The typical residential home consumes electricity as follows: water heating (geysers) 35%, food preparation 22%, space heating 18%, lighting 10%, space cooling 10% and other 5%.
By saving energy can save you money as you’ll spend less on your electricity account each month. Saving energy is also important as producing electricity in South Africa is damaging to the environment due to increased carbon emissions.
Did you know? Leaving your laptop on and plugged in at home all day can cost you up to R85 per month while leaving your printer on in sleep mode can cost you almost R70 per month.
When you’re shopping for an appliance, think of two price tags. The first one covers the purchase price – think of it as a down payment. The second price tag is the cost of operating the appliance during its lifetime. You’ll be paying on that second price tag every month with your utility bill for the next 10 to 20 years, depending on the appliance.
- Use a microwave to cook as it is quicker and cheaper, 1 oven uses the same power as 18 microwaves.
- Use a kettle to boil water for cooking as it is quicker and uses less energy than a pot on the stove.
- Only fill the kettle with the amount of water that you need.
- Every time you switch on your dishwasher, it’s the same as switching on 120 CFL energy-saving light bulbs. Wait until the dishwasher is full before you switch it on and use the economy programme wherever possible.
- Physically turn off appliance switches or at the wall (e.g. a TV or Hi-Fi), instead of leaving them on stand-by (they still use electricity otherwise).
Did you know? Leaving a computer monitor on overnight wastes as much energy as making 800 A4 photocopies!
In most homes, lighting accounts for around 17% – 20% of the electricity account.
- A considerable amount of electricity can be saved by replacing your ‘traditional’ (incandescent) light bulbs with compact florescent lamps (CFLs). They are more expensive, but CFLs last 8 times longer.
- Clean your lamps and bulbs regularly, because dirt decreases
the amount of light given out.
- Put timers on your outside lights so that you won’t forget to switch them off during the day.
- Make the most of the natural light entering your home.
Geyser and water:
- A geyser blanket will insulate your geyser not allowing the heat to escape.
- By simply reducing the temperature setting on your geyser you can increase efficiency and save on your electricity bill. The default temperature setting on most geysers is 65°C, but for optimal geyser efficiency, you should set your thermostat to 50°C in summer and 60°C in winter. This can save you R44.00 per month
- Shower instead of running a bath, as a shower uses much less water and therefore, less hot water and less electricity. By showering instead of bathing you can save R162.00 per month.
- Fit low-flow shower heads, this will not only save water but, electricity too.
- Install a solar water heater or heat pump. Using a solar water heater can save up to two-thirds of the total water heating cost you build up at home.
Air conditioners has come a long way over the past couple of years and is much more advanced not only in technology but also in energy saving technologies. Air conditioning does more than cool the air. It truly “conditions” it by removing dust and dirt as the air is drawn through a filter
- Keep filters, indoor and outdoor coils clean. A dusty filter reduces airflow.
- Ensure your air conditioner operates correctly by getting an air-conditioning company or contractor to carry out the installation. An improperly installed unit, even one with a very high-efficiency rating, will waste energy. They will also be able to advise you on the best placement of the indoor and outdoor units to ensure the unit reaches its maximum lifespan.
- Do not try to hide the unit’s external part behind shrubbery. The shrubbery reduces the unit’s ability to exhaust air and lowers its efficiency.
- A bigger unit is not necessarily better because a unit that is too large will not cool an area uniformly. Also, an oversized unit will cool an area too quickly, causing the air conditioner to frequently turn on and off. This wastes electricity and money.
Building a new home:
When building a new home, take the opportunity to include further energy-saving measures in the design. Building positioning, sun shading systems, window design, and integrated heating and cooling systems can naturally maximise home comfort and provide real low-cost energy savings.
- A skylight in the roof allows natural light into the house on sunny days and eliminates the use of artificial lighting. Make sure that the sloping glass of the skylight faces north.
- Natural materials are most suited to keeping the home cool in summer and warm in winter.
- Floors made out of brick or concrete maintain comfortable temperatures in your house as they are good at absorbing heat during the day and releasing this slowly at night.
- Install a solar water heater – these are relatively expensive but result in substantial savings on your electricity account.
- If your windows are not double glazed and using proper thermally efficient material around them, this element of your home can cost you up to 25% in lost energy.
- Installing your geyser vertically rather than horizontally will result in greater energy efficiency.
- Orientate the longest side of your house to face north for light and sunshine.
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