We’ve been hearing it for some time now – our planet is dying so we really need to ramp up our efforts to save it. Many large companies have adopted green policies as part of their CSR campaigns, and many more have been born eco-friendly from the ground up. Element Hotels for instance, are committed to satisfy guests’ needs while keeping the environment in mind. It’s great to know and support the efforts of these large corporations, but what can we do on an individual level to help reduce or offset our carbon footprints? There’s more we can do than just separating our trash and recycling our old newspapers.
Be energy efficient
This includes switching to LED lightbulbs, always double-checking if your lights are turned off before leaving the house, and turning off heating and cooling devices when not in use, especially water heaters or dryers. If purchasing new electronic equipment, make the energy star ratings your biggest priority (besides form and function, of course).
Reduce water usage
Set achievable goals so you don’t feel turned off working towards them. It could be as easy as setting a limit of five minutes for a shower, for instance. If you have outdoor access, make use of the frequent rainfall recently to collect fresh rainwater. This could be used to water your plants, or to wash your car and porch. Just make sure to cover any still water with a lid so mosquitoes can’t breed on it. Other ways include to fix leaks promptly, run laundry or dishwashers on a full load, and to keep faucets on the lowest pressure necessary when using them.
Choose greener activities where possible
It’s understandable if cycling to work instead of driving is not a plausible change – one day in KL would teach you that. However, when it comes to leisurely activities, choose to kayak in place of a speedboat, or to cycle instead of riding a motorbike. Granted, you will probably end up using more of your own energy but hey, the workout is the bonus!
Drive in a more eco-friendly way
We’ve established that it’s not possible to totally stop driving, so what we can do is to look at our driving styles instead. Obviously, using an energy-efficient vehicle or hybrid is the best option for the environment, but not all of us have that option. One way is to avoid traffic by using navigation apps like Waze, if you haven’t jumped on that boat yet. When it comes to the actual driving, try to avoid unnecessary speeding where possible, since that can reduce mileage by up to 40% and waste gas and money. Making sure your tires are properly inflated will also help, as it will improve your mileage. Other possible fixes include making sure to use the correct grade of motor oil and to keep your engine tuned.
Heat things mindfully
Energy consumption-wise, heating electronics usually use the most power. By taking little steps, we can help to reduce that. Some examples include to hang clothes to dry instead of using a dryer, setting a lower temperature for the washing machine, and putting a cover on pots when cooking. Heating water takes a lot of energy, so another way to reduce energy consumption is to take showers in place of baths as much as possible.
Go clean, energy-wise
If in the good fortune of upgrading your abode, perhaps one can consider installing solar panels. Assuming you live in sunny Malaysia, it’s a good idea to make full use of our daily, glaring, stare from the Sun and turn it into clean energy for your home. While the first-time installation might be a little pricey, you’d be reaping the benefits of a lower electricity bill and also doing nature a favour at the same time.