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Energy-saving schemes yield €5.8m in savings

Malta will be saving €5.8 million in electricity next year following the introduction of energy-saving schemes, The Sunday Times has learnt.

The savings are equivalent to the amount used by all households in Pembroke, Sliema and St Julian's.

The savings are derived from three schemes announced over the past few years - a rebate on energy-efficient appliances, the five energy-saving bulbs given to families and assistance given for the purchase of photovoltaic systems and solar water heaters.

According to the Resources Ministry, the €5.8 million savings are equivalent to the water and electricity bills of some 10,000 three-person households based on the newly-announced tariffs.

This news comes just days before steeper water and electricity tariffs come into effect in January.

Malta will be saving 45.3 gigawatt hours simply from the energy-saving bulbs recently distributed to families.

The 200 photovoltaic panels subsidised by the government will be saving the country another 2.08 GWh in energy throughout next year, while the 2,339 solar water heaters for which grants were offered will lead to savings of another 2.5 GWh.

The authorities are also estimating that the energy efficient appliances scheme would be netting savings amounting to €900,000. The scheme was introduced in the budget for 2007 and the government handed out a total of €1.88 million in rebates to consumers who chose to buy an energy-efficient appliance.

Last February, the authorities launched a campaign to urge people to switch off lights and appliances when they are not in use. Aptly called Switch, the campaign urged people to 'switch' their habits, bringing about a change in mentality.

Save energy and keep more money in your pocket

• The refrigerator is a big energy consumer and investing in a newer model can help save cash. A fridge bought in the mid-1980s uses around 1,400 kWh, almost triple the energy of one bought after 2001. Moving it away from the cooker, dishwasher and heat vents and making sure the door seals are airtight will also help safe energy. Frequent defrosting is also recommended.

• Turning off household appliances, including the television and computer, rather than leaving them on standby will save energy. A television set uses 45 per cent of its energy in standby mode.

• Using 15-watt bulbs rather than 75-watt ones will reduce energy usage by a whopping 80 per cent. You can save more by replacing them with CFL or LED lights.

• Unplug mobile phone chargers when not in use.

• A microwave oven is the most efficient electrical appliance for the kitchen but an electric oven is expensive to use.

• Air conditioner filters should be cleaned regularly, and a few extra degrees of cooling will result in a substantial increase in the electricity bill.

Data compiled using information available on www.enemalta.com.mt, www.energysavingadvice.co.uk and michaelbluejay.com.

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