6 May 2020
Globally, over 90% of students are affected by school closures brought on by the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak. The transition to home-based learning will have a direct proportionate effect on the electricity usage.
In many ways, the decision to transition students into home-based learning (HBL) rhymes with the work-from-home orders mandated by the government. These measures - part of the circuit breaker initiative - are necessary to slow down and eventually eliminate the spread of the coronavirus in the community.
The advancement of technology is the reason why education institutions have been able to go fully remote in a short amount of time. Home learning may not substitute the human interaction and socialising activities that can only occur at school but it does reveal several unexplored benefits as well. Likewise, with any scenario, there comes the pitfalls to avoid or manage for a smoother transition and adaptation.
Without in-class interactions - whether it is through quizzes, socialising with friends or discussing topics - home learning through online platforms like the Student Learning Space definitely delivers a different experience. It also is a steep learning curve for children. Adjusting to HBL hinges on the reliability of technological devices, Internet speeds and parenting skills.
Children encounter different challenges during HBL. Technical issues and a shift in learning experience during HBL are the two biggest adjustment factors at play.
Today, we see entire families working, attending online classes or hosting virtual hang-outs at home together. As we settle into the new reality, we also need to take stock of how increased online activity will reflect on our electricity bills. Hours and hours of online activity on laptops, mobile phones and running of air-conditioners can take a toll on electricity consumption. How can you save on energy use?
In a similar fashion to working from home, home learning will directly increase energy consumption through screen time, duration and number of devices plugged in and running of electrical appliances.
Increased screen time on laptops and tablets for digitised lessons for HBL can greatly increase the energy use over a long period of time. Likewise, parents working from home and requiring some focus time can also lead to running televisions to keep children occupied. Coupled with the running of electrical appliances such as the air-conditioner (or fan) and lights - the energy consumption in a single household increases by folds.
With all these factors at play, learning how to maximise energy efficiency and reduce usage can help you save on electricity bills during the stay-home period. Lowering energy consumption does not come at a cost of skimping on productivity during home learning. The open electricity market also provides an avenue for consumers to compare different electricity plans available to purchase one that allows substantial savings - given that we are spending more time indoors.
As the entire household is at home, the daily situation looks a little like this - both parents are working from home and children are attending lessons through HBL. This means running laptops, tablets or desktop computers from morning till late afternoon (or even nighttime). Understandably, parents with younger children may even resort to a running television in the background to keep them occupied as they work.
One way to save on electricity during HBL is to manage screen time daily. By keeping to a strict schedule and home learning only during reasonable school hours can keep screen time to a minimum. This reduces energy use on laptop devices at night. For entertainment, parents can encourage children to engage in creative activities that are not electronic-based, such as puzzles, reading or drawing and painting. The benefit of this plan is the balance that children get instead of having their eyes glued to screens all day.
Home learning or not, vampire sources are often large energy consumption ports. After a day of HBL, parents need to encourage their children to shut down their computers or unplug their chargers after use.
Leaving the television turned on the background can also waste money as wasteful energy use is incurred. The biggest problem with plugged in sources is the sheer invisibility. People often forget that their electronic devices are plugged in - contributing to an accumulation of energy costs.
With a strict routine, there are clear guidelines for when computers and tablets need to be unplugged completely. Instill in children the habit of unplugging devices when not in use and this will easily fix the issue of vampire sources.
There are several ways we can minimise the impact of increased energy use on our bills this period.
Using natural lighting wherever possible and switching to energy-saving bulbs with Energy Labels affixed on them can maximise energy efficiency. Create a space in your home where your children can attend to home learning with natural lighting - it is proven to boost moods and productivity in general.
Encourage the use of fans in place of air-conditioning at home - or perhaps, you could simply time the duration for which the air-conditioner was turned on. Shorten those times and leverage a fan to keep your home cool as you work and your children learn from home.
Home-based learning and work-from-home schedules will, undoubtedly, increase your energy bills. As your children work at home alongside you, the amount of energy use will skyrocket significantly with increased use of devices. The Open Electricity Market offers parents of children a wider variety of choices when it comes to personalised electricity price plans to fit different lifestyles and needs.
As the leading power generation company in Singapore, Senoko Energy delivers flexible, innovative and interest-driven price plans to consumers. Consumers pick electricity price plans that match their needs and energy use consumption habits at home - some of these plans even come with value add-ons like entertainment promotions and cash rebates. The leading homegrown electricity retailer also offers low fixed-rate electricity price plans for consumers looking to maximise on cost-savings while they work from home.
Now that you and your child are both working and learning from home, it could be time for a switch to a much more energy efficient price plan.