After having to work from home since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented in Malaysia on March 18 owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, many could well be missing their offices after more than two weeks, especially when their home offices would most likely just be a makeshift desk placed in one corner of the house. Indeed, many people around the world are now forced to work from home due to the pandemic.
The air-conditioning and lights in your “home office” are always switched on now as you try to get it as cool and as bright as your normal office but then you are constantly reminded that the one paying the electricity bill is, YOU.
It is no surprise then that Tenaga Nasional Bhd expects residential or household electricity consumption to spike during the MCO as Malaysians are all required to stay at home. However, to ease the burden of home power users amidst the challenging economic environment caused by the pandemic, the government announced electricity bill discounts of between 15% and 50% for all consumers from April 1 to Sept 30.
The domestic tiered discount is set at 50% for consumers with usage of below 200kWh, 25% for consumers with usage from 201 to 300 kWh and 15% for consumers with usage from 301 to 600kWh. Consumers with usage of over 601kWh enjoy 2% discount.
Nonetheless, with or without the discounts, during the MCO or after, we should as eco-friendly consumers, strive to always utilise electricity efficiently. By doing so during the MCO period, we could also fully optimise the discount given.
Below are four energy-saving tips for those working (and staying) at home.
1 Make use of natural resources
Open your curtains and windows to allow natural light in and air to flow into your home and workspace, especially in the mornings when the air is cool and the sunlight is not too harsh. If you are able to have enough natural light and breeze, there is no need to switch on the lamp or air-con.
Working from home provides flexibility including the time when you want to work. Therefore, if your house is well shaded and there is ample natural light and air flow, make the most of working during the day rather than at night. However, if your home office receives direct sunlight all day, maybe it is a better to work in the early mornings and evenings (for those with flexible hours) so you can save on the energy cost.
2 Use your air-conditioning intelligently
If you need to turn on the air-conditioning, the first thing is to close all the doors and windows, as well as draw the curtains and shades if it is sunny so that the cool air will concentrate in the room. Besides that, always set the air-con temperature at the optimal 24˚c as every single degree lower you can do without, is less energy used. This is because the compressor will have to work longer to reach a colder temperature. Also remember to clean or change filters regularly.
3 Unplug after every use
When working in just a room, switch off the lights, fans or other appliances in the unused rooms. Unplug unnecessary devices when you are not using them or have finished using them, such as your laptop, printer or scanner, and chargers simply because they are still consuming power when they are on standby mode.
4 Upgrade your devices
If you are still using an old desktop which takes you five minutes to turn on, maybe it is time to consider laptops as you do not need to plug them in all the time — they could be the more energy-efficient choice than desktop computers.
However, there are also many settings in your desktop computer that can boost your energy savings, such as changing the screensaver to blank screen and turning off software such as Bluetooth and wi-fi when you are not using them.
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