Health And Family

Yes, we have the power to solve the energy crisis

CONSUMERLINE - Ching M. Alano - Pang-masa

The long hot summer is upon us and the prospect of a power outage is certainly not cool. But amid this bleak news comes this refreshing campaign to raise awareness on energy conservation and underscore its urgency in the country.

Yes, you can — you have the power to help solve the country’s escalating energy crisis.  #MayMagagawaKa campaign comes on the heels of the Malampaya maintenance shutdown, which left a 700-megawatt void in the local power grid, and is jointly organized by Philips, Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG) Bank, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines, and the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP).

“There’s good news, and the main good news is you can do something — ‘you’ means all of us,” Philips Philippines country manager Fabia Tetteroo-Bueno addresses media people who are so full of energy after a hearty buffet lunch at Milky Way Restaurant in Makati. “This campaign is all about calling the public, calling companies, calling everybody to do something. We can do something ourselves. We can help reduce the pressure and the energy shortages coming up our way. And one of the easiest ways is to do something about your life.”

Fabia sheds light on how we can help: “We have been saying for a long time that LEDs can save 40-50 percent of your energy — it’s very nice to reduce your energy bill, to help the sustainability of the country for the next generations. But now, in times of shortage, more than ever, it’s gonna help us to keep our lights on, to keep our businesses on.  So it’s very important that, more than ever, everybody makes small steps because if we all start making those small steps, we can help reduce those shortage pressures. We want to make people conscious that businesses, governments, consumers, we all can do something. Also, so you can choose what’s right to help you save energy the best you can.”

European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines executive vice president Henry Schumacher notes that we’ve always been complaining that we need reliable energy, we need sufficient energy, and we need energy at all costs. He urges everyone, “Stop complaining, be part of the solution — everybody, individuals, owners of factories, mall owners, company owners, etc. If we want to continue to grow, the better cry is to be part of the solution.”


WWF Philippines president/CEO Joel Palma tackles a very down-to-earth topic: Save energy and save Mother Earth. “Our planet is in a crisis right now because we’re consuming globally beyond the capacity of our only planet. We have two ways of addressing this. First, we produce more to address the deficit. The other way is you reduce your consumption. This is important because every common person could lend a hand. We’ve taken lighting lightly because we just switch it on and off. Don’t put lighting on the side. The consumption of light accounts for about 1.9 billion tons of carbon emissions every year, this is no joke because this is about 70 percent equivalent to the emissions of passenger cars globally. So, lighting is one thing we can do something about. Efficiency and conserving energy is very good, technology is also here with us. So, the use of LED lamps is very good, this could save on carbon emissions.”

In the Philippines, Palma explains, “most of our sources of energy come from fossil fuel. And most of these emissions cause climate change. And climate change has been knocking on our doors. #MayMagagawaKa is a classic example of going beyond the hour (beyond Earth Hour) by switching to better lights, so we can gain more savings, more efficiency and economically, it will become cheaper. If all the 100 million Filipinos will switch to LEDs, we probably won’t have headlines of impending brownouts this summer. You can use your power to change climate change.”


• Myth: LEDs last forever.

Fact: LEDs last longer than conventional lighting, but they do fade over time due to “lumen decay.” The right LED maintains 70 percent of its original brightness over time — you get the right brightness for the energy you pay for.

Myth: LEDs do not emit heat.

Fact: LEDs emit heat and need good heat management to perform well. The right LED undergoes product testing and uses a proper “heat sink” component.

Myth: The latest generation of LED is the best.

Fact: “Generation is just a term other manufacturers use, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better product. The right LED’s performance is a more reliable basis for quality.

Myth: Cheaper products mean more savings.

Fact: A cheap price may mean low quality, poor safety, and a shorter life span. The right LED assures you of safety and the quality you deserve.

Myth: Long warranties are good.

Fact: Be wary of extended warranties that seem too good to be true. The right LED has credibility and a proven track record on the global market.

The workaholic Senator Loren Legarda, author of the Climate Change Act, observes, “People are oftentimes overwhelmed with the gargantuan task of protecting the environment, without realizing that small acts (such as celebrating the Earth Hour last Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30 p.m.) can ignite greater action and result in significant achievements.”

In 2009, 647 cities and towns in the Philippines and some 15 million Filipinos participated in the Earth Hour, saving 611 megawatt-hours of electricity during the one-hour period.

In 2013, records from the Visayan Electric Company in Cebu alone showed a reduction of 11 MW at the time of the event. 

Loren makes these small suggestions: “Saving on electricity, using low carbon technologies, conserving water, eating local food, planting more trees, among others, are just some of the simple ways by which we can significantly contribute to protecting our planet. The results of Earth Hour are clear enough to show what people can do when we work together.”


Meanwhile, EcoWaste Coalition, an environment watchdog, lists some hot kuryentipid tips to reduce the consumption and wastage of electricity:

• Open the curtains, drapes, and windows, as well as remove clutter, to allow natural air and light in.

• Install skylights wherever possible to maximize the daylight.

• Switch off lights, radio and television sets, and other energy-consuming devices when not in use.

• Wipe lamps and fixtures clean to improve illumination as dust decreases brightness and energy efficiency as well.

• Reduce the strength of lights to only what is needed. Use lights that are low in wattage for places where bright lights are not required.

• Make sure that outdoor lights are switched off during the day.

• Turn off appliances and gadgets at the power socket when not in use since these still consume electricity even on standby mode.

• Use a fan to keep cool instead of an air conditioner. Ceiling fans, in particular, can make you feel a few degrees cooler while consuming less electricity.

• Use the air conditioner sparingly, set the temperature at about 25°Celsius, keep the filter clean and ensure the unit is serviced regularly for more efficient cooling.

•  Organize household chores like cleaning, cooking, ironing, and washing more efficiently and try to do these with lesser frequency.

• Put leftover food on top of newly-cooked rice to warm it instead of using the stove, toaster or microwave.

• Set fridge temperature at 5°C, organize items to allow airflow and do not overload. Cover liquids and foods to control moisture that makes the fridge work harder. Also, leave enough room around it to allow the heat to escape from the condensing coil and compressor.

• Refrain from keeping the refrigerator door open longer than necessary, check the gaskets and make sure the door shuts tightly to avoid cooling loss. Defrost regularly.

• Allow hot foods to cool first before putting them in the refrigerator.

• Thaw frozen foods before you cook them to lessen energy use. Defrost them inside the refrigerator as this helps in cooling the fridge.

• Keep your washing machine loads at maximum; wash manually if possible. Save laundry wash water for cleaning and other purposes.

• Use just the right amount of detergent to avoid extra rinsing.

• Hang clothes to dry instead of using the electric dryer.

• Choose not to iron clothes whenever possible. If needed, do ironing in big batches. Start with clothes that need lower temperatures, avoid heating and re-heating the iron and use the residual heat for delicate items.

• Use the kulambo (mosquito net) instead of electric mosquito repellants. Keep your surroundings clean and dry to prevent mosquitoes and other pests like roaches and rodents from breeding.

• Save water by turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth or wash your face and do take shorter showers as these also save electricity used for pumping the water.

• Plant vegetables and fruit trees to shade your house from the sun and water them after sundown. Get some indoor plants to make the house cooler.

Such cool, bright ideas to see us through the hot days ahead!













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