by Barry Bredenkamp, SANEDI (South African National Energy Development Institute) –
South Africans can keep warmer, save money, and take pressure off the national grid by implementing simple low-cost energy saving measures.
While South Africa has passed the winter equinox, meaning our days are getting longer again, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are getting warmer just yet. In fact, we can still expect several cold fronts to come knocking, with some of the country’s coldest days expected in July and August.
Through a few simple adjustments, South Africans will be amazed with the energy savings they can achieve. Not only will this save them money on their electricity bills, it will also lift some demand off our strained grid.
Here are three top tips to improve the energy efficiency of your household this winter:
- Modify your heating habits
Changing the way that you heat your house can be a big energy saver. Something many people don’t realise is that you can switch the rotation on your ceiling fan to push hot air back down to ground level. In addition, decide how you can optimise use of your space heater. Instead of trying to heat your entire house, rather heat the main living space. If you have an electric blanket, use that instead of a bedroom heater and turn it off once you are warm. And very importantly, rather dress warmer, to reduce the heating requirement from energy-consuming technologies.
- Use energy saving technology
Swapping out your lightbulbs and heaters with energy-saving versions may require some initial investment, but this will pay off in the long run. Check the wattage of your current electric heater; if its older, you might be surprised with how much power it needs. Newer heaters are designed to be more efficient so if you like to keep your heater on all day, changing your heater may see your electricity bill come down. While you’re at it, consider swapping out your lightbulbs. Although this isn’t winter-specific, it’s never a bad time to switch to LED bulbs which use 75% less energy than traditional incandescent globes.
- Optimise your home
It’s well worth checking your home for areas that can be improved, when it comes to keeping warm. Check your ceiling insulation, make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed, and consider weather-proofing your windows – especially if you live in a winter rainfall area. During the winter, up to 30% of your home’s heat can be escaping through low-efficiency windows. A simple layer of clear plastic film on your windows can save you up to 14% on your heating costs.
For more information, go to www.sanedi.org.za.