A greener winter


A greener winter

By Jacques Erasmus

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More and more we hear about the ‘green’ concept. With the amount of hype generated by the fact of global warming, energy saving has become more than just another short lived trend, it is now a part of our everyday life. In fact this has become a necessity. If you take into consideration that electricity costs has risen 133% in the last five years, we must accept the fact that it is time to tighten the belt on expenditure.

During wintertime, energy consumption rises as we all switch on the heaters, under floor heating and electric blankets. Here are some tips on how to save energy in and around your property this winter.

Firstly you have to determine the difference between the many myths that are out there. There are many methods of saving energy that are propagated by others, even by government. Here are some tips and advice in saving electricity.

Washing dishes by hand uses less energy than running an electric dishwasher

The amount of energy that modern day dish washers save is immense but you have to use your dishwasher efficiently. Most modern dishwashers do not need pre-rinsing, and plenty of them have an energy saving function whereby it switches off the heat during the drying cycle. Leave your dishwasher open after cleaning to air dry as this also helps to save energy. 

Leaving a light on uses less energy than turning it off and on again

There has been a lot of speculation about the amount of energy that a light uses to start up vs the amount it uses by leaving it on. –The truth is that the energy used to start up a light bulb is minuscule and it is only a few joules more than what a running bulb uses. However, during winter it always a good idea to switch off as many lights as possible whilst using your heater to help with the electricity consumption.

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Switching off the geyser

These days there are many different products which are specially developed to save energy. One of these items is a timer for your geyser.  A timer can save you up to 45% on your electricity bill by switching your geyser on and off according to your pre-set times. This means that you can set it to switch on an hour before you will use warm water, and switch off again once you are finished. Also remember that taking a shower saves a lot more water than taking a bath. If you fill a regular bath with 12 cm of hot water you have already consumed half the water in a 3000 watt geyser. So don’t be wasteful and rather take a shower. 

Insulation

In certain parts of South Africa the heating of rooms is one of the largest sources of electricity consumption in a home during winter. Improving insulation is a necessity when it comes to saving. Heaters consume vast amounts of electricity, and with the correct insulation, you will find that it is mostly unnecessary to even have a heater on. For a start you can insulate the ceiling of your home. As much as 50% of a home’s heat is lost through the ceiling, so you can see why insulating your ceiling will save on costs in the long run.

When buying a new home, aim for a more energy efficient home. Check the heating and stove of the home, does it use gas or electricity? Running gas is a lot cheaper than running electricity. Look at the lighting of the house – see if the house uses energy efficient lighting. These days energy efficient lighting is more common than your regular lights, but in older homes you will have to check what types were installed.

It is imperative that everyone start contributing to the ‘green’ concept. Even if you do not believe in this, the amount of money that you can save on you electricity bill is enormous. You can start now with these tips and save up to half of your electricity bill by next month. Seeing that electricity prices will inevitably keep increasing over the years, it is definitely a good time to start saving.  

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