By Green24, photo istock
Here are some simple room-by-room tips that will save you energy and curb your cost of living and household bills. Being environmentally conscious and reducing your carbon footprint can save you money.
It’s tempting to use your aircon when the weather gets too much for you to handle, but this can account for up to 50% of your electricity bill. This is especially true in winter when all you want to do is turn the heat up. Bio-fuel fireplaces are an alternative option to keep you cosy, but also consider the following:
Examine your doors, windows and ceilings. Heat escapes through the ceilings and gaps at windows and doors, so make sure you are draught-proof as much as possible:
A decorative stuffed dachshund at the front door works a charm, but if it doesn’t complement your interior, adjust the strike plate on the door.
Fill in cracks in window frames and doors with insulation strips. Insulation material like Isotherm can reduce heat loss through your roof by 87%, and will pay for itself in less than three years. SAVING: 30% on your electricity bill.
It may sounds obvious, but turn off the lights when you leave a room – they guzzle energy. SAVING: R6,70 per room per month.
Replace incandescent globes with energy efficient ones that last six to eight times longer. SAVING: 80% on your lighting costs.
A cost comparison of obtaining 100kW of heat over 24 hours showed that a gas heater would cost R140, an electric heater R55 and a wood-burning fireplace just R30.
To heat a 20m² room with under-floor heating costs about 40c per hour over a 24-hour period. Rather install under-floor heating with a programmable thermostat that lowers the temperature to 16° or 17°C during the day and again late at night when you’re in bed.
SAVING: A few R100 per month. (Saving is difficult to quantify as it depends on various factors.)
Don’t fill up your kettle – rather just boil the amount of water that you need. SAVING: 1,6c per minute.
Stop using the hot-water setting on your washing machine. SAVING: 50c per load.
It costs R1,50 per hour to tumble-dry laundry. It’s just not worth it…
Although more energy-efficient than washing by hand, half loads in dishwashers waste electricity and water. Rather wash a full load every second day, instead of half loads daily. SAVING: R21 per month.
Big appliances cost more to run than small ones, so plan ahead. Once your lunchtime toasted cheese is done, for instance, use the residual heat of the oven to cook tonight’s butternut. SAVING: 65c per hour.
Gas Geysers give you hot water on demand – but gas doesn’t come cheap. A system for an average home consumes about 1,5kg of gas at R20/kg per hour. So if used for half-an-hour every day, your hot water would cost R450 per month.
Electric Geysers are the biggest energy guzzlers in most households as they keep water hot all day. However if used wisely, an electric geyser is still cheaper than gas, provided you:
Install a geyser blanket and insulate at least the first 1.5m of pipes. SAVE: R26 per month. Turn down the geyser temperature to 60°C. SAVE: R11,50 per month. Turn on the geyser for only two hours per day. SAVE: R57 per month. Showering is cheaper than bathing, especially if you install low-flow shower heads that use 9 litres of water per minute. An average bath (50 litres of water) costs about R1,50, whereas a three-minute shower (27 litres) costs about 80 cents. SAVING: A family of four saves R84 per month.
Electric blankets cost 5 cents per hour compared with the R1 per hour of a 2kW heater. SAVING: 95c per hour.
When left on standby, computers and printers continue to consume electricity. The same goes for cellphone chargers, televisions and hi-fis. The savings we make by turning these appliances off completely will add up to a big saving on our national grid. Change the setting on your computer so it switches to power-save mode sooner.
The savings quoted are estimates only and will vary according to lifestyle factors. Our calculations are based on an electricity price of 50c per kilowatt hour.
Calculating your own energy spending: Check appliances for the number of watts or kilowatts (kW) they use and the cost of electricity in your region. Multiply the number of kW by the price of a unit of electricity. For example, the cost of using a tumble dryer that uses 3kW an hour would be: 3kW x 50c = R1,50