How to save energy

safe energy

How to save energy

Saving energy and reducing fuel consumption has many benefits. Not only does reduced energy and fuel consumption save you money, it also saves valuable resources which can be depleted. Another advantage of saving energy is less impact on the environment and preserving valuable resources.

Reduce electricity consumption with these easy tips

  • Buy Energy Star qualified appliances, or A or B rated appliances and lights. These are the low energy using appliances.
  • Improve the insulation of your property, to make it cooler in summer and keep it warmer in winter. Les heating and cooling will be required which saves electricity
  • Turn off appliances and gadgets that are in stand by state.
  • Set air conditioner’s at a slightly higher temperature in summer and during the winter slightly lower. It will make a difference to your electricity bill
  • Use air conditioner only in the rooms occupied.
  • Use a fan instead of air conditioner, they sometimes give effective cooling for a lower electricity consumption.
  • Avoid opening the fridge door as much as possible
  • Turn off the light when you leave the room.
  • Decrease washing machine water temperature and use a shorter cycle, for most laundry it will still come out clean and fresh
  • Fill the washing machine / dryer / dishwasher before operation. Avoid small loads
  • Use energy saving features in the computer’s operating system control panel.
  • Hang the laundry to dry instead of using the dryer. In most places the laundry will dry quickly.
  • Install solar water heater system.
  • Reduce the water temperature of your geyser

Reduce fuel consumption with these easy tips.

  • When buying another car consider a smaller car with low fuel consumption
  • Avoid high acceleration / deceleration driving.
  • Avoid driving with high motor RPM. Switch gears to a higher one asap.
  • Don’t drive with unnecessary luggage or other items to reduce weight.
  • Close the windows to reduce drag
  • Avoid driving during traffic jams.
  • Avoid unnecessary trips. Rather wal or take public transport.
  • Keep tires with optimal air pressure. This will save energy as well as extending the life of your tires.
  • Keep your car well maintained.
  • Plan your trips so you can minimize the distance or avoid driving through cities with lost of stop starts. Maintaining a steady speed on a highway is normally low on fuel consumption.
  • Don’t be in a rush, a lower speed will make sure you arrive alive, but at a lower fuel consumption. Rather leave earlier.
  • Even if one implements a couple of these you will notice the difference. Just changing your habits can save a lot of money.

Electricity & Petrol Price Increases

April is going to see a double whammy increase. Eskom will raise the tariffs for electricity & Petrol prices are going up due to levies & the increase of the international oil price. This is going to affect consumers and the economy hard. The time of an abundance of cheap electricity is over.

What can be done to counteract the price increases?

With the average salary increase below the increase of petrol & electricity price increases, there are few options left. Either accept a decrease in living standards or change your lifestyle. Before we go there lets see if with a change in habits one can save money.

Reduce your electricity consumption.

Some things one can do to reduce your electricity usage.

  • Lower the temperature of your geyser. A geyser is one of the main contributing factors to an households electricity consumption.
  • Switch of geysers not in use (Guest Bathroom’s etc).
  • Insulate your geysers and hot water pipes.
  • Take short showers instead of a bath.
  • Replace your shower head with a low-flow water saving one.
  • Replace old incandescent light bulbs with newer energy efficient CFL’s or LED lights.
  • Switch of lights, disconnect appliances & devices when not in use. Some appliances & devices still consume a lot of electricity while on standby.
  • Do your laundry on a slightly lower temperature setting.
  • Weather permitting hang your washing out instead of using a tumble dryer.
  • Making only one cup of tea or coffee ? Then only boil water for one cup of coffee.
  • Replacing appliances or devices, check for the energy rating.
  • Use a microwave instead of an oven.
  • Only use your dishwasher when fully packed.
  • In the winter close curtains to contain the heat.
  • Fix dripping taps (especially the how water ones).
  • Swimming pool pumps also consume a large amount of power. Try to reduce the hours it is running. In winter it can even run less as algae growth is reduced.

As one can see there are many ways to reduce your electricity usage, thereby reducing your impact on the environment. With lower energy use it also becomes more cost effective to install renewable energy.

Cut down on your petrol usage.

Petrol can take a large chunk out of your budget and for many people it is a necessity to have and use a car, but their are still ways how one can save a bit.

  • Plan your journey. Try to concentrate your shopping to a certain area and try to finish your shopping to avoid unnecessary trips back to the shops.
  • Try to join a lift club either for the daily school run or going to work and back. Not only will it save on petrol, but it also helps to reduce wear & tear.
  • Have shops within walking distance? Decide to walk to the shops for a few items instead of driving.
  • If you can avoid peak hour traffic with lots of stop/start. Stopping & starting all the time wastes lots of petrol.
  • Keep to the speed limit.
  • Anticipate traffic conditions & traffic lights. Don’t race to the next red traffic light.
  • When replacing your car, consider a more fuel efficient (smaller) car.
  • Keep your car well maintained.

Following these tips not only will save fuel & maintenance cost, but also contribute to a saver road.

Load Shedding

Load Shedding is in full swing at the moment. It will be a fact that South Africans will have to live with & endure. Load Shedding will be here for many years. Load Shedding occurs when demand is greater than capacity to generate electricity. To avoid a total blackout of the power grid Eskom has to implement Load Shedding.

Load Shedding is implemented by switching of the power to certain areas for a certain time. There are several levels of Load Shedding. Load Shedding increases with the severity of the electricity demand & supply.

The following stages of Load Shedding are currently in place

  • Stage 1: Generation shortfall of up to 1 000 MW
  • Stage 2: Generation shortfall of up to 2 000 MW
  • Stage 3: Generation shortfall of up to 4 000 MW

How to reduce the effects of Load Shedding.

Load Shedding is an inconvenience to everybody in South Africa, from people to businesses. Some ways you can work around the effects are

  • Plan your schedule around publicized Load Shedding schedules.
  • Implement Renewable Energy Sources like Solar Power/Solar Heating or Wind Energy.
  • Use a generator (not environmental friendly, but for long periods of Load Shedding a viable but expensive option).
  • Start cooking and boiling water on LPG/Gas or a wood fire.
  • Have a battery/invert-er backup in place.

How to help Eskom by reducing your electricity consumption

One of the best ways to help Eskom & the rest of South Africa if everybody plays their part in reducing their electricity consumption. There are some quick and easy ways to accomplish this.

  • Switch off all equipment/lights which are not needed. (TV’s, Computers, Geysers Etc)
  • Increase the temperature of your air-conditioner or switch it off altogether.
  • Start preparing meals on a Gas stove or make a braai.
  • Change to energy efficient equipment & lights
  •  Become self sufficient by investing in renewable energy and get of the grid or become grid tied.

In periods like this we South Africans have to stand together to avoid a total blackout of our electricity supply which can take weeks to resolve.

Eskom declares power emergency

Unexpected problems at Eskom Power Stations have caused the electricity supply to be severely constrained

Eskom said in a statement it “is now following the protocol in terms of its emergency procedures in order to secure the power system.” It has alerted its key industrial customers and instructed them to reduce their power usage by 10%.

“While we will make every effort to avoid load shedding, we are hopeful that by applying these measures we will achieve the required load reduction necessary to protect the national grid.”

Save Electricity, Swicth Off

Eskom called on South Africans to urgently switch off all non-essential appliances from 5pm to 9pm. “As workers leave office buildings this evening we ask that they please switch off lights with the exception of the security lighting.”

It said the load shedding schedules are published as a “precautionary measure” and apply to its direct customers. The Eskom call centre can provide extra information at 0860 037 566.

If load shedding becomes necessary, it will only last while the supply is constrained, most probably between 17h00 and 21h00

Eskom Load Shedding

Eskom will publish load shedding schedules at the following site

Microsoft is going green

As part of an effort to become carbon neutral, Microsoft Corp. has entered a 20-year deal to buy power from a new wind farm in Texas, the first time the tech giant is directly purchasing electricity from a specific source.  Microsoft said it will buy all of the energy the wind farm generates from RES Americas’ 110-megawatt Keechi wind project, which is under development near Jacksboro, about 70 miles (113 km) northwest of Fort Worth. RES Americas is a unit of privately held, UK-based renewable energy developer RES Ltd.

Data Centres are power hungry and every effort to source this energy on a sustainable level should be encouraged.

Microsoft also is looking for ways to make data-storage systems and servers more efficient, to develop software and other products that could make “green” buildings more efficient and improve and expand a setup that allows servers to operate in warmer temperatures, giving some data centers the ability to use natural air and water for cooling instead of traditional, power-hungry air conditioning units, Janous said.

Save Electricity How To

Save electricity it is something we all should strive for. Saving electricity will not only cut down on our day to day expenses, it also will reduce carbon emission and thus save the environment. It is possible to save electricity without feeling the loss of daily comforts or downgrading your lifestyle. Saving electricity is in most cases an simple issue of changing bad habits into habits which save electricity.

Turn Down Your Geyser

Turn down your geyser’s temperature to 60˚C. This will save electricity. How much savings? In most cases depending on current temperature settings you can achieve up to 5% on your electrical bill. This might just help with the latest price increases.

Shower instead of a bath

Taking a shower instead of a hot bath can help you to save electricity. You can save up to 40% in water and use 5 times less electricity than taking a hot bath.

Install an energy-efficient showerhead

Now you have made the switch to a shower instead of a bath, the next thing to consider is your showerhead. An energy efficient showerhead is designed to use up to 40% less hot water and saves an average family about R480 or more on your electricity bill per year.

Insulate, Insulate, Insulate

Insulate times 3. Insulate your roof/ceiling, it will keep your house cooler in summer and warmer in winter reducing the need for heating or air conditioners. Insulating your ceiling can save up to 16% in electricity by minimising the workload of your airco and or heater.

Wrap your hot water pipes in insulation. It prevents heat loss, reducing the cost of electricity needed to keep water hot.

And lastly insulate your geyser with a geyser blanket. This slows heat loss, reducing the cost of electricity needed to keep water hot by R500 or more a year so your investment in a geyser blanket will pay itself of within the year.

Switch of and unplug

Flip that lightswitch when you leave a room for a longer time. Unplug any chargers not in use and unplug electrical appliances like televisions and dvd players which are on standby. Some older electrical appliances use as much energy on standby mode as on normal operating mode. So if you are at work the whole day why not unplug and save electricity.

Run your pool pump for shorter periods

An easy method to save electricity is to run your pool pump for fewer hours. At 12 hours a day as many people have it set, it can be about 12% of your electricity bill. Cutting down to 6 / 7 hours in summer and 4 / 5in winter will cut electricity usage by your pool pump in half.

Replace lights and appliances with energy efficient equivalents

Replace your old incandescent light bulbs with energy saving cfl’s or led’s now and start reaping the benefits immediately. Is your fridge or other electrical appliance nearing its end of life ? Make energy consumption part of your checklist when replacing.

Save electricity, it is easy todo

Hope you picked some ideas on how to save electricity and if you have any tips and hints yourself feel free to leave them in the comments section.

LED Lights

LED lights or light-emitting diode are becoming the most cost effective energy saving product on the market. Considering the small size of the initial investment the choice to go LED lights is easy.When converting your property to LED lighting instead of regular light bulb you save easy thousands of Rands on your annual electricity bill. Besides the financial savings of LED Lights, the environmental benefits of LED light bulbs are huge.

LED Lights benefits

LED lights seem to last forever. The common incandescent light bulbs only last about a thousand hours, and the compact fluorescent lights about 5,000 hours. LED lights can last for up to 100,000 hours. That’s a long time. Many maintenance free years, without changing a bulb. The main benefit of LEDs is that they use about a tenth of the electricity compared to an incandescent bulb because they produce almost no heat. A standard incandescent light bulb, in which only about three percent of the energy used is transformed into light, while the remaining 97% becomes heat.

Led Lights started to become common place as decorative lightning, but with the ever improving technology of LED lights and decreasing prices they are becoming more common place to light up many places in and outside a building.

So next time you need to replace lights in your house or office consider the use of LED Lights. When looking to replace decorative lighting or, long-lasting light for inside or outside, LED lights should be number one your list of options to investigate. It will be an investment well worth and will save you lots of money in the long run due to low running cost.

Solar Panels

Solar Panels can be divided into two different types. You have the Photovoltaic Solar Panels and then you have your Solar thermal collector. Both use the energy from the sun and convert it to power or hot water.

Photovoltaic solar panels & solar thermal collectors can be used independently of each other or in combination. They both serve a different purpose.

Photovoltaic solar panels.

Photovoltaic solar panels collect light from the sun and converts this light into usable electricity. These solar panels can be connected to a battery system to store electricity for use when the sun is not shining. You can have grid tied systems which means you are still connected to the main electricity grid. Off grid systems are stand alone systems where one is not connected to the main electricity grid to have uninterrupted power a battery backup system is required.

Solar thermal collectors.

Solar thermal collectors convert the solar energy received from the sun into hot water or hot air. These solar panels are commonly used in South Africa for heating pools, heating water for use in showers and baths. Considering hot water requirements for a modern household are a major contributor to electricity bills. Investing in solar thermal collectors is a worthwhile investment which should pay for itself. They are also a great solution for the many areas in South Africa which have not been electrified. It will provide cheap hot water for our daily needs.

Solar thermal collectors are more commonly installed than Photovoltaic solar panels due to the technology being simpler and more affordable. If electricity keep rising then we might see more installations of photovoltaic solar panels.

Solar Pool Heating

Solar pool heating is an affordable way to heat your pool to a comfortable temperature for a once of investment in Pool Solar Panels. After the initial investment there are basically no running cost to heat your Pool. Solar Panels for solar pool heating can be installed quickly by the professionals or you might opt for the DIY route. Either way solar panels for pool heating are an affordable investment which is going to give you years of swimming pleasure.

Some advantages of a solar pool heating are

  • You can extend your swimming season with a few months.
  • No running cost once installed. It uses the free energy from the sun
  • Environmentally friendly as it uses the sun to heat the pool.
  • Solar pool heating is maintenance free.
  • Solar Pool Heating is an investment and increases property value

The only requirement is that you run your pump during the day while the sun is shining instead of during the night. As you have to run your pump/filter in any case to keep your pool clean there should be no extra cost at all for a free heated swimming pool.

Combine the solar pool heating with a solar blankets, solar blankets also known as thermal blankets will stop heat loss from the pool at night. Another benefit of solar blankets is reduced loss of chemicals and a cleaner pool.

In conclusion invest in solar panels to enjoy your warm pool more and for a longer period at no running costs courtesy of the free energy provided by the sun.

Now if only the pool could maintain itself.

CFL lights vs Incandescent lights

By buying CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights) instead of traditional Incandescent Light Bulbs you will save electricity. Using Compact Fluorescent Lights reduces electricity usage use which equals to saved natural resources like coal, oil and gas. Less usage of fossils fuels reduces greenhouse gasses which will slow down global warming. Another benefit of changing to CFL for your lighting needs is financially. It will save you money over time.

Advantages of CFL

  • Reduced Electricity Consumption
  • Longer lifespan than Incandescent Light Bulbs.

Disadvantages of CFL

  • Higher purchase price
  • They contain mercury which needs to be disposed of in an environmentally process

Running cost compared between CFL and Incandescent Light Bulbs

CFL LightIncandescent
Price Kwh80 cent80 cent
Yearly priceR 46.72R 233.60

Compared to incandescent light bulbs Compact Fluorescent Lights have a much lower running cost. The higher purchase price of CFL’s is quickly offset by their lower running cost. So it makes sense or cents to replace your old incandescent light bulbs with new CFL of a lower wattage. Under normal circumstances your CFL should last about 5 times longer as the old incandescent light bulbs. This alone already offsets the higher purchase price. Another advantage is you have to replace your CFL’s less often which means saving time.

In conclusion, you should replace your old incandescent light bulbs as soon as possible. The only real disadvantage of a a CFL is the tiny amount of mercury left behind. There are many shops nowadays who provide a free collection point for CFL so they can be recycled and disposed of in a responsible and environmentally friendly way. So don’t delay and start saving money now and save the earth from global warming. Replace your old technology with new.

In certain countries you are not even able to buy incandescent light bulbs or they are restricted to a low wattage.

CFL lights vs Incandescent lights

incandescent light bulb