Saving energy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 May, 2008, 12:00am

Turn off, turn down, unplug - the best ways to reduce wastage

In an environmentally-conscious world, efforts to reduce waste and save energy have become an important driver for governments, businesses and individuals.

Taking a leading role in providing energy-saving solutions in the lighting industry, electronics giant Philips Electronic Hong Kong offers light bulbs that can reduce energy consumption by up to 80 per cent. The key benefits in replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving alternatives include reduced energy consumption, environmental friendliness, increased safety and lower operating costs.

Philips has calculated there are about 11 million incandescent light bulbs in Hong Kong homes. If these were replaced by energy-saving light bulbs about HK$1.4billion per year could be saved in energy costs. In addition, a reduction of over 500 million kilograms of CO2 emissions, a major factor related to global warming, could be achieved.

By logging on to the Philips website (, people who install energy-saving light bulbs can see by how much they are helping to reduce CO2 emissions. Philips is aiming for its Green Products to generate 30 per cent of total revenues by 2012, compared with about 15 per cent of group sales a year ago.

Believing that environmental responsibility is everyone's responsibility, Hong Kong Friends of the Earth (FoE) suggests that individuals and businesses get in on the act. For example, turning off the tap while brushing teeth or shaving. Leaving the tap running can waste up to 17 litres of water a minute. Taking reusable bags for shopping is also favoured.

The FoE also suggests getting the family involved by asking for specific changes in everyone's habits by reminding family members to turn out lights when they leave a room and turn off electrical appliances when they are not being used.

Even on standby mode, most electrical items still use electricity so make sure you turn off TVs, computer monitors and other electrical appliances at the power point when not in use.

Valuable natural resources can be saved by using plastic chopsticks in place of wooden chopsticks. However, the processes used to produce plastic chopsticks produce CO2 emissions.

In the corporate world, lighting an average-sized empty office overnight for one year wastes enough electricity to make 1,000 hot drinks. One solution is to appoint someone to ensure everything is turned off at the end of the day and during the day if the office is not needed.

A typical office is full of equipment left on unnecessarily after hours, including computers and computer screens, vending machines and air conditioning units. All can be switched off or turned down.