Where to Start
Many of us want to go green, but we don’t always know where to start. Any journey begins with knowing your starting point and your destination. So first get a better understanding of what you’re using. Set goals and then take action – with help from the guidelines below.
Evaluate your consumption
The Ngewana family analysed their utility costs and did an eco-audit at home. Over the past year, they’ve used an average of 740 kWh of electricity per month and they’re using about 45 kl of water per month. Meters have been installed to track detailed electricity use and water. They produce 15kg of waste a week on average. They worked out that their annual electricity kWh per m² of home space is: 41 kWh/m²/year. (8880 kWh for the past year, divided by 218 m² house size). Each of them use an average of 2220 kWh per year. How does your home compare? More or less efficient?
To see exactly how much they’re using right now, see the Ngewanas’ real time Electricity and Water Usage Dashboard
Investigate your own consumption levels, and as they say, ‘measure to manage’. If you want to save the most, figure out where you use the most and tackle the biggest cost drivers first.
Do you ‘know your number”? Look out for the weekly lucky draw which will start on Monday 12th May 2014, which includes sending in your kWh/m²/year number.
- Understand your utility costs with our handy guide.
- What is a kilowatt hour and how many do my appliances use? Find out with Eskom’s Guide to Appliance Energy Usage.
- Evaluate your household energy consumption by conducting an eco-audit at home.
- What is your home’s kilowatt usage per year? Find out how to calculate your home’s annual number in kWh/m² .
- How do your appliances measure up? Calculate their individual operating costs with Eskom’s Energy Calculator.
- Conduct a quick and easy energy audit of your home with Eskom’s Comprehensive Energy Audit Calculator
- Start living sustainably with the help of The City of Cape Town’s ‘Smart Living Handbook‘
- Eskom’s tips on managing your home’s energy consumption
- The 49M Campaign spreads the light on countrywide power saving.
- The City of Cape Town offers practical advice on how to to save electricity, including Top Ten Ways to Save in your home.
- Check out eThekwini Municipality’s Shisa Solar progamme and equip your home with a solar water heater today.
Set your goals
The Ngewana family aimed to save 15% with no-cost changes, and 40% with efficient equipment by July, and to drop consumption into a lower tariff category (less than 600 kWh per month, or 15 kWh per day). They targetrf 20 % water reduction, recycling 75% of their waste, and at least 50% of their cleaning products being ‘eco-friendly’.
Follow to see if they achieved their goals.
Set your own goals, with your family size and unique home set-up in mind. How far do you want to go?
No CostChange your habits only and save at least 10%.
Low CostBuy products worth up to about R1000 (installed cost), which can typically lift savings up to about 30%.
Invest to saveFor maximum savings of 50% or more, add ‘highest impact’ interventions which cost more than R1000.
What can you do?
The Ngewana family started by actively learning more about energy efficiency and ‘going green’. First they developed efficient habits that don’t cost a cent. Then they were the lucky recipients of a major ‘retrofit’ upgrade of their home. When the house was as efficient as possible, solar photovoltaic panels were installed to generate renewable electricity, supplying some of their needs.
HOW CAN I START SAVING NOW?
You can get going with the below range of actions to start greening and saving now! These are the few things which will have the biggest saving impact. They’re classified according to cost, and key ‘saving areas’. Do what you can afford now, and use the savings to invest in achieving more. For maximum savings, the truth is that you’ll need to invest in equipment. It’s a wise decision – for lowering expenses, increasing the value of your home and for leaving the Earth in a better state for future generations too. Track your progress as you go, and share your journey – with us and others.
BE A PART OF THE JOURNEY
Comment on this website, and share My Green Home with your family, friends, colleagues and network.
- No Cost
- Low Cost
- Invest to Save
Turn your geyser down to 55° - 60°
Take a shorter shower
Switch off the geyser when you go away
Install a low-flow shower head
Connect a timer to your geyser
Keep your geyser and pipes snugly insulated
Install a solar water heater
Or a heat pump water heater
Switch your family on to switching off
Let the sun shine in
When choosing interior paint, lighten up
Replace your bulbs with LEDs
Conserve cash with CFLs
Stay secure with motion-sensor lights outside
Put light where you need it
Renovate to be LED-friendly
Let the sky light dark rooms
Heating and Cooling
Put your windows to work
Dress for winter success
Give your air conditioner a winter job
Put heat where you need it
Dodge the draft
Give your fireplace a window
Protect your home with adequate insulation
Save in summer and winter with ceiling fans
Allow summer’s heat an escape route
Keep your clothes out of hot water
Reduce the ironing pile
Wait for the sun, don’t tumble dry
Cook without using the oven
Try the coolest stove – an induction cooker
Add a rainy-day drying rack
Keep cooking with the stove off
Choose an efficient fridge that makes the grade
Install a dual-flush toilet
Buy a washing machine with a cool wash attitude
Waste & Toxins
Reduce, reuse and recycle – in the right order
Help the recyclers by separating your waste
Keep toxics out of your cupboards
Get clean without antibacterial soaps
Keep your biodegradables in the biosystem
Use microfiber instead of chemicals for cleaning
Go natural with pest control
Buy quality and keep it
Upgrade your tap water
Outdoors & Transport
Don’t work the pool pump overtime
Get on your bike and ride (or walk)
Use public transport and save
Indigenize your garden
Grow your own food
Buy a variable-speed pool pump
Make your next car CO2-tax-free
Cover your pool
Generate your own sun power