Energy saving or conservation simply means saving kilowatt hours usage of energy, which leads to lower utility bills and preserving the environment.
In The Gambia, for example, energy is generated using mainly fossil fuel oil which is not only contributing to the degradation of the environment through CO2 emissions but pollution it creates to the residences close to the Power Plants.
As per the Service Tariffs – NAWEC, an average energy cost is about D10.34 Per Kilowatt hour in the Gambia for domestic consumers. Furthermore, based on the NAWEC annual electricity production, it is estimated that the company will have contributed close to 344.31 tons of C02 emissions from its power generation activities. Although the emission is small relative to many other countries, it still has some impacts on the environment.
As NAWEC generates electricity to serve the corporates and general consumers, it is therefore critical for consumers to build interest and support in savings the use of energy.
In this article, Momodou S. Fatty, a Gambian Accountant with experience in the energy sector, shares 5 ways consumers can save energy and money at home.
1. Energy-efficient appliances
Most consumers in The Gambia do not take into account the labelling of energy consumption of appliances when buying, and as a result, may end up buying appliances which are not energy efficient. In the long run, these appliances might cause you more money than an energy-efficient appliance.
For example, if you buy an electric iron costing D600 of 500Wths, as opposed to a D1,000 electric iron of 150wths, you will save the cost of D42.806 a month for a 12-hour usage a month. (D10.43*500*12=62.58 (D10.43*150*12=18.774). If such savings are annualized on 20 bulbs, it can lead to savings of D10,000 per annum.
Similarly, with a more efficient electric iron, you save a cost of D513.67 a year, so assuming the useful life of the iron is 3 years, you will save an amount of D1,541.02. However, the initial cost of a more efficient appliance may be costly, but in the long run, it saves you more money and energy.
2. Pay attention to your appliances when leaving your home.
Have you ever left your home and forgotten to switch off your appliances? If yes, you are not alone in this. Many of us will leave our homes, leaving our televisions, overhead bulbs and other devices on. This can cost you a lot of money, especially if your appliances are not energy efficient. For example, if you are using a bulb of 60wths, leaving your home for about 7 hours while this bulb is switched on, you have just wasted D4.34/day and 420whts/day of energy. In a month, if you continue to behave in such a manner with just one bulb, you will spend D130.28 monthly and D1,563.41 annually on single bulb consumption.
3. Building designs to suit energy needs.
If your house is built in such a way that even during the daytime, your room gets dark, then you need to switch on your bulbs. Therefore, you should consider energy efficiency and environmentally friendly design when buildings. For example, you should create more windows to create lighting in the rooms during the daytime so that you can switch off the bulbs during day time. You should also consider using roofing materials to keep the rooms cool during hot seasons; hence this will lower your demand for electricity consumption as you might not need an electric fan and Air conditioners during the peak period.
4. Use of Smart Technologies
Most homes have bulbs all over their building, and usually, during the night, these bulbs will be switched on. Therefore, you should consider using smart bulbs that automatically switch on and off when a human movement is detected. This could save you a lot of energy during the night.
5. Clean your appliances frequently!
Did you notice that your air conditioner or stand fans will still be at maximum speed but not cooling as expected? If you are experiencing the such outcome, the appliance is likely dusty and dirty. Therefore, it gives you less cooling than expected while consuming a higher kilowatt hour. You can improve the performance by cleaning the appliance, and this process can help you save energy and money. However, you should consult a trained technician for such services as electricity is dangerous.
In conclusion, savings the environment is a joint responsibility of everyone. Minor changes in our act of energy consumption can reduce C02 emissions and also lower the cost of electricity bills. Let us save planet earth, the only home we have.
Momodou S. Fatty is a chartered accountant working in the energy industry. He is pursuing a Master’s degree.
Note – Although the Author works with NAWEC, the article is the author’s personal view only.