WITH the third lockdown due to the surge of Covid-19 infections further lengthening the time we spend at home, turning our residences into multi-functional spaces, some have noticed a rise in energy consumption.
Living with her two housemates, Heaw Yu Hoey has practised an energy-conscious lifestyle even before the pandemic.
“We live a generally simple lifestyle, no air-conditioning, minimal high-energy consuming equipment. To avoid the need to turn on the air-conditioning, we opt for a stand-fan if and when the heat is extreme.
“We are wary of keeping lights turned on when they don’t need to be and generally don’t leave our gadgets running overnight. However, these are best practices that were in place before Phase One of the National Recovery Plan (NRP),” she said.
The 27-year-old lawyer found that even though they lead an energy-conscious lifestyle, their consumption has increased due to their new lifestyle, adding that her housemate has embarked on a baking endeavour for the possibility of a side income.
“The increase in consumption is unavoidable, like longer running time for all our laptops and gadgets and increase in kitchen usage, such as the addition of a second-hand electric oven and daily microwave usage, since we started eating more at home so it's useful to heat up our leftovers.
“We use these kitchen appliances every day and with extra usage on the weekends when our in-house bakery opens. So far, the products we have are mochi muffins, red velvet cupcakes, passionfruit bar, lemon loaves and cinnamon banana crumble cake. Our baker is still experimenting with recipes.
Staying true to their energy-conscious lifestyle, Heaw said: “We clean the oven often to ensure optimal temperature is achieved and turn off the power when not in use to reduce phantom electricity,” adding, the top of the oven is kept free to ensure air vents are not blocked so that heat can be released.
Meanwhile, Mohd Zakwan Aras, 35, found his family’s energy consumption has doubled since his family of four has been staying indoors daily, while working and studying from home.
However, the accountant shared that his family is focused on efficient energy consumption.
“(We) make sure all electrical appliances are used effectively and we focus on reducing wastage the best we can. For instance, air-conditioning is set at 26 degrees Celsius and it's an inverted air-conditioner that is statistically proven to be energy efficient for long hours usage.
“We also ensure all lighting appliances are energy-efficient LEDs that light up only when there's movement,” he added.
Living in a full house since the third lockdown, the energy consumption of Raywinn Shaun Samuel’s five-person family home has increased with four of them working from home.
Clocking in long hours while working remotely, the 32-year-old human resource professional took it upon himself to find out the source of the energy hike.
“We associated the hike in electricity to an air-conditioner in the living room. We only use it at night, when we watch television to wind down and with the European Championship last month, I thought it would be interesting to test it out.
“I decided to unplug the connection of the air-conditioner and see if our suspicions were right. To our surprise, our electricity consumption increased,” he said, adding that big-ticket electrical goods in his home, such as the refrigerator and air-conditioners are energy-saving models.
He opined that his family's work from home schedule has to do with their increase in consumption.
“Everybody is using different plug points, lights and fans throughout the day and in our own designated work stations since we have meetings throughout the day and would need privacy.
“I’ve been researching and reading more on energy-saving devices on top of having extension cords with surge protection,” he said.
Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) aims to help Malaysians live smart by adopting energy-efficient ways in their homes. For more information and home energy-saving tips, visit https://www.mytnb.com.my/energy-efficiency/home-energy-savings-tips/tips-tricks.