Good habits slash energy bills, HKU survey finds

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 August, 2008, 12:00am

Families that adopt energy-saving measures can cut their electricity bills by up to 27 per cent and their gas bills by 22 per cent, a survey has found.

By following a list of 22 steps - such as using more efficient light bulbs and rechargeable batteries - a family of four living in a 750 sq ft flat on average spent HK$2,040 less a year on electricity and HK$1,320 less on gas compared with a similar family that seldom took such steps.

A family of four in a 1,000 sq ft flat could pay HK$2,760 less for electricity and HK$1,740 less for gas, while a family of three in a 500 sq ft flat could cut their electricity bill by HK$1,020 a year, and their gas bill by HK$660.

The Energy Saving Concern Alliance drew up the 22 energy-saving measures and appointed the University of Hong Kong's department of mechanical engineering department to interview 3,331 households this year.

Of the over 100 families who said they always or sometimes adopted all the measures, the survey found they were paying about 18 per cent to 27 per cent less on electricity and 22 per cent less on gases compared with 100 households that never or rarely adopted such habits.

Dennis Leung Yiu-cheong, professor of mechanical engineering, said: 'Based on the data collected from the survey, if all households in Hong Kong always adopted those energy saving measures, it is estimated that we could cut about HK$2.3 billion spending on electricity, HK$1.4 billion on gas, as well as saving 1.61 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

'This is beneficial to all households and the whole of Hong Kong.'

The alliance's founding chairwoman, Elizabeth Quat, said many people were unaware that adopting certain habits, such as setting their showers at a lower temperature or cleaning electrical appliances, could save money.

'It's because they don't realise that these measures can help them save a lot of money, and many have yet to develop them into habits.'

Dr Quat said about 40 per cent of the respondents claimed they always cleaned their electrical appliances or set their thermostats at a lower temperature. Only 36 per cent said they always used cooking methods such as boiling and steaming, which used less energy, instead of deep-frying and stewing.

She suggested the government put more resources into promoting energy saving, and Professor Leung said the public could replace air conditioners with electric fans whenever possible to reduce energy usage.

The research also found that only half of the respondents, or about 1,700 people, said they always shut down their computers when they were not using them, and two-thirds said they always used energy-saving light bulbs.

Wasteful ways

Forty-four per cent said they always tried to use electric fans instead of air conditioners

The percentage of survey respondents who always close windows and doors when their air conditioner is on was: 71%