By Sara Danial
Pakistan has given us a lot. Tons of peace, prosperity, and opportunities.
Karachi being its megacity, also deserves a big thank you for accommodating an ever-increasing population and providing all with opportunities for prosperity.
Like all metropolises, it has its fair share of challenges. Pakistan’s 75th Independence Day celebrations come amidst incredible changes on a global level.
The rising fuel costs, environmental concerns, and energy-related issues. For the energy sector, sustainability is the key, accessibility, and availability for all is the mission.
How to achieve these two noble and much-needed targets is the current day challenge for Pakistan. This journey has its challenges and we all need to collectively work on its expedience.
With many initiatives rolling out, working towards growing the supply to meet the demand is of utmost importance.
However, in the interest of improving the present structures and meeting international standards of operations, different stakeholders of the energy sectors are already targeting to create an increasing awareness of safety and conservation.
The rising fuel costs have impacted the procurement and supply of energy resources. The hike in the charges was necessary to meet the demand and maintain quality but there are ways to work around it.
For 75 years, we have listed 75 easy hacks to bring down your bill and help Pakistan conserve energy so that there is more to share around.
The average household’s energy costs continue to grow exponentially, in some cases even vying with rent and education.
We are talking about the lion’s share of the monthly budget. Fuel prices are already up and electricity prices are predicted to increase by an average of 60% across Pakistan in the coming months.
The depreciation of the Pakistani Rupee against the dollar has further added to this problem. Russian Ukrainian war’s impact on global oil supplies can be felt in the bills that we generate.
Mehengai hitting everyone hard! Fuel & power price hikes across the world. #EnergyConservation is the ONLY way to reduce cost & save Pak economy. As we countdown to Pak’s 75th birthday, think of 75 ways to conserve energy. I’ll go first – replaced treadmill with running outdoors.
— Shehzad Roy (@ShehzadRoy) August 11, 2022
So how do we address such concerns?
A simple answer is to become an energy conservationist. Let’s go through the following list and see what we can do.
These 75 tricks to conserve energy will impact your expenses favorably and in doing so do well for Pakistan’s dollar reserves, import bills, and the environment. This seems like a perfect gift from each Pakistani to Pakistan.
- Energy wastage becomes more visible when you realize how much it costs. Keep reminding yourself that you pay for every liter of fuel and every unit of electricity you consume.
- Explore hybrid vehicles option, to reduce your fuel costs.
- Identify colleagues and classmates who live close to your house. Carpool with them to reduce your fuel consumption.
- Take up any offers to work from home; not only will you get more time to spend with family but you will also save on traveling and lunch costs.
- Get your car serviced according to the manufacturer’s milestones to keep it operating at optimal fuel efficiency.
- Track your vehicle’s fuel efficiency regularly. When you see it decline, do get it serviced to improve performance.
- Leave your home on time and maintain a constant speed to save fuel. Pressing on the gas pedal and rapid acceleration increases fuel consumption.
- Drive between 60 and 80 km/h to maintain fuel efficiency.
- Turn off your car if you think it will be idle for 10 seconds or longer.
- Leave your windows open when driving around city streets.
- Making sure your tires are properly inflated can improve your fuel mileage by 3%.
- Plan your trips and combine multiple errands on the same route.
- Operate air conditioners between 24 to 26 degrees centigrade to keep cool in a budget-friendly way.
- Set your refrigerator at 4 degrees centigrade and your freezer at -15 degrees centigrade to consume less energy while keeping food cold.
- Distribute any food that is uneaten after one day. Not only will you feed someone hungry, reducing the amount of food stored in your fridge/freezer, but also improve cold air circulation and cooling efficiency with less electricity used.
- Switch to LED light bulbs to use 25-35 percent less energy, compared to regular incandescent bulbs.
- Clean air conditioner filters every month and replace them as recommended by the manufacturer. Dirty filters can increase the amount of power an AC consumes by up to 30%, adding to your bill.
- Wait to do laundry until your washing machine is full. This helps you get the best use out of the electricity, water, and detergent you use.
- Air-dry clothes after washing by hanging them outside to dry instead of using the spinner or the dryer in your washing machine.
- Turn off your cooling water dispenser during the nighttime when it is unlikely to be used.
- Use smart power extension boards. Even when not in use, household electronics still draw “phantom power” from outlets. Energy-saving smart extension boards, which shut down appliances that have gone into standby mode, help you save money and energy.
- When using air conditioning, make sure that the cool air you’ve paid for doesn’t escape by keeping doors and windows fully closed.
- Keep your home a little cooler during summers by investing in roof and window insulation. It’s a one-time cost that will pay for itself in reduced energy bills.
- Do what our grandparents did. Put away bedcovers, comforters, and blankets in summer and opt for a sheet to cover when you sleep. You’ll realize the AC doesn’t need to operate at 20 degrees to keep you cool while you sleep.
- Auto-program your AC to turn off during the night. You won’t even feel it and your room will stay cool till you wake up.
- If using automatic washing machines, wash clothes in cold water by opting for the cold setting.
- Close your window shades on very hot days to keep out the sun’s heat.
- Avoid electricity waste by turning off all lights, appliances, and electronics, not in use.
- Use less water and save electricity by using low-flow faucets and showerheads with a flow rate of fewer than 8 liters per minute. These don’t require an electric motor to create water pressure for your shower.
- Proactively maintain your electrical equipment – AC, fridge, freezer, geyser, etc. on an annual basis to keep it operating at its peak.
- Invest in energy-efficient appliances for the home when it is time to replace old appliances such as a washer, dryer, and fridge. Look for appliances with ENERGY STAR ratings and logos.
- Most fridges are opened up to 15 times daily resulting in a loss of cooling and increased electricity use. Limit the number of times and the duration that you open the fridge door and you can reduce your electricity use by up to 7%.
- Remember when growing up, air-conditioning was only allowed in communal rooms? It’s a great way to spend time together, get the most out of cooling and save on electricity bills.
- Shift to solar. It has a payback of 3 years by off-setting your electricity bill and is also kinder to the environment.
- Plan meals ahead of time and avoid using microwaves for defrosting frozen food. Leaving it covered at room temperature may take a bit more time but would save you money.
- Ditch the treadmill for a walk in the park or a cycle around the neighborhood. Enjoy the fresh air and the savings.
- Unplug battery chargers as soon as the batteries are fully charged or when the chargers are not in use. Most chargers continue to draw power even when not charging a device.
- Using laptops instead of desktop computers can save considerable energy.
- Limit the use of heavy electrical appliances (i.e. ACs, water motors, irons, electric ovens, washing machines, clothes dryers, etc.) to off-peak hours and pay a lower rate for the same power.
- Have your electricity systems inspected by certified electricians at least twice a year.
- Long, hot showers not only run up your water bill but your energy bill as well. Shorter, cooler showers will be fresher and cheaper.
- Avoid watching DVDs and blu-rays on your game console because it consumes five (5) times the energy of a regular DVD player.
- Using a small light when reading is more efficient than brightly lighting an entire room. Also, keep your light bulbs clean & free from dust.
- With the integration of artificial intelligence into everyday life, control your devices with your voice alone through smart bulbs, apps, and smart thermostats.
- Cover your pots and pans when you’re boiling water or food in them. This will help to prevent the release of heat, allowing the pan to boil faster and use less energy in the process.
- Reduce the brightness setting of your electronic devices – phone, tablets, and computers – to make their batteries last longer.
- Get together with friends and family members to watch your favorite tv shows.
- Clean and dust your lighting regularly as dust buildup on lightbulbs can keep light from shining through and reduce total illumination by 50%.
- Unplug devices like computers and printers when not in use.
- Cool your house by planting shrubs or trees around it. Greenery will absorb the sun’s rays and provide shade.
- Open the blinds and use natural sunlight to light up the room, save on electricity and brighten the atmosphere.
- Turn off the video games and play outside. Get your children involved in outdoor activities and teach them to have a good time outside.
- Over time, dirt and debris build-up on refrigerator coils, minimizing their efficiency and causing them to work harder. Clean them to save energy and prolong the life of your refrigerator.
- Install dimmers on your lights. Turn up the power if you need more light for focused activities like reading or writing or turn the lights down to create a relaxing vibe.
- Take family walks and trips to the park to give you and your loved ones a relaxing break while also briefly reducing the energy used within your home.
- If buying a TV, explore LED technology which is 20-25% more efficient than the typical LCD or plasma.
- Use solar lighting for your outdoor areas.
- Paint your roof white to cool down your home.
- Avoid turning Air Conditioning on/off when it gets too cool/warm. Instead, lower your thermostat temperature setting and watch how much more you will save on electricity.
- Think of outdoor grilling as an opportunity to get out of the house and spend time with family in a budget-friendly manner.
- Turn off your TV in favor of a good book. Check out some of the hottest best-sellers.
- Inform your power utility in advance if you are going for a long vacation so that you don’t receive any ambiguous electricity bills when you return.
- Teach your children smart energy habits so that they help you in saving electricity.
- Look for the Energy Star symbol when buying electronics as they save consumers money over time and mitigate the damage done to the environment by harmful energy alternatives.
- Inverter technology in air conditioning and refrigerators can help reduce electricity consumption by leveling the volatility in your electricity consumption.
- Look for electricity-free alternatives to spending time with family. Physical activity and outdoor play are the best time to engage and connect with your children and family.
- Use staircases over escalators and elevators where possible. Not only will you get the much-needed exercise, but you will also reduce electricity consumption.
- Avoid using large appliances like the iron, hairdryers, oven, washer, and dryer during the peak hours from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm!
- Maximize the use of ceiling fans, especially during the summer. Also, replace your regular fans with energy-efficient fans.
- Using DC inverter air conditioners instead of conventional air conditioners and a digital inverter instead of UPS can help cut down your electricity usage and reduce your bill.
- Reduce your water heating expenses! It is a major contributor to total energy consumption. You can do this by insulating your water heater and making sure your water heater is turned off during peak hours.
- We would like each household to make this an agenda for a family talk. Even a community hall or sermon by religious scholars, where these simple doable actions or benefits of being conscious, mindful, and responsible citizens can be shared and discussed.
- Duties to ensure can be assigned to different family members thus making all aware of the need to save and prosper as a nation.
- Schools can include these activities and campaigns in their social studies lessons while celebrating world environment day and Earth Day.
- Cook using the right-sized burner. If you’re preparing a small meal, then you should use a small pan, and hence a small burner. A 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner will waste around 40 percent of the heat produced on electric cooktops.
Power conservation is a global concern and we as Pakistanis need to become proactive members of this global community.
Sara is a journalist based in Karachi. She tweets @sarashraf.