Sometimes in life it’s the little things that can bring about enormous change. Looking for little ways to save energy at home is a worthy endeavour with clear benefits.
Benefits of saving energy
The burning of fossil fuels provides us with electricity, resulting in comfortable lifestyles, but we are leading our planet to its demise.
A lifestyle change towards being more energy-efficient is not only kinder towards Mother Nature, but also kinder on your pocket.
In some cases there might be an initial investment, but over time you will save. Furthermore you might even see an improvement in your quality of life.
An energy efficient lifestyle can leave your home warmer, drier and more sufficiently ventilated, reducing mould growth and preventing the buildup of indoor pollutants.
This can improve your family’s health.
Don’t know where to start? Use our list to help you take the first steps towards green living.
1.Turn off your lights in darker rooms and make use of natural light as much as you can.
This may sound like common sense, but it’s so easy to simply press a button that we often do it without thinking.
2.Consider the colour of your curtains. Dark colours will make a room dark.
So either throw the curtains wide open or consider decor of a lighter colour if you need more light in a specific room.
3.Be clever about your usage of natural light. If you work at home, set up your work space close to a window.
Strategically-placed mirrors can reflect the light entering your windows, giving you even more of the sun’s goodness.
4.Switch to LED lightbulbs. With pricing that ranges between roughly R30 and R200 per bulb, these don’t have to cost a fortune.
Even the more expensive bulbs are worth it considering that they use between 25 and 80% less electricity and last three to 25 times longer than normal bulbs.
5.Dimmers are nifty accessories used to control how bright your lights shine by simply turning a button. We don’t need bright light at all times.
Dimming your lights in the evening creates a soft, calm environment, and costs less to have on than bright lights.
6. Showering is more energy efficient than taking a bath.
7. If you enjoy long, soothing showers, the time has come to cut them short. You will be amazed at the difference a few extra minutes can make in your busy day.
8. Being aware of how you do things can already bring about change.
It’s easy, but quite careless, to let the warm water run while you are shaving, brushing teeth or doing the dishes. Get the water you need and close the tap.
Water heating is a major contributor to your electricity costs.
9. On the subject of warm water, Saving Energy’s Craig Berman states that the most energy efficient way to use your geyser is to install a geyser timer and a geyser blanket.
A geyser blanket works by preventing your geyser from losing heat, so your water stays warmer for longer.
Now the geyser uses less electricity because it doesn’t need to warm up the water as often.
A geyser timer lets you set the time when your geyser will be running, based on your needs. This will, for example, typically be in the morning when people shower.
10. A cold shower is not everyone’s cup of tea, perhaps you can adjust to a slightly colder water temperature, which will already make a difference to your energy usage.
11. Living in 2020 has been a challenge, with unpleasant things like ‘masks’ and ‘social distancing’ becoming buzzwords.
There is a bright side though to modern life. In this day and age useful inventions that improve our lives are easily accessible to many people.
One of these is the water and energy-saving shower head. This shower head can reduce your warm water usage by up to 50%.
It won’t affect how your shower feels, so no need to worry about trying to clean yourself properly underneath an almost non-existent little stream of water.
A water and energy-saving shower head is easy on the pocket, in most cases costing less than R200.
12. Is there a hot water tap drip-drip-dripping in your home? Get it fixed, as it is slowly consuming unnecessary energy.
13. The toilet is a considerable consumer of water. And no, we won’t tell you to flush less often. You can, however, invest in an energy efficient toilet that is designed to use less water.
Home appliances savings
14. Leaving electronics like computers, televisions and printers on all day is a bad habit that many of us are guilty of. When you are not using something, switch it off.
15. After pressing the off button, take it one step further and unplug all appliances that you are not using. This way you will save even more energy.
16. Check the settings on your dishwasher and choose the one that allows you to open it after the rinse cycle is complete.
There is really no reason why the dishwasher should dry your dishes, and you will save a substantial amount of electricity.
17. Appliances like washing machines and dishwashers have filters that need to be kept clean. This ensures that the machine functions optimally, without energy wastage.
18. Cooking doesn’t come naturally to all of us. If that is the case for you, use the internet to figure out exactly how to cook that whole chicken.
Resist the temptation to open the oven door and take a peek.
In her book Bakewise, Shirley O. Corriher claims that oven temperature can drop by 150℃ if left open for more than 30 seconds.
Every time you open the oven door energy is wasted getting the temperature back up. Not to mention that your meal might be a flop.
19. The same rule counts for fridges. Standing hopefully in front of an open fridge will not make something delicious appear, so you might as well close the door.
The open door lets the cold air escape, so now more electricity is used to get the temperature down again.
Similarly, when you are cooking, take all the ingredients you are going to need out of the fridge at once. Constantly opening and closing the door lets the cold air escape.
20. Using a laptop instead of a desktop computer is the energy-efficient way to meet your deadlines.
21. Did you know that a home loses large amounts of heat through the walls, floor and ceiling?
Investing in proper insulation is the key to keeping the heat inside and keeping the cold out.
When you are using either heaters or aircons, ensure that all windows and doors are closed.
This keeps the cool or warm air from escaping and your appliances having to work harder. Less energy is then needed to regulate the temperature in your home.
22. One word: braai. Who needs an oven?
23. Consider washing your clothes in cold water. Do full loads of washing to reduce how often you use your washing machine.
It will take some planning at times, but popping clothes in the machine every now and then as needed is a definite waste of energy.
The same goes for your dishwasher. Wait until it is full befoe switching it on.
24. Use the microwave instead of the oven when you can. Less electricity is used this way because you can often get the same results quicker with a microwave.
25. Be energy efficient with your stovetop by using pots that are the same size as the plates. A small pot does not need the extra heat that a large plate produces.
26. Plan your meals in advance so that you can remove any frozen food from the freezer in time.
This way the food can defrost naturally, and you save on energy by not having to defrost it in the microwave or oven.
27. Do not purchase bigger appliances than you need. Living the bachelor life? Perhaps a small fridge would be sufficient.
Even vacuum cleaners come in different sizes. A small vacuum is fine for a smaller living space.
28. Remember that time you are saving from taking shorter showers? Use it to hang the washing instead of using a tumble dryer.
29. Go solar. This is perhaps the energy-saving option that will require the biggest financial investment from you. The extent to which you go solar is up to you though.
Solar energy involves using heat and light from the sun to power up your life. From solar air-conditioning to solar pool heating, many options are available.
Based on your needs and budget, you can decide to go completely off the grid, or only install solar power in parts of your home.
30. Cleanliness is key for devices that function as they should, without wasting energy. Keep that stovetop clean and ensure that your bulbs remain dust-free.
The coils at the back of your fridge are hidden dust-collectors that will cause your fridge motor to work harder.
Set a reminder on your phone to check them once in a while, it is easy to forget something that is out of sight.
31. Chargers are energy thiefs when we neglect to unplug them after use – a common mistake.
Chargers keep using energy even after you have removed the device you wanted to charge.
A better life is always within reach if we are willing to put in some effort. This is why, for example, we get up early to go to the gym.
We are pretty convinced that saving energy is easier than an early morning workout, so what is stopping you?
An energy efficient life comes with the added bonus that you are doing your bit for our planet and the future generations that will call it home.