Energy Efficiency: The power to change is in our hands

by Hawaii Powered | June 1, 2022

Four young adults think about the future of our environment

What’s energy efficiency?

Energy efficiency is about reducing the overall amount of electricity we consume, especially during the evening peak from 5 to 9 p.m. Reducing our energy use — especially during times of high demand — helps stabilize customer bills, reduce the risk of outages and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Together, by changing daily energy habits, we have the power to take action on climate change.

Getting strategic about your daily use

Across Hawaii, we use the most energy from 5 to 9 p.m., when many people traditionally get home from work and use electricity for lights, cooking and entertainment. Our biggest energy drains are water heaters, refrigerators/freezers, air conditioners and swimming pools.

Shifting your energy use from evening to daytime hours when renewable energy is most abundant helps reduce our dependency on imported oil, which is used to run generators. For example, try setting your dishwasher to run in the afternoon when fewer people are using electricity in their homes. Got an electric car? Charge it during the middle of the day.

Why shave down steep peaks?

While fluctuation in energy demand is normal, it’s important to do our best to flatten the curves. (Yes, this phrase applies to energy, as well as the pandemic.) This is because:

Bottom line: If we reduce electricity use, it’ll go a long way toward stabilizing and reducing customers’ bills.

How can I be more energy efficient?

Our individual choices make a big difference and small steps go a long way to improving our collective energy efficiency. By reducing your energy use, you can lower your electric bill and help Hawaii move away from fossil fuels and dependence on imported oil.

Action: Replace regular incandescent light bulbs with Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs

Benefit: Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs use about 6-8 watts to create the same amount of lumens as a 60 watt incandescent light bulb. They are also about twice as efficient compared to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), saving you money with each use!

Action: Use fans instead of air conditioners

Benefit: Two fans, rather than an 8,000 Btu/H (British thermal units per hour) room air conditioner running four hours a day, will save more than 1,150 kWh and $345 per year.

Action: Shorten showers

Benefit: Cutting just two minutes per shower could save up to 463 kWh and $139 per year.

Shop water-saving appliances and other energy-efficient products here!

Action: Fix leaky faucets

Benefit: One drop each second can waste about 1,661 gallons of water a year. A leaking hot water faucet wastes both water and up to $79 in energy costs per year.

Action: Wash clothes in cold water

Benefit: Switching from Hot Wash/Warm Rinse to Cold/Cold cycle on a standard top-loading washing machine for just two loads a week can save 225 kWh and $68 per year.

Action: Eliminate energy sneakers (phantom loads)

Benefit: Use a power strip to eliminate energy sneakers (phantom loads) by conveniently turning off devices not in use, such as cell phone chargers, camera battery chargers, and computers. Such devices use standby power when not in use. Using a power strip to turn off your computer can save 50 kWh and $15 per year.

Shop power strips and other energy-efficient products here!

Action: Air dry dishes

Benefit: Letting dishes air dry instead of using heated drying on the average dishwasher saves 110 kWh and $33 per year.

Action: No peeking

Benefit: Limiting how often and how long you open the refrigerator will save electricity and protect the appliance. Also limit opening the oven while cooking or baking to save electricity, protect the appliance, and speed up cooking times too.

Action: Install motion/occupancy detectors indoors and out

Benefit: Cutting use of a 150W outdoor flood light from six hours to one hour per night with a motion sensor saves up to 270 kWh and $81 per year. Switching off a 100W light for just one 8-hour day per week can save 41 kWh and more than $12 per year.

Action: Use ENERGY STAR® appliances

Benefit: When it’s time to replace or add appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR® symbol on clothes washers, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, room air conditioners, and home electronics. Visit www.energystar.gov to learn more.

Looking for more resources?

Learn more about Hawaii Powered and our clean energy future at www.hawaiipowered.com.

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Hawaiian Electric

Established in 1891, Hawaiian Electric is committed to empowering its customers and communities by providing affordable, reliable, clean and sustainable energy.