Reducing electricity consumption doesn’t mean a loss of comfort and convenience
Whether it's lighting, keeping a home cool, washing clothes, refrigerating food or powering home entertainment electronics or a plethora of gadgets and devices, electricity is an essential part of modern living, which is often taken for granted.
For Hong Kong residents, like millions of others spread across the planet, life is immeasurably more comfortable and convenient, thanks to Benjamin Franklin and others who down through the years have been responsible for utilising the life enhancing benefits that electricity provides. CLP Power, however, believes life could be even better if home dwellers took some easy steps to conserve electricity use. ‘Using less electricity not only reduces costs, it also contributes to environmental protection through energy saving,’ says Chow Lap-man, CLP Power Hong Kong Senior Director of Marketing and Customer Services who also stresses reducing electricity consumption does not mean a reduction in the enjoyment of home comforts that electricity provides.
Chow explains how paring air-conditioning, generally the biggest consumer of electricity in a home, with a separate fan, can work wonders. Fans use about a tenth of the power used by an air-conditioning unit. By setting the air-conditioning setting one degree higher than the desired temperature the unit uses three per cent less energy, while a fan makes the room feel cooler due to the wind chill effect. Regularly cleaning the filters in air-conditioning units also helps to maintain efficiency. Replacing traditional light bulbs with LED (light emitting diodes) units, which consume 20-30 per cent less power compared with 40 watt and 60 watt incandescent bulbs, is another way of saving energy.
Chow is quick to dispel the concept that leaving an air-conditioning units running is more cost effective than turning them on when needed. ‘Any device, even if it is in standby mode is consuming energy,’ Chow says. This applies to home entertainment equipment such as televisions and computers, which these days can tolerate being turned on and off thousands of times throughout their lifespan.
As part of its commitment to help customers manage their electricity use, each year CLP Power rolls out about 10 energy saving and awareness programmes based around the four strategic areas of education, information, tools, and enablers. Programmes are also developed aimed at children, teenagers and university students. ‘We try to engage people of all ages by making energy saving fun and introduce smart gadgets from around the world,’ says Chow. For instance, for those that like to linger in the shower for long periods, CLP showcases at its one-stop green living concept store, Eco Home, a smart shower meter that provides a water temperature and shower volume display along with energy consumption ratings which can then be transmitted online to trigger more energy saving opportunities.
A good example of combining education, information, tools and an enabler is CLP’s Eco Optimizer 2.0 (www.clp.com.hk/EO), which provides a personalised home energy report to residential customers who can simply log in by filling out their registered account name and number. Eco Optimizer provides analysis of electricity consumption by comparing the data with 100 households with similar profiles, including the most energy efficient households. ‘By comparing electricity use with like-for-like examples encourage the competitive nature in people to try to do better, observes Chow. CLP also offers a free solar energy assessment service, mainly for residents living in village house, who would like to consider using an alternative way to produce energy. Because domestic helpers are often the people using electrical appliances in the home, CLP partners with non-profit making organisation to offer energy saving education programmes in the domestic helpers own language.
Conveniently, new technologies and metering devices are opening up a wide range of opportunities that allows energy consumption to be better understood and to engage households in more thoughtful energy use practices. To learn more about smart home energy management gadgets, CLP’s Eco Home is open for public visits, where regular energy saving exhibitions and energy saving home appliances are on display and trained Eco ambassador’s are on-hand to offer energy saving tips.