by Chase Ogoshi | Sept. 17, 2020
Many of you are spending most — if not all — of your time at home during this pandemic. I know I am, especially now that Oahu is again under a stay-at-home order. Whether you are a keiki learning from home or an adult working from home, we can all practice better energy-saving habits to lower our electric bills.
We offer several tips on our website to keep your energy costs down until you are back in the office or classroom. Here are some of my favorite energy-saving tips that are simple to incorporate at home:
- Work smarter, not harder: The most direct way to save electricity while working from home is to cut down on screen time when you aren’t working or learning virtually. Did you know that a laptop is more energy-efficient than a desktop computer? I had no clue!
- Take advantage of natural light: I’ve been known to leave the lights on when they’re not needed. It’s easy to forget to turn off lights in rooms that you aren’t in — especially during the daytime. I recommend opening drapes or blinds in your home wherever you are working or learning, even if it doesn’t get direct sunlight. Fun fact: natural light is known to boost your mood and productivity. Who wouldn’t benefit from an extra boost of productivity?
- Try fans or open windows instead of A/C: This one is obvious. We all hear it. Open windows and doors for cross ventilation. Take advantage of the trade winds we have on the islands! Also, if you have fans, turn those on instead of an A/C. Turning on your fan can lower the room temperature by 4 degrees. But remember to turn it off when you leave the room.
- Use an advanced power strip: Try to minimize the amount of cords connected to a single power strip. When you are working and learning from home, you know you’ll be using more electronics such as a computer, printer, phone charger and other electronics. Consider using an advanced power strip to ensure that your devices aren’t drawing power when they’re not in use. For those who have dual monitors, a smart TV, gaming computers or consoles, I strongly recommend that you get this if you haven’t already done so.
- Minimize your gadgets: Don’t simply turn things off. Instead, unplug everything that you are not using. Some devices that are on standby are draining “vampire” or “phantom” energy. This can be a hard habit to break since it’s easy to forget to unplug your laptop or phone charger. I’m guilty of this. Make sure that you start unplugging cords when you don’t need them!
For millennials, or anyone with a smart phone, put your phone on low power/energy-saving mode. This will help your phone battery last longer so you don’t have to charge it as much. Keeping your phone on low power mode also helps charge your phone faster. You can thank me later.
Another secret tip would be to use the microwave more because it’s one of the most energy-efficient appliances in your kitchen. Laugh at me now but using the microwave or meal prepping saves time and money.
By practicing these tips you’ll be better able to keep your electric bill under control and perhaps worry a little less. Training yourself and your family members to incorporate these tips each day will conserve energy and ultimately help the environment. You can find more tips on how to save energy in your home by visiting our website.
Remember, staying home is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19. But just because we’re homebodies doesn’t mean our electricity use needs to increase.
Chase Ogoshi is a digital communications and social media specialist at Hawaiian Electric Company.