The power to change my habits
by Donica Kaneshiro | April 21, 2022
We’ve all been hearing more and more about climate change and living green. But I’ve often wondered if making changes in my own life has any real impact.
Does it really matter if I cool down my room quickly by turning my air conditioner to 62 degrees when I get off work at 5 p.m.? How much difference does it make if I wash my clothes with hot water and dry them in the dryer to get the laundry done by morning?
Truth be told, I am not an early adopter. Even though I understood the impact of single-use plastics, I didn’t consistently bring my reusable shopping bags to the grocery store until stores stopped giving me bags for free.
I was wrong about the shopping bags, but evolving a mindset takes time.
I checked with our Education and Consumer Affairs department to find out if small changes in my own life can have any big picture impact.
It turns out running a fan for a week instead of the AC saves 70 kWh, while washing my laundry in cold water and hanging it to dry can save 18.24 kWh a week. While that might not seem like much, when multiplying that by 52 weeks a year, those kilowatt hours and savings on my bill add up.
But more importantly, it’s a small change I can live with. Using smart bulbs, turning off my water heater at night and unplugging phone chargers not in use are other easy, sustainable habits.
Installing water-saving aerators on my faucets, not only saves water, but saves on my electric bill since my water heater doesn’t need to work so hard. Even turning down the volume or the brightness on my TV can save incrementally on electricity consumption. (Find more energy-conservation tips at www.hawaiienergy.com.)
Of course, my family isn’t going to reverse global climate change alone. But we got into this situation, one bad habit at a time and the only way out is to walk back those bad habits. If we each take small steps in our own lives, together, we have the power to change our world for the better.
Donica Kaneshiro is a communications consultant at Hawaiian Electric Company.