Monitor Your Electricity Consumption at Home

May 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

Your utility bill shows the electricity consumption (in kWh) of your house over the past six months and also indicates the national average consumption for your house type. If your electricity consumption is below the national average, good for you. If not, you should start to monitor your energy consumption at home and find ways to reduce energy usage.


Electricity Audit Calculator

To find out which appliance at home consume the most electricity, you can use this electricity audit calculator from SP Services. The audit will help you calculate the estimated electricity consumption per month and also the electricity consumed by each appliance in kWh and cost.


Energy Monitor

etrackIf you want more accurate monitoring of your appliance’s energy consumption and to track your consumption over time, you can use an energy monitor such as ETrack or Wattson. These energy monitors can track the real time and monthly energy consumption of appliances in the home and display energy consumption in kWh and cost.

With the above calculator and energy monitor, you can monitor your electricity consumption at home and reduce the usage of high energy-consuming appliances or adjust your lifestyle to consume less energy.


Electricity Vending System

In the future, we might have smart energy meters installed in our homes. The Energy Market Authority (EMA) is currently studying the feasibility of the Electricity Vending System (EVS), which involves installing smart meters that allow consumers to choose an electricity package and manage the electricity consumed at home.


Adopt Green IT and Green Computing Practices

May 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

Green IT or green computing usually refers to making the data centre and other IT system or equipment more energy efficient, and to reduce the environmental impacts associated with IT, such as recycling of computing equipment.

You can adopt the following Green IT practices on energy efficiency in your organisation’s data centre, energy efficient office equipment, energy saving tips and recycling of used electronic equipment.


Energy Efficiency in Data Centre

Your organisation’s data centre uses a substantial amount of energy for power and cooling purposes, especially as computing demand grows in your organisation. It is possible to reduce the energy consumption by optimising the data centre’s performance, efficiency and space through power and cooling analysis, virtualization, and using energy efficient servers. Consult your IT vendor on energy saving solutions for your data centre. You can also visit the Greener Computing website for more news and tips on Green IT.

data-centreHere are some Green IT vendors:

In the Sustainable Singapore blueprint report published in April 2009, one of the new initiatives by the government is to promote energy efficiency in data centres:

Data centres, server rooms and IT equipment account for a significant amount of energy use in buildings. The government will work with the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry to develop and promote the adoption of green data centre standards that will reduce the power consumption of IT systems. These standards will take into account the ongoing international efforts in this area as well as guidelines and best practices for data centre design, setup and operations. The public sector will also adopt green data centre practices and promote awareness of green data centre benefits among data centre operators in the public sector, develop training and certification programmes for the public and private sector data centre operators, and promote R&D in energy efficient data centres.

Check with the Energy Efficiency Programme Office on the incentives available for Green IT.


Energy Efficient Office Equipment

In Singapore, computers, printers and photocopiers are not included under the Energy Label scheme. So if you’re looking for energy efficient computing equipment, you can look for ENERGY STAR qualified equipment instead. The ENERGY STAR is a US labeling program to identify and promote energy efficient products. Find a suitable model from this wide range of ENERGY STAR products.

When buying new computers, choose laptops instead of desktops as a laptop uses less energy. If your organisation needs to buy desktops, choose those with flat panel LCD monitors instead of CRT monitors, as a LCD monitor is more energy efficient and lasts longer. Also remember to choose the right-sized monitor to meet the office’s needs. A bigger monitor uses more energy.


Energy Saving Tips

powerbuttonRemember to switch off all the computing equipment when leaving the office or when they are not in use, and don’t leave them on standby mode as the standby mode still consumes energy. Here’s what you can do:

  • Connect different equipment to a power strip so that you only need to turn off one switch
  • Use plugin timers to switch off equipment after office hours
  • Use the power management mode on your computer to turn off the computer after some time of inactivity
  • Use the free Auto Shutdown software to schedule Windows shut down

When the computing equipment is in use, here’s what you can do to reduce energy consumption:

  • Set photocopiers, printers and other equipment on energy saving mode
  • Reduce the brightness of the computers to cut energy consumption as the factory default setting may be brighter than necessary
  • Disable the computer’s screen saver as the screen-saving mode uses more energy than in standby mode
  • Use the power management mode on your computer and enable the energy saving features
  • Use the free Edison software to optimise power settings



You can recycle your used electronic equipment such as computers and printers through your IT vendor who usually can take them back. If they don’t, check out this guide to electrical and electronic waste recycling at Zero Waste Singapore.

Image credit: jodax.

Use Government Fundings for Energy Audits and Energy Efficient Technologies

May 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

audit-checkThere are several funding and incentive schemes provided by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to help companies reduce their costs in engaging ESCOs or investing in energy saving equipment and technologies.

If companies lack the expertise to manage their energy consumption, they can engage an Energy Services Company (ESCO) to conduct an energy audit for their building or facility, identify energy saving measures and implement projects to reduce energy consumption.

The ESCOs provide a full analysis of the energy flows in and out of a facility, suggest improvements to facility design and operation, and provide financing and implementation of energy saving projects. In Singapore, the ESCOs are accredited under the Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) Accreditation Scheme by the Energy Sustainability Unit (ESU). A list of accredited ESCOs can be found at the ESU website.


Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance Scheme (EASe)

The NEA has a co-funding scheme called the Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance Scheme (EASe), to help companies in the manufacturing and building sectors engage accredited ESCOs to conduct energy audits and recommend energy saving measures.

Funding is provided up to 50% of the qualifying costs of engaging an ESCO and capped at $200,000 for a single facility or building over a five-year period. Visit the Energy Efficient Singapore website for details on the Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance Scheme.


Grant for Energy Efficient Technologies (GREET)

The Grant for Energy Efficient Technologies (GREET) provides funding for the Singapore-registered owner or operator of existing or proposed industrial facilities to invest in energy efficient equipment or technologies.

Funding is provided up to 50% of the qualifying costs and capped at $2 million per project. Only projects with a payback of more than 3 years and up to 7 years are eligible for funding. Visit the Energy Efficient Singapore website for details on the Grant for Energy Efficient Technologies (GREET).


Accelerated Depreciation Tax Allowance

save-costThis tax allowance scheme encourages companies to replace old inefficient equipment and invest in energy saving equipment. The capital expenditure on the qualifying energy efficient equipment can be written off in one year instead of three. More info about the tax allowance is available here.


Design for Efficiency Scheme (DfE)

The Design for Efficiency Scheme (DfE) aims to encourage new facilities that are large consumers of energy to integrate energy and resource efficiency improvements into their development plans early in the design stage.

Funding is provided up to 80% of the qualifying costs or $600,000, whichever is lower.


With these funding schemes, your organisation would be able to reduce your costs in conducting energy audits and investing in energy saving equipment and technologies. Save money and energy at the same time!

Also check out the Singapore Guide to Government Funding and Incentives for the Environment.

Image credit: lusi; svilen001.

Conduct an Energy Survey to Identify Energy Saving Opportunities

May 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

clipboardAn energy survey is a simple assessment of the energy use in your organisation and the aim is to identify and correct bad energy habits and practices. Start by forming a small team to conduct the energy survey, appointing an energy manager as the team leader and recruiting staff from different departments as team members.

The team will conduct the energy survey by taking a walk around the offices, building and facilities to observe what is happening on the ground, identify bad and wasteful energy use and habits, and identify opportunities for energy saving.

The survey should be conducted at different timings so as to find out the different energy usage throughout the day and at different periods. Surveys can be carried out:

  • At a normal weekday during office hours
  • At busy and peak hours
  • At lunchtime
  • After office hours
  • During weekends

Use past and current utility bills, meter data, maintenance records and other energy information to help keep track of the energy usage in your organisation.

Here are some areas to take note of during the energy survey:

Office Equipment

  • Are office equipment left on standby after office hours and during weekends? Can we switch them off easily?
  • Does the computers, printers, photocopiers and other equipment have built-in energy saving features? Are we using these features and do we know how to use them?
  • Can we use software to switch equipment off after office hours?
  • Are vending machines and water coolers left on at night? Can we use timers to switch them off after office hours?


  • facade-lightingAre lights switched off in unoccupied areas or if there is sufficient daylight? Can we reduce unnecessary lighting?
  • Can we use motion sensors for the stairs and carpark?
  • Are lights switched off when no one is in the room or office? Who is responsible to switch off the lights after office hours?
  • Are external and facade lighting switched off during the day? Can we adjust the timers to switch off the lighting earlier?
  • Are light fittings arranged strategically and light switches labelled properly?
  • Are we still using inefficient lighting? Can we change to energy efficient light bulbs and tubes?

Air-Conditioning and Ventilation

  • Is the office too warm or cold? Can we adjust the air-conditioning temperature up to about 25 degree Celsius or at a comfortable high temperature?
  • When is the air conditioning switched off and on during the day?
  • Are the windows and doors open when the air-conditioning is on?
  • Are the air-conditioning and ventilation system maintained and serviced regularly? Are the settings optimised and correct?
  • Are there obstructions at air inlets and outlets?

Industrial Equipment

  • Do boilers, pumps, fans and other equipment have the correct and optimised settings?
  • Are the equipment serviced and maintained regularly?
  • Are the equipment misused by operators who are not trained properly?
  • Are there any compressed air, refrigerant or steam leaks?
  • Are there opportunities to tap waste heat from equipment and exhaust gases?

successAfter the energy survey, look at the findings and decide what actions to take. Implement the no-cost or low-cost actions first, such as educating employees, changing habits and practices, proper maintenance of equipment, changing energy settings and removing unnecessary lighting.

Next, consider the higher-cost actions such as installing new energy efficient lighting and equipment, and using energy saving technologies.

Remember to keep the management and employees informed of the energy survey findings, actions taken and energy savings.

Image credit: dlnny; olimohd; lockstockb.

Nokia Virtual Eco-Rountable

April 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

Nokia held its first Virtual Eco-Roundtable in Singapore last week and we were invited to attend the event and hear Nokia’s global and Southeast Asia Pacific (SEAP) executives speak on environmental sustainability and its commitment to the environment. The discussion was held in Nokia’s videoconference room, the Halo Room, as some speakers were presenting from the Nokia HQ in Finland.


The presentations and speakers include:

  • Introduction by Chris Carr, Vice President, Sales, SEAP
  • Nokia Environmental Strategy by Markus Terho, Director, Environmental Affairs, Markets
  • SEAP Environmental Programs by Francis Cheong, Regional Manager, Environmental Affairs, SEAP
  • Environmental Design by Tiina Karhu, Senior Specialist, Design Strategy, Nokia Design
  • Packaging Design by Ulla Uimonen, Head of Packaging Design, Nokia Design

We learned 2 key points from the Nokia Virtual Eco-Roundtable: 1) Nokia is Integrating Sustainability into the Business and 2) Nokia is Advocating Sustainable Choices. Read more

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