Electric Lighting

Replace existing conventional incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). Initially, CFLs cost more than incandescent bulbs, but they last at least seven times longer and use less energy. The savings gained by using a CFL will quickly outweigh their higher initial cost.

Use “task lighting” wherever possible. For example, a low wattage bulb can be used to provide general lighting in a kitchen area where it is common to leave the light on for extended periods. However, counter-top lights can be used to provide brighter direct lighting in specific areas when required.

Use conventional fluorescent tubes in large areas or areas that require bright lighting for long hours. Look for fluorescent tubes with newer electronic ballast, as these are more efficient. For outdoor security, use security lights with motion sensors, photocells or timers. In this way lights will only be on when required.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) can be used with or without lamp fittings for indoor purposes but should be used in an enclosed lamp fitting for outdoor purposes. Fittings should be sufficiently large as CFLs are usually larger than conventional light bulbs.


Defrost manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers regularly. Frost should not be allowed to become more than 1/4 inch thick. Frost build-up increases the amount of energy required to keep the compartments cool.

Do not keep refrigerators at lowest temperatures. For the fresh food compartment temperatures should be kept at 3-4 degrees Celsius or 37-40 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures for the freezer section should be kept at about 15 degrees Celsius or 5 degrees Fahrenheit. For stand-alone freezers temperatures should be kept at 17 degrees Celsius or 1 degree Fahrenheit.

Cover liquids and wrap foods that are to be stored in the refrigerator. Moisture makes it more difficult to cool the compartment and also encourages frost build-up. Clean the condenser coil (located at the back of the refrigerator) at least once a year. Make sure that all door seals are airtight.

Air Conditioning

Where air-conditioning units are required, the temperature should be set at the warmest comfortable temperature. BVIEC recommends 78 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer with the thermostat fan switch set to “auto”. Excessive cooling increases energy usage.

Do not place lamps, TV sets or other heat sources close to the air-conditioning thermostat.

Match the size of air-conditioning units to the requirements for each room. Air-conditioning units that are too small cannot cool sufficiently. Air-conditioning units that are too large, switch on and off frequently, reduces the efficiency of circulating cool air. These require more energy than units that are correctly sized.

Where convenient, locate air-conditioning units in well ventilated but shaded areas, or areas with surrounding trees and shrubs. This may reduce energy used by the air-conditioning units by as much as 10% compared with a unit located in an un-shaded area.

Windows should be tinted and/or have a reflective coating where possible. Double-pane windows should be installed where possible.
Clean unit filters once a month.


If you use an electrical cooker, turn off the heating element several minutes before the designated cooking time ends. The element will retain heat long enough to finish the cooking.

Boil water in covered pans or a kettle. Use pressure cookers wherever possible. Do not cook or reheat small meals in large ovens. Use smaller electric ovens, pans, toasters or microwave ovens.

Household Habits & Maintenance

Save $$$ By Monitoring Your Refrigerator Use


The average refrigerator door is opened 25 times a day. But one study found a family’s refrigerator being opened 100 times daily. Why? A child was taking grapes – individually from the refrigerator. Extra door opening can add 15 percent to your yearly refrigerator bill. A refrigerator is one of the largest energy consumers in a typical household. But you can either double, or cut that cost in half, depending on your habits.


Do not stand with the refrigerator door open, thinking, as the unit cools the room. Check the door seal (gasket) by opening the door, putting a dollar bill between the seal and the frame, and closing the door. If it is hard to pull out the bill, the seal is tight enough. If it is easy, the seal is too loose. Re-glue it or buy a replacement at an appliance parts store.

Disconnect the old rarely-used second refrigerator freezer and save hundreds of dollars per year.

Try to keep the refrigerator away from heat sources such as a stove, direct sunlight or ducts. The heat will make the unit work harder.

Cool hot foods to room temperature before refrigerating. Clean the condenser coils at the back or bottom of the unit once or twice a year.

Do not set thermostats too low.