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It's the little things that make a big difference

9 June 2008

It's the little things that make a big difference

The Green Party says most consumers could reduce their energy consumption without any reduction in comfort or convenience just by thinking ahead.

Greens Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons there are a lot of things households can do to save water in the dams and conserve power for the winter, but people should not go cold.

"If you have a heat pump, turn it off when you are out at work and turn the thermostat down over night. You can set the timer to come on an hour before you get home from work. You don't get any benefit from heating your home all the time you are at work.

"Towel rails can be switched on for an hour when the towels are wet, or before you have your shower to have them warm, but it is a complete waste to leave them on all the time and they use a lot more power than people think. And clothes can be dried outside when it's fine.

"It also doesn't reduce your quality of life at all to turn the computer and the screen off when you finish using it for the day. Just because the screen is dark or on screen saver doesn't mean it is saving power. And turn laptops off at the wall as the external power unit stays hot and is using power even when the computer is off.

"The big industrials are all being approached and some have already switched energy sources or changed processes. Commercial buildings can save a lot too. Lighting in foyers and stairs can be reduced as long as there is adequate lighting at work stations. Someone in the business should have the job of checking when they leave that all lights, computers, printers and copiers are turned off."

The Green Party is conducting a thorough review of its energy use in the Parliamentary and out of Parliament offices to ensure that all staff are reminded to check that all equipment is switched off at the end of the day, Ms Fitzsimons says.

"All MP offices come with a small and very inefficient fridge. The Greens have turned theirs off and we all share the one large fridge in the kitchen.

"We shouldn't think of energy conservation as going without - if we start soon enough to capture all the energy we waste we will not need to go further than that. In particular, we don't want pensioners turning off their heaters and getting cold, which is bad for their health."


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