In the past couple of years, almost every major state and city in Nigeria has witnessed an increase in the price of electricity. In some cases, this increase has been as high as 30% compared to just 2011 prices.
The other challenge faced is reliability of power supply. Frequent power outages in many parts of the country have forced users, particularly home users, to install solar power energy for homes and businesses.
Diesel generators have their own set of challenges, such as a high cost of buy, operations and maintenance. The increase in the price of diesel in recent months has also led to a large increase in the cost of electricity produced by these generators. There are some bright spots, however, when we talk about energy for residential homes.
Before going to the city or the community, here are 10 easy ways to be more energy efficient, right inside our home:
1. Programmed home thermostats
Programming your home thermostat is one of the easiest ways to save energy, money, and help fight global warming. C-Bus thermostats can be easily set to act in a power saving mode. Heading off to work? Simply press the “leaving home” scene on your keypad or touch screen to turn off all the lights and cut your heating or cooling usage. Placing the fan unit under a tree saves 10% more energy than putting out in the sun. If you raise your thermostat setting by only two degrees and use your ceiling fan, you can lower your cooling costs by up to 14 percent.
2. Change your light bulbs
The most common ways to cut energy in lighting is using energy-saving incandescent, CFL bulbs and LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). Energy saving incandescent or halogen lamps save about 25% energy. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) save up to 75% energy and come in warmer colors and diffuse filters as well, to go along with the home’s ambient and focus lighting design. CFLs typically start paying for themselves in 9 months and then save you money after that. One thing to remember is that CFLs contain mercury and the mercury needs to be recycled to prevent toxins from leaking. The light emitting diode (LED) are a type of solid-state lighting — semiconductors that convert electricity into light. Although once known mainly for indicator and traffic lights, LEDs are today a very rapidly developing energy-efficient technology.
3. Minimum 3-star rated ACs, refrigerator, geysers, etc.
A three-star rated AC can cut energy consumption by about 20% in a house. Similarly, a five-star rated AC can cut energy consumption by about 30%. Any star-energy rated gadget or equipment can produce some significant power savings. Five-star ACs consumes lowest energy.
4. Use of blinds that have louvers or fins for windows
Blinds bring diffused light and cut glare and heat which is present in direct light. Automated blinds also change their direction depending on the time of the day and provide greatest light. Blinds or louvers are best to show the sun’s heat back out. Light-colored woven or translucent shades are acceptable, but may not control glare under bright summer conditions.
5. Painting of roof with reflective paint
Painting the roof with reflective paint or putting white tiles can cut the heat flow into the building from the roof. This would decrease the energy consumed by ACs. Cool roof leads to reduced building heat-gain, as a white or reflective roof typically increases only 5–14 °C above ambient temperature during the day, it also saves up to 15% of the annual air-conditioning energy use of a single-story building.
6. Use of solar power instead of generators
Solar power is more energy efficient than generators. At places where electricity load need is low, or frequency and duration of power failure is low solar power can easily replace generators. Inverters are extremely efficient, compared to generators, and only consume DC power in direct relation to the amount of power they put out. Another major benefit is that they are almost silent compared to generators
7. Use of gas instead of electricity for cooking
Every unit of electricity which is saved results in less generation of at least 3 units of electricity. When we use gas for heating we are effectively reducing the load on our electrical grid. Gas cooking stoves create less overall heat than electric stoves. The heat is much more controllable on gas cooking stoves. The heat change is immediate and precise. Also, the oven for gas cooking stoves heats up quicker than the oven used for electric stoves.
8. Save water
Using less water will lower your water bill. And when you use less hot water, you’ll also see savings in your gas bill, or your electric bill if you have an electric water heater. Check all faucets, pipes and toilets for leaks. Install water saving shower heads and ultra-low-flush toilets.