even just for a few minutes. You save electricity every time you turn lights off, no matter how short the duration.  
  • Separate the lighting circuit to ensure that only the required lighting is switched on.
  • Design houses that maximize on natural sunlight during the day.

 

Cooking

  • Enhance the use of pressure cookers which cut food preparation time to one-third of that required by conventional methods.
  • Use pots and pans with flat bottoms to enhance effective heat transfer since they will be heated uniformly.
  • Always make sure that the pan matches the size of the cooker element.
  • Turn off the oven, surface units or burners shortly before food has completed cooking to make use of residual heat.
  • Preheat the oven only when necessary and only for the required time.
  • Use the oven to capacity by cooking more than one dish or one meal at a time.
  • Do not open the oven door unnecessarily; every time you open the oven door to check cooking, you lose 20% of the heat. (Oven temperature drops 25-30oC every time you open the oven door.)
  • Thaw frozen foods first to reduce cooking time.
  • Use only enough water to cover the food being cooked.
  • Cover the cooking pan and once the food boils, turn down the heat to the minimum.
  • Use a microwave oven for small quantities of food as it is quicker than using the cooker or the oven.
  • Use an electric kettle to boil water instead of the cooker.
  • Use a toaster instead of the grill to make toast.


Kettle

  • Use the kettle to boil small amounts of water - it uses less energy.
  • When using the kettle, only boil the amount of water you need. Make sure, however, to cover the element to avoid damaging the kettle.
  • Buy a kettle with a water level indicator which makes it easier to measure the quantity of water needed.


Refrigeration

  • Always match the size of the fridge to your needs.
  • A medium sized refrigerator (rated 150 watts) uses 36 KWh per month which costs approximately KShs.465.
  • Place the fridge away from heat sources such as direct sunlight, ovens and other appliances.
  • Ensure there is adequate ventilation at the back, sides and top. At the very least, two inches of space all around should ensure efficient exchange of heat.
  • Adjust the thermostat to maintain correct temperature. The most efficient temperature for a fridge is between 3 °C and 5.5 °C. Cooler temperatures are not necessary and incorrect temperature settings cause an increase in energy consumption.
  • Keep the coils at the back dust-free as accumulation of dust on condenser coils can increase energy consumption by up to 30%.
  • Ensure the door seals are in good shape. If the door doesn’t seal well, cold air escapes and lets in warm air which the fridge uses more energy to cool.
  • Minimize the number of times you open the fridge. Open/close habits waste 50-120 KWh of energy a year which accounts for 10 - 24% of the total energy consumption of the fridge.
  • Defrost a non-frost free freezer before the frost exceeds a quarter inch in thickness. More frost makes the fridge use more energy.
  • Allow for foods to cool before placing them in the fridge. Cooling hot food in the fridge uses more energy.
  • Cover liquids and food stored in the fridge. Uncovered foods release moisture and in turn get dried out. This process makes the compressor work further.


Entertainment Equipment

A large number of electrical appliances cannot be completely switched off without unplugging the device or turning it off at a power strip. When this is not done, the appliances continue to draw power. This power consumption is known as 'stand-by power.'

  • A television left on stand-by can use up to 10% more power.
  • Switching off your DVD player can save up to 50% of the energy it consumes.
  • Switching off your music system at the set or unplugging it can save up to 50% on energy consumed.
  • Always unplug phone chargers when not in use and avoid charging a phone longer than necessary.


Air Conditioners

  • An air conditioner rated 1200 watts that is on 12 hours a day will use 324 KWh a month which will cost approximately KShs.4,212.
  • Use ceiling fans where necessary - they use less energy.
  • Ensure doors and windows are shut when you use air conditioners to keep out warm air.


Laundry / Dishwashing

  • 95% of the energy used by a washing machine goes to heat the water. You could save a lot by just lowering the temperature of the water. Reducing the wash temperature at a full load from 60oC to 40oC can save upto 110 KWh per year. Wash at 40oC or lower wherever possible.  A typical washing machine uses 5.24 KWh of electricity per wash load and costs about KShs. 68 per wash (when washing with hot water). Making 15 loads of washing per month will cost approximately KShs. 1,020. Washing with cold water uses 0.26 KWh per load and costs only about KShs. 3.38.
  • When making a purchase, opt for an energy efficient washing machine. Choose a front loading model which uses 63% less water on average. Less water costs less to heat.
  • Ensure that the laundry machine is fully loaded in each cycle.
  • Purchase energy efficient dishwashing machines.
  • Don’t run hot water continuously while washing clothes or rinsing dishes by hand.
  • Use cold water for rinsing clothes.
  • Line-dry garments and household items when practical.


Ironing 

  • First iron fabrics that require lower temperature and work up to those requiring higher heat.
  • Turn off the iron box five minutes or so before all clothes have been ironed and finish ironing with the residual heat stored in the sole plate.
  • Do not leave the iron box on electricity supply if you have to attend to other duties.
  • Always use an iron box that is thermostatically controlled.
  • Using a 1,000 watts iron box for 1 hour per day will use 30 KWh per month costing you about KShs. 390.


Water heating

  • Ensure hot water tanks and pipes are well insulated to avoid loss of heat.
  • Repair leaking pipes or taps to prevent loss of hot water; every 30 drops per minute from a hot water tap costs you around 18 KWh per month (roughly KShs. 234).
  • Reduce the amount of hot water used by not letting water run while shaving or when washing dishes.
  • Locate water heaters as close to the points of use as possible.
  • Turn down the thermostat to a lower temperature; 50oC is ideal for most purposes.
  • If water heating costs are too high, use tankless units for instant water heating; no hot water is stored therefore no heat losses.