This post was written in collaboration with iSwitch. While we are financially compensated by them, we nonetheless strive to maintain our editorial integrity and review products with the same objective lens. We are committed to providing the best recommendations and advice in order for you to make personal financial decisions with confidence. You can view our Editorial Guidelines here.
If you keep wondering why it’s always so hot in Singapore, or why it’s super sunny one moment and raining like mad the next — you’re not imagining things.
According to the National Climate Change Secretariat, our annual mean temperature has actually increased from 26.6 degC to 27.7 degC from 1972 to 2014. In addition, our annual average rainfall has also increased from 2,192mm in 1980 to 2,727mm in 2014.
And because I still don’t know how to swim, this worries me: The mean sea level in the Straits of Singapore has increased at the rate of 1.2mm to 1.7mm per year (1975 to 2009).
I’m no scientist or environmental specialist, but some causes of climate change are trapped heat in our atmosphere due to heat-generating activities/equipment, and too much carbon dioxide due to deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels.
While the ideal situation would be for everyone to adopt greener practices, let’s be realistic. It takes a lot of conscious effort to be 100% eco-friendly (and may not be possible). So let’s focus on what we can do now — simple tweaks to our lives — that don’t have much of an impact on our busy schedules and budgets, but mean everything to Mother Earth.
Switch to a green electricity retailer
By switching to green electricity retailer iSwitch, you are supporting its efforts to generate clean energy from renewable sources and fight climate change. Of course, the ideal scenario is for everyone to be using green energy in the future.
In addition, if you’re still getting power from SP Group, switching will guarantee you an “instant discount” on your electricity bill as what iSwitch offers is lower than tariff rates.
|How much iSwitch can help you save on electricity|
|Electricity provider||SP Group (4Q 2020)||iSwitch (as of 10 Nov 2020)|
|Rate||22.93 cents per kWh (inc. GST)||16.72 cents per kWh (inc. GST, 6-month Fixed Rate contract)|
|Monthly electricity bill||$80.26||$58.52|
Not living in a HDB 4-room flat? Calculate how much you can save with iSwitch based on your dwelling type.
Just so you know, iSwitch is one of the largest independent electricity retailers in the country and has been around for residential customers since the beginning of the Open Electricity Market’s (OEM) launch in Nov 2018, so they’re experienced when it comes to helping us make the switch, seamlessly.
|iSwitch’s 11.11 Electricity Sale:
Check out iSwitch’s “Chope” the Rate Exclusive 12 Months plan, where you can receive up to $75 in bill rebates. Psst, remember to add the promo code 25SALE for a $25 bill rebate on top of a $50 bill rebate. Sign up online here.
Where you can, skip single-use products at home
Manufacturing is one industry that consumes a lot of energy, and in turn, generates a lot of heat, waste products and carbon dioxide emissions.
While turning to single-use products admittedly makes our lives easier, some simple alternatives such as using a hand towel for drying clean hands/plates instead of paper towels, or using a tea towel to cover bread dough instead of cling wrap can make all the difference.
Even making a big batch of cold brew tea in a pitcher instead of buying bottled drinks, or using a washable floor wiper instead of single-use wipes can really help our planet.
Think of all the money you could save as well, without needing to keep stocking up on paper towels (about $4 for 6 rolls), cling wrap (about $3 for 1 roll), bottled drinks (about $2 for 1.5L), floor wipes (about $9/pack) and so on… it all adds up.
Make friends with the fridge/freezer
For the longest time, I thought the freezer was reserved for ice cream, cheap cuts of meat and instant finger foods like fish fingers and chicken nuggets.
Then, I discovered the beauty of using it to store a big batch of food (like Japanese curry) that I’ve portioned for single-serve meals, cheap butter that I bought close to expiry (it extends shelf life), extra loaves of bread that were on offer, and more.
Likewise for the fridge. I could use it to store portions of food that I might be eating the next day for a quick lunch, plus it’s fantastic for a slow defrost that won’t degrade the quality of my more expensive cuts of frozen meat.
This way, I managed to reduce my food waste (no more feeding the landfills when I can feed myself) and as a result, downsized my food bill.
In addition, making sure that your fridge/freezer is well-stocked actually helps to reduce energy consumption and my electricity bill — your fridge doesn’t need to work so hard to cool down everytime you open the door because it has other cold stuff in there to keep the temperature low.
Did I mention that I also save time as I only need to reheat my leftovers for lunch, instead of rushing downstairs to buy or ordering in (expensive)?
Get rid of “vampires” in your home
It’s definitely super convenient to have your cable charger at the ready at all times, without reaching behind the sofa to turn on the switch. And sometimes, physically turning on the mains is also key when you are controlling your Smart Home appliances remotely.
However, even though we aren’t actively using the devices, something called “phantom power” is still being drawn from the mains. It’s like a vampire that goes around secretly sucking your blood in your sleep — but you barely realise it.
Depending on the device, phantom power can actually constitute a significant part of your electricity bill… up to $100 a year. You can even go a step further and invest in a power bar with a timer, or even physically unplug all devices from the socket to save even more on your electricity bill.
After all, it sucks paying for what you didn’t even use, right?
Take part in the free-cycle community or shop consciously
A few years ago, I joined a free-cycle community in my neighbourhood. Instead of going out to say, Daiso, to buy a common item for $2, I would ask in the community and if anyone has unwanted spares, I would walk over to their house to collect it — for free.
It works the other way too. If I had extras of something, I would offer it for free in the same group, and someone who needs or wants the item would collect it. I felt less guilty as I threw away less, and items that I didn’t need but were still in perfect condition could find a new home.
I saved a pretty penny thanks to this group, and I made a few good friends.
However, if you’d rather not be engaged in yet another WhatsApp group chat, you can also do your part by donating your extras, or shopping responsibility (think clothes swop events/stores, or renting clothes that you’d only wear once).
You’d get a refreshed wardrobe ever so often, yet possibly save tons of money at the same time — all while feeling happy that you’re doing something for the environment.
Making the world a better place — you can start small
Like I mentioned in the beginning, doing your part for the environment needn’t be a huge commitment that would take away precious time from your job, family or hobby. There are always tiny adjustments we can make, or one-time setup that can have a big impact in the long run.
Using more eco-friendly alternatives needn’t be more expensive either. Like with iSwitch, you not only get competitively-priced electricity plans that help you save, but it also provides green-certified carbon-neutral electricity at no additional cost. It’s also not at all inconvenient to make the switch as it can all be done online via iSwitch’s website, and there’s no disruption to your electricity supply.
If you don’t know where to begin but want to make the world a greener place, why not make the switch to a green electricity plan as your first step?
Find out more about iSwitch’s plans and sign up here.