Earth Hour should change the way we use electricity
Awan Kuspriadi| Tue, 03/24/2009 12:42 PM | Environment
History will be made next Saturday night when much of Jakarta will be voluntarily plunged in to darkness.
Over the night of Saturday March 28, lights will be extinguished in many parts of Jakarta as it joins some 80 cities around the world in commemorating Earth Hour.
Organized by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour.
Last year the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights.
With lighting and other electric power used in offices and homes creating massive greenhouse gas emissions, WWF wants to make people aware that action can be taken to stop global warming.
The environmental organization is hoping that as many as a billion people will participate this year, thus sending a strong message to our politicians that the world cares about the growing threat of climate change.
World leaders will meet in Copenhagen in December to thrash out a new climate change agreement to succeed the Kyoto treaty. Talks to formulate this new agreement were started at the United Nations climate convention held in Bali in December 2007.
Lights will be switched off from 8:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., affecting some of the city’s iconic spots including the National Monument, the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, City Hall, as well as the Pemuda and Arjuna Wiwaha statues .
Earth Hour provides the opportunity for the people of Jakarta to make their voices heard. But it
also raises awareness about what ordinary people can do to avert global warming.
As Jakartans take part in this special day, let’s hope that it will make them think about what practical steps they can take to save electricity in the longer term, because there is much that ordinary households can do to cut energy consumption and thus reduce greenhouse gas production.
Why not extend this symbolic gesture to some real changes in the way people use electricity.
With Earth Day falling on March 28, here are 28 initiatives that homes in Jakarta and throughout Indonesia should consider taking to reduce their energy consumption:
• Turn off lights when in rooms that are unoccupied.
• Switch off electronic equipment that’s not being used to avoid televisions being left blaring in empty living rooms or idle computers being left on.
• If your home is left empty for a while, be sure to unplug items that have stand-by functions.
• If you have a dishwasher, use it efficiently by filling it up to the maximum before use and limit the number of times you run it.
• Avoid placing furniture and
other items in front of air conditioning vents.
• Always keep doors and windows closed when air conditioning is on.
• Put insulation around the pipes going in and out of your water
• If your home is going to be empty for more than a couple days, turn off your water heater.
• Drain four to five liters of water from the faucet at the bottom of your water heater, as this will remove the sediment in the water which reduces the energy efficiency of your water heater.
• Close doors and vents in rooms you are not using.
• Turn off the water when brushing your teeth and take shorter showers, saving both water and the electricity that it takes to pump and heat
• Make use of daylight hours and avoid keeping unneeded lights on.
• Use one large light bulb instead of a few small ones. One 100-watt light bulb uses less energy and gives off more light than two 60-watt bulbs.
• Use fluorescent light bulbs because they use 75 percent less energy and last longer than incandescent light bulbs.
• Use light bulbs that are low in wattage in areas of your house where you don’t need bright light.
• Make sure that outdoor lighting is turned off during the day.
• Decide what you want from the refrigerator or freezer before you open them so you don’t waste electricity by keeping the door open unnecessarily.
• Remove dirt and dust from the coils at the rear of your refrigerator every few months in order to lower your energy bill and to keep the condenser working better.
• Allow hot foods to cool down to room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator.
• Ensure that only full loads of clothing are in your washing machine before use and use the coolest water possible for washing and rinsing the clothes.
• If you use a clothes dryer, clean the filter each time and make sure it is full before use, drying one load immediately after another because this uses less energy since the dryer is already hot; make sure you stop the dryer as soon as the clothes are dry.
• Keep your window blinds, curtains or shades closed during
• Use fans instead of air conditioning whenever possible as these use much less electricity.
• Only use air conditioning sparingly and get into the habit of turning it off when rooms are empty.
• Regularly clean or replace your air conditioning filters.
• Try turning up the thermostat a few degrees when you have the air conditioning on.
• If you have a house with some land around it, plant trees as the shade they provide will reduce the need for cooling devices.
• If you can, shade your air conditioning unit.
Taken from Jakarta Post