Going Beyond Earth Hour

Earth Hour 2015

Earth Hour 2015 will be celebrated worldwide on March 28, 2015 from 8:30 to 9:30 PM on our local time zone. This annual global movement aims to get everyone involved to turn off their lights for 60 minutes as a symbol of their commitment to saving the planet.

But this voluntary action is only the first step in addressing the myriad environmental issues across the world. On the 9th edition of the campaign, the theme focuses on the power of people uniting to make a difference against the effects of climate change.

However, why not go beyond the 60 minutes? Just turning off the lights and enjoying a few activities during Earth Hour is a good start, but they’re simply not enough. As experts claimed, a single no-power hour does “pretty much nothing” in terms of having an actual impact on the environment.

So here are some things you can do, to not only reduce the costs on your electricity bill, but also help conserve the environment. You can follow these simple tips at home, your school or your workplace.

Keep it cool and clean. Use electric fans to keep you cool during the Hot and Dry Season but turn them off when not in use. If you choose to use an air conditioner, keep the doors and windows closed to keep warm air from coming in. Maintain your air conditioner by cleaning and replacing its air filters. A well-maintained appliance uses less energy and lasts longer.

Unplug it. Switch appliances such as televisions, computers and cellphones off when not in use. Unplug electronics once they are charged. Adapters plugged into outlets still use energy even if they are not charging.

Lights out. Switch to LED bulbs or CFLs. Turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms. During daylight, let the natural sunlight illuminate your home. Opt for LED bulbs or compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) that last longer than incandescent bulbs. These can also save you as much as P200 on your monthly electricity bill. Soft tones and gloss paint on your walls can also help reflect more light so you can use lower wattage bulbs.

Keep the fridge full but not too full. An empty fridge generates a lot of energy. Packing it with organized allotment in the shelves means less surface area to cool. Every time a refrigerator is opened, up to 30% of cool air can escape. At the same time, warm air enters, requiring the fridge to use more energy in restoring cool air.

Get rid of inefficient appliances. Even if they’re still working, an aging appliance could cost you much more than you think. Getting rid of spare items can also cut down your energy bills yearly and give you a bit more space.
Save the trees. Reduce paper use by printing on both sides of the sheet. Save energy and conserve other resources by using e-mail instead of sending memos or faxing documents.

Set a designated laundry and iron day. During laundry day, wash and dry full loads using cold water. Separate lightweight clothes from dry towels and heavier cottons. Ironing clothes in bulk once a week also saves energy.

Use a power strip. Aside from supplying power to several appliances, a power strip gives you the convenience of turning them all at the same time using just one switch. This way, you don’t leave any appliances plugged in.

Invest in energy-efficient items. In some cases, the purchase price of energy-saving appliances might be higher, but in just a few years, it can save you heaps from energy cost and save you money in the long run.

April Enerio

April Enerio

Weather girl of Panahon.TV, aired daily at 5:00AM and gives almost hourly weather updates on the People’s Television (PTV). Follow her on Twitter @aprilenerio. For up-to-the-minute weather updates, follow Panahon TV on Facebook and Twitter.