Liv­ing green, sav­ing money

Are you, like most Malaysians, wor­ried about cli­mate change?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Spaces - By WONG LI ZA star2@thes­tar.com.my

WANT to save RM3,000 a year on bills and liv­ing ex­penses AND do your part for the en­vi­ron­ment at the same time?

Ikea wants to show you how. Its re­cently launched Sus­tain­able Liv­ing Project aims to help Malaysians cre­ate a more sus­tain­able life­style at home based on the four Ikea sus­tain­abil­ity pil­lars: sav­ing en­ergy, con­serv­ing wa­ter, re­duc­ing and re­cy­cling waste, and liv­ing health­ier.

The Swedish home fur­nish­ing and so­lu­tions com­pany will be con­duct­ing Sus­tain­able Home Tours at Ikea Da­mansara and Ikea Cheras in the Klang Val­ley through­out the cam­paign pe­riod, which runs from now till Aug 6.

Mem­bers of the press were re­cently in­vited to tour the in­te­rior of a 55sq m model home for a fam­ily of four that show­cased home fur­nish­ing ideas and so­lu­tions and sus­tain­able prac­tices that save the fam­ily up to RM3,000 a year in ex­penses.

“The liv­ing room fea­tures 15 light points, but by us­ing all LED bulbs, which con­sume 85% less en­ergy than in­can­des­cent bulbs and last 20 times longer, the sus­tain­able home saves as much as RM2.08 in elec­tric­ity per bulb. That amounts to RM31 saved per year,” said Sheila Ibrahim, sus­tain­abil­ity man­ager at Ikea Da­mansara.

In terms of elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion within a home, air-con­di­tion­ers are the big­gest cul­prits, fol­lowed by the re­frig­er­a­tor.

By choos­ing en­ergy-ef­fi­cient mod­els and ad­just­ing the tem­per­a­ture up­wards by 3°C, the sav­ings gen­er­ated was RM112 per year (for three air-con­di­tioner units). Ad­just­ing the fridge’s tem­per­a­ture to -18°C also leads to sav­ings of RM13 per year.

If you are some­one who tends to leave the TV or your desk­top com­puter on standby mode overnight, you are wast­ing elec­tric­ity too.

“Turn­ing off a desk­top com­puter at night saves a to­tal of RM44 per year while switch­ing off ap­pli­ances at power points saves a to­tal of RM22 per year,” high­lighted Sheila.

Sim­ple things like us­ing wa­ter ef­fi­cient taps and wash­ing veg­eta- bles and fruits in a bowl in­stead of un­der run­ning wa­ter, and tak­ing quick show­ers in­stead of us­ing a bath tub, can all save you over RM400 a year too.

Over­all, though, the project re­vealed that the bulk of the money saved comes from re­duc­ing food wastage.

“Save your food leftovers in tem­pered glass con­tain­ers and turn them into the next meal or freeze them for an­other day,” said Sheila. That can help shave off RM20 per day and, at two days a week, amounts to RM2,080 ex­tra money in the bank a year.

Re­cy­cling and com­post­ing can be done eas­ily at home by get­ting re­cy­cling and com­post­ing bins, Us­ing wa­ter ef­fi­cient taps and wash­ing veg­eta­bles and fruits in a bowl in­stead of un­der a run­ning tap are among some of the sus­tain­able liv­ing habits that are easy to adopt. added Sheila, who also en­cour­aged peo­ple to use recharge­able bat­ter­ies.

“At Ikea, we be­lieve that it is pos­si­ble for ev­ery­one to lead a bet­ter life at home while be­ing sus­tain­able and pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment at the same time. It doesn’t re­quire ex­tra spend­ing, rad­i­cal life­style changes or compromise on style.

“Through this project, we hope to en­cour­age Malaysians to start mak­ing small but sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments at home,” said Mike King, re­tail man­ager at Ikea Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia and Thai­land, in a press re­lease.

King cited a sur­vey con­ducted by the Merdeka Cen­tre (an opin­ion re­search firm) in De­cem­ber 2016 which found that 81% of Malaysians ex­pressed worry about cli­mate change, fol­low­ing a year when tem­per­a­tures hit record highs.

“Change starts with the in­di­vid­ual. Lots of peo­ple want to live more sus­tain­ably but don’t nec­es­sar­ily know how to do so. This is where we come in, in­te­grat­ing Ikea home fur­nish­ing knowl­edge with a vast se­lec­tion of prod­ucts that help more peo­ple live sus­tain­able lives in the fu­ture,” he said.

On Ikea’s end, the com­pany works at sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion; for in­stance, all the cot­ton used in its prod­ucts comes from sus­taina- ble sources. The re­tailer works with the World Wildlife Fund as well as the Bet­ter Cot­ton Ini­tia­tive on green cot­ton farm­ing and pro­duc­tion is­sues.

About the project

If you’re keen to take part in the sus­tain­able home tour, you can book a ses­sion at Ikea.my/sus­tain­able-liv­ing from now un­til Aug 5.

Fam­i­lies with a pas­sion for sus­tain­able liv­ing are also en­cour­aged to reg­is­ter their in­ter­est in sus­tain­able liv­ing at the same link for the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in the Sus­tain­able Liv­ing Project. Three fam­i­lies will be cho­sen to re­ceive pro­fes­sional con­sul­ta­tions and Ikea prod­ucts worth up to RM8,000 per house­hold to cre­ate a more sus­tain­able life in their own homes.

Over the next four months, these fam­i­lies will work closely with Ikea sus­tain­abil­ity con­sul­tants to ef­fect pos­i­tive change in their ev­ery­day lives.

In ad­di­tion, ev­ery Fri­day, Satur­day and Sun­day from now till Aug 6, Ikea Fam­ily mem­bers can go to ei­ther of the two Ikea stores to ex­change re­cy­clable ma­te­ri­als such as plas­tic bot­tles, alu­minium cans, and news­pa­pers for Ikea Fam­ily points. Each mem­ber can re­deem up to 3,000 points dur­ing the cam­paign pe­riod.

Ac­cord­ing to Ikea, us­ing recharge­able bat­ter­ies can save you up to RM40 a year. — Pho­tos: ONG SOON HIN/The Star

Sav­ing leftover food for later con­sump­tion re­duces wastage and saves money too. — Ikea Malaysia

Practise re­cyling and com­post­ing us­ing bins like these that can be tucked away neatly in a kitchen cup­board.

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