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Smart-proofing your home

Appliances are getting smarter these days, saving you more electricity by enabling their, among many others, “smart grid” capabilities. But don’t ditch your trusty devices just yet. At least some of them. Because, at the end of the day, smart consumers will always be better than smart technologies.

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There are surefire ways to cut back on electricity use in your luxury home by making it ecofriendly and sustainable through automation.

And it begins with reconsidering your appliances.

Ditch the old ones for something “smart,” or the ones that match the grandeur of your home or your idea of “comfort.”

Appliances are getting smarter these days, saving you more electricity by enabling their, among many others, “smart grid” capabilities.

But don’t ditch your trusty devices just yet.

At least some of them.

Because, at the end of the day, smart consumers will always be better than smart technologies.

Luxury means efficiency. Here are some basic Meralco energy-saving tips to make your luxury home, or any home for that matter, smarter.

Light
Lighting can account for 20 percent to 30 percent of your electrical bill.

Some of the brightest ways to save on lighting costs are also the simples

Turn the lights off when not in use. Also, maximize the use of natural light whenever possible.

It is the best source of light and will help you save on energy.

Place reading tables near windows and put skylights in other working areas.

Choose the right kind of lighting. Use lamps that provide direct lighting over desks, beds, and other work areas.

This saves you more energy compared to the higher wattage lighting needed to illuminate the whole room. Use low wattage light bulbs in areas that do not need strong lighting such as hallways, foyers and doorways.

Keep lights clean.

Clean lighting fixtures regularly, as dirt will lessen illumination by as much as 50 percent.

One can work more effectively under good lighting which lessens the hours of operation of lamps.

In contrast, poor lighting will make someone work longer, increasing electrical consumption.

Switch to LED. Replace incandescent bulbs with LED lights (light-emitting diodes). Although they cost more than incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), you save 87 percent on energy costs vs. incandescent bulbs and 50 percent vs. CFL. LED also last five to 10 times longer.

Air-conditioner
Air conditioners can account for 40 percent to 50 percent of your total household consumption. Keeping them in check and with the right technology and practices can significantly cut your cooling costs.


Keep your air conditioner in a cool place. A unit operating in the shade uses 10 percent less electricity than when it’s in direct sunlight.

Provide shade for your aircon but be sure not to block the airflow. Don’t place lamps, television and other items, which can be a source of heat near your unit.

The thermostat senses the heat given off by these items, causing your unit to run longer than necessary.

Set the thermostat at the most comfortable level.

A comfortable room temperature setting is about 24 or 25 degrees Celsius.

Setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when turning your unit on will not help cool your room any faster. Based on Meralco Power Lab tests on a 1.0 window-type aircon at mid (25°C) vs high (18°C) setting for eight hours/night use, save P991 a month when you switch to mid setting! In more general terms, you can save 5 percent to 8 percent in energy costs for every one-degree setback in your thermostat setting.


Set fan speed appropriately. As a general rule, set the fan speed on high.

On very humid days, set the fan speed on low for more comfort.

This will cool your room better and will help remove moisture from the air because of slower air movement through the cooling equipment.

Regularly check and clean your air conditioner.

Check the filter often by holding it up against the light – if you can’t see through it, it’s time to clean or replace the filter.

A dirty filter blocks normal airflow and significantly reduces its efficiency. Based on Meralco Power Lab tests on a 1.0 window-type aircon at mid setting for eight hours/night use, clean vs unclean filter, save P334 a month when you clean your filter. In more general terms, follow prescribed the maintenance schedule of your unit and save 5 percent to 15 percent on your cooling consumption.

Consider Inverter Technology. Inverter air conditioners are more efficient versus conventional units.

Inverter Technology’s optimum control of motor operation results in eliminating the consumption of excessive electricity. Based on Power Lab tests, realize savings of 25 percent to 64 percent on energy costs using inverters – for the same or even better comfort.

Television
Watch TV together. Instead of watching different TV programs on different TV sets and multiplying your consumption, agree on a program you can all watch together.

Unplug your TV sets. This eliminates stand-by power costs. A 21-inch TV can add P15 to P20 on your electric bill every month on stand-by power consumption. Also, use a power board or power strip to help you unplug appliances with just a click.


Choose the right size.

Choose the size that best suits your viewing needs. The bigger the TV, the higher the wattage ratings, the more energy you consume.

The screen size of your TV should be based on your viewing distance from the unit. For your high-definition TV (HDTV), first measure the viewing distance starting from the viewing area, like sofa or bed, to where you will place the HDTV unit. Minimum viewing distance = screen size x 1.5. Maximum viewing distance = screen size x 3.

Use Energy Saving Mode. This usually dims the backlight, which means lower power consumption. Save energy consumption from 27 percent to 67 percent by switching to Energy Saving Mode.

Consider LED TV. LED TV are far more energy-efficient than cathode-ray tube televisions and Plasma sets. Save up to 77 percent on energy costs while enjoying the best viewing experience.

Oven and microwave
A microwave oven is an energy-efficient alternative to a conventional oven.

It cooks food faster because the energy heats only the food and not the oven compartment. If available, use microwave or toaster ovens for cooking or warming leftovers. They use up to 30 percent less energy than regular ovens. To lessen costs further, use glass pans. Glass retains heat, so you can set the oven to a lower temperature.


Keep it closed. Refrain from looking inside a working oven too often and instead use the oven light to check on the food.

Twenty percent of the heat can be lost each time you open the oven door.

Turn it off. Turn the oven off before cooking is complete (up to 15 minutes, depending on the dish).

The heat in the oven will continue to cook the dish until finished. Also keep preheating to a minimum.

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