With electricity bill increases sky-rocketing every year in South Africa, it has never been more important to make your home energy efficient. In the last three years alone, electricity costs have gone up by 25%. Not only are the rates incredibly high, but with the current COVID-19 regulations and personal preventative measures – something that will not change anytime soon – more and more of us are working from home. Meaning that no longer are companies covering the electricity bill for our working hours, now we do so ourselves.
Electricity usage in South African homes has increased by a whopping 22%. Air-cons, coffeemakers, ovens, lighting, and microwaves are being used at home during working hours and nobody is ready for that bill. By taking some efficiency promoting and sustainability measures, you can curb the ever-mounting utility costs. Let’s look at 7 ways to make your home more energy-efficient and sustainable:
1. REPLACE YOUR LIGHTBULBS
Exchanging your old lightbulbs for the more efficient LED lightbulbs available is an easy and inexpensive way to save on your electricity usage. LED lightbulbs use 90% less electricity than their predecessors.
2. USE ENERGY EFFICIENT APPLIANCES
Investing in energy STAR-rated appliances and electronics ensures you purchase the most power-efficient version, using the least amount of electricity. Appliances have to meet strict regulations to be awarded a prestigious energy STAR label.
3. INSULATE YOUR HOME
You can save up to 16% on your bill by properly insulating your home. A professional should do this to make sure you enjoy the full benefits. Insulating your home is an effective way of controlling the temperature, making heaters and air-cons (huge energy users) unnecessary.
4. USE APPLIANCES OPTIMALLY
Using your appliances efficiently will help cut costs and lessen your carbon footprint dramatically. Don’t set your refrigerator temperature colder than necessary. The fridge should be set between 2°C and 5°C and your freezer between -20°C and – 22°C. Only run full loads in both your washing machine and dishwasher, using cold water for your washing. Switching off your appliances at the wall when not in use will save you an extra 6% on your utility bill.
5. SET YOUR POOL PUMP
Your pool pump does not have to be running all day. Cut your electricity usage significantly by running your pump for 6 hours in the summer and 4 hours in the winter. This is more than sufficient to keep your pool sparkly clean.
6. MANAGE YOUR GEYSER
A geyser is one of the biggest – if not THE biggest – energy users in every home. Switching your geyser off when not in use or when you go on holiday will make a remarkable difference in your energy usage. This combined with the use of a geyser blanket makes a massive impact on usage and cost. The most significant and beneficial result you will get is by installing a solar geyser. We strongly recommend that this should not be done without the help of a professional. Going solar would mean never paying for your geyser usage again and having sustainable energy.
7. GOING SOLAR
Going solar is the way forward in sustainable and green energy. In South Africa, we are blessed with the sun on our faces. Using solar energy is extremely efficient in the regard that we can generate clean energy directly from the sun. Going solar would mean an initial cost up-front, but once that is settled you will have free, renewable, and clean energy for the rest of your life. It is estimated that the system pays itself off in about 3 to 4 years. Load-shedding and exorbitant rate increases will be a thing of the past.
In South Africa, you can sell your excess solar energy back to the government for what we call a feed-in tariff, which can shorten your pay-back time on your initial cost. With electricity tariffs having increased by 300% in the last decade, the cost of going solar being reduced by 90% since 2000, and the increase of your property value when installing a solar-powered system, it just does not make financial sense not to go this route.
Not only will going solar save you money, but it would lessen your carbon footprint as well, which leads to a massive impact on sustainability and climate change.
We recommend you consult with an expert in solar systems and get it installed by a professional to avoid costly mistakes.
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