On top of celebrating Earth Day for over a decade in Singapore, our island nation has incorporated many sustainable practices within our infrastructure towards environmental sustainability (e.g. Zero Waste SG, SG Green Plan 2030, net zeo carbon emissions by 2050, in alignment with the UN’s climate targets).
On a smaller scale, household sustainable practices can also go a long way in improving environmental sustainability – and save money! In celebration of Earth Day 2023, here are five environmental sustainability tips from young adults who have cultivated sustainable practices in their day-to-day lives.
1. Use Energy-efficient Lightbulbs
Lightbulbs are a staple appliance that we use regularly if not all the time at home. Therefore, it goes a long way to install low-watt alternatives such as eco-friendly lightbulbs which use up to 85% less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs.
“I personally like to use light-emitting diode (LED) strips as they cost a lot less than regular lightbulbs and they are so easy to install everywhere – I’ve started installing strips into my shelving as well,” shared HR manager Desmond Ng. The father of one decided to opt for LED strips when renovating his new BTO flat with his wife as he felt it would help to efficiently light up the house.
Not only do LED and Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CLFs) save energy by emitting less heat, they also last up to eight times longer than conventional lightbulbs – a no-brainer if you’re thinking about how to save money.
2. Be Mindful of Your Water Usage
It may be tempting to daydream in the therapeutic hot shower after a long day at work, but did you know that every additional minute uses about 12 litres of water? For a household of three, that could add up to almost $90 a year in water utilities. If you use a storage water heater, always remember to turn it off when not in use as it can rack up almost an additional hundred dollars in bills.
A good way to start would be to install bathroom and kitchen low-flow taps or controlled-flow showers that can adjust water pressure and minimise water wastage. It also helps to set a purpose before turning on the tap, consciously planning how you’re going to shower or wash your dishes.
“Another cool tip I learnt while studying abroad was to keep a small bucket in your sink and use that to wash your dishes instead of running the tap the whole time,” explained Shue-er Peralta, a 24-year-old sociology graduate. While on an exchange, Shue-er learnt from her British housemates that it was common practice to wash your dishes in one container of water, saving on utilities as a whole.
3. Increase the Temperature of Your Air-conditioning, or Use Fans Instead
Our hot tropical weather all year round might make air-conditioning seem like a really good idea all day long, but it can usually be one of the biggest ticket items racking up your electricity bill every month.
“When I started working from home during the circuit breaker, I decided to find a more sustainable way to beat the heat,” shared 30-year-old medical researcher Nicholas Foo. “I currently rent in Pasir Ris near a park so I set up my workstation by the window with a fan to egg along the refreshing breeze.”
A study by the National Environment Agency (NEA) compared the use of an air-conditioning unit and a standard standing fan and found that with regular daily usage of up to eight hours, you could save almost $440 a year by opting for the fan. Even just increasing your air-conditioning unit temperature by 1°C could help you save money by trimming $15 off your early electricity bill.
So take the first step and cut out the biggest energy consumer in your household by opting for a ceiling or standing fan over your air-conditioning unit today! Our little red dot might be hot, but it also comes with a cooling tropical breeze so open up all your windows for an airy atmosphere and find the most cooling spot in your house to unwind.
4. Replace Single-use Cutlery with Reusables
When 28-year-old Amanda Poon first started working at a local social media agency, she was amused to find containers in her welcome pack.
“The big boss was really big about sustainability, so they gave out reusable containers for us to take away our lunch on a daily basis, and they even have tote bags at all exits to remind us not to use plastic bags,” said Amanda. She has since brought this habit home, hanging tote bags by the front door so that her eco-friendly family would remember to simply grab a bag with them on their daily errands.
By reminding ourselves and making such reusables more accessible, it’s easier to incorporate these habits into our lives. Collapsable coffee cups, metal straws, and even cute cloth bags for your daily bubble tea not only save the planet from more plastic in landfills but can also be cute accessories to up your fashion game.
5. On and Off Your Switches Remotely Via Smart Technology
A good tip for most households would be to turn off switches and unplug appliances when they are not in use. This simple habit can save up to $25 in electricity bills annually, which might not seem like a lot but in the grand scheme of things stops the unnecessary waste of energy.
Although it might not physically turn off switches, another good sustainable practice that 29-year-old realtor Ashley Thio teaches her new homeowner clients would be to use smart technology to control their smart homes. Apps such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home can help you to turn off appliances remotely. Some brands such as Samsung even let you control your household appliances from an app on your phone.
“For those who live in bigger houses, it’s a good tip that I always recommend to help them monitor all their appliances, and you can turn off whatever you aren’t using remotely before eventually unplugging them at the end of the day,” said Ashley.
Time to Cultivate These Sustainable Practices This Upcoming Earth Day 2023!
As we inch towards Earth Day 2023 and try to be more environmentally sustainable, pick one of these easy tips and change your energy lifestyle at home today! Small steps go a long way towards building a greener Singapore for the future.
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