Tips for sustainable living
Tips for sustainable living in Singapore
Image adapted from: Pikrepo (right)
It’s never too late to start living more sustainably. With an increasing number of eco-friendly items like metal straws and reusable lunch boxes easily available in Singapore, making the switch to a green lifestyle doesn’t require a radical change to your daily routine.
Just see how easy it is with these low-effort tips for a sustainable lifestyle. And if saving the world isn’t a good enough incentive, you’ll be able to save your bank account with these tips too.
1. Reduce appliance standby power
If you’ve ever heard people describe household electrical appliances as “vampiric”, it’s because these machines suck power even when not in use. According to a video tip on the SP Utilities app, the standby power of household electronics accounts for roughly 10% of household power usage.
Take a few extra seconds to turn the switches off your TV, microwave or extension plugs before you leave the house to reduce your electricity usage. You can especially lessen your environmental impact if you do so before leaving home for a trip.
2. Set your aircon temperature at 25 degrees
In Singapore, our hot and humid tropical climate makes air-conditioning a necessity most of us can’t live without. But we’re also well aware that they guzzle huge amounts of energy, especially if you tend to blast it at 16°C each time you turn it on.
The thing is, whether your temperature is set at 16°C or 30°C, it takes the same amount of time for your air-conditioning to cool down a room.
25° is the best temperature to practice sustainable living
If you’re wondering how to use air-conditioning as efficiently as possible, the optimum temperature you should set it to is 25°C. This is because more energy is needed if you lower the temperature, and 25°C is able to adequately cool a room down.
For the most efficient use of energy, set the aircon to fan mode – it’s easier on your aircon compressor and can cool any room adequately.
Fun fact: The National Environment Agency says that you can save up to $25/year when you set your aircon at a higher temperature. You can check out these aircon tips for more info.
3. Turn off the Wi-Fi router at night
Image credit: @m_seller_kazan_city2
There’s more than 1 benefit to turning your WiFi router off at night. Not only is it said that its radio frequency tends to disrupt sleep patterns, but another real disruptor is the fact that it fuels our 2AM IG-scrolling habits in bed.
Besides that, most of us usually leave our routers up and running 24/7 which means it’s constantly siphoning a good amount of power away.
There are many tutorials on how to set timers to WiFi routers
Image credit: Robyn Rishani
There are also ways to set a timer for your WiFi to turn on and off – one of it is by logging into your router settings and setting a schedule from your router management page.
If you’re worried about rumours that switching your WiFi router on and off will cause it to be unstable, there’s actually little evidence out there that supports this. At the most, you’ll just have to wait a few seconds for your WiFi to boot up when you turn it on.
4. Reuse discarded rice water
Image credit: Pikrepo
Rice is a well-loved staple Asian food. When we cook rice, it’s standard practice to rinse it before cooking it to rid the grains of starch that makes it sticky. But every time we do so, that’s a pot full of water that’s wasted with each rinse.
You can keep rice water in spray bottles for your hair for sustainable living
Image credit: Ashley A Brown
Instead, you can put that starchy liquid to good use. It’s perfectly safe to be used externally, and here’s how you can do so:
- Rinse your hair and use it as a conditioner: The cloudy white elixir can strengthen your hair roots and give it some much-needed nourishment and softness.
- Wash dishes: It helps to counteract grease and also gives your crockery a good shine.
- Water plants: It’s a nutrient-packed boost for those green photosynthesisers.
5. Switch to LED lights
Image credit: Design4Space
LED lights have a long list of advantages that make them the most sustainable lightbulb to use. Compared to the old incandescent bulbs, they use roughly 75% less energy and have a lifespan of 25,000 hours – that’s 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs.
Whether you’re waiting for your BTO or are planning to do renovations at home, opt for LEDs for a more sustainably–led life. If you need ideas on how to light up your homes cost-effectively and efficiently, check out our guide to HDB lighting.
6. Opt for digital letters
Image credit: pxfuel
Bills are part and parcel of adulting, most of us receive our fair share of paper bills in the mail each month. Since these eventually go into the trash once we’ve paid them, paper bills contribute to unnecessary wastage of paper.
Thankfully, many service providers now offer consumers the option to opt out of paper bills. For example, SP Group allows you to go paperless with a simple tap on the SP Utilities App. Check with your providers to see how you can decrease your paper bills and declutter your mailbox for good.
7. Use water thimbles
Image credit: Tianjin Eco-City
Water thimbles are small accessories you can attach to your taps and showerheads to decrease the amount of water that flows out from them. They’re a simple solution to curb excessive wastage of water.
These button-sized devices are super convenient to use. On taps, all you need to do is remove the head of the tap, insert the thimble, and put everything back as per normal. You won’t even notice the difference, but your bank account and the oceans will.
Image credit: PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency
Pro-tip: PUB actually gives out free water-saving kits with thimbles for your taps and showerheads. Request for one here.
8. Use an app to track your utilities usage
You can track your power consumption at your own ease on the SP Utilities app.
It always puts things into perspective when you see just how much your power and water usage is. Nothing screams “time to start living sustainably” more than the definitive kilowatts and litres on a screen just jumping in your face.
Apps such as the SP Utilities app allows you to conveniently keep track of your household utilities usage just from your phone. With more conscious awareness over how much you’re using, you’ll be able to change your lifestyle habits easily.
With a bar graph on the home screen, you’ll be able to track your consumption data and fully visualise your daily, monthly and yearly usage. There are also videos and in-app tips on how to save money and energy.
Be rewarded for living sustainably at home
Living sustainably doesn’t always have to require a massive lifestyle overhaul – it can be as simple as the flick of a switch or the tap of a button. Going eco-friendly isn’t always expensive either and if these tips show anything, it’s that a more sustainable lifestyle can actually be more cost-effective instead.
The SP Utilities app rewards you for adopting more sustainable measures such as donating reusable bags at NTUC Fairprice and packaged food to Food Bank Singapore.
The sustainable living video tips will come in handy when you’re planning to renovate your home, with recommendations on fridge dimensions and water heaters that’ll consume the least amount of energy.
Through in-app challenges such as the energy saving challenge that requires you to save at least 2% energy monthly, you’ll earn points in the form of leaves, which can be redeemed for rewards such as mall vouchers and discounts on movie tickets.
Image credit: @thesmartlocalsg
Besides that, the app lets you manage and update your details, submit meter readings, pay your bills and share your account with family members so you can all keep track of your bills and usage as well. There are even functions to allow you to pay bills for someone else or locate charging stations and make payments, for those who drive electric cars.
It makes sustainable living easily achievable, accessible and rewarding for all Singaporean households and is a good start to help our dying planets and melting bank accounts.
This post was brought to you by SP Group.
Photography by Rae Phang.