How to save on energy costs

Saving Energy and Electricity

How to save on energy costs

Energy / Electricity costs keep on going up and are a large chunk of a family’s income. By using energy wisely money and the environment can be saved.

Reduce your hot water energy costs

With a few simple steps you can reduce your energy consumption for your bath/shower and even coffee or tea.

  • Lower the temperature to between 55 ° C to 60 ° C.
  • Make sure all hot water pipes are insulated to reduce heat loss.
  • Get solar heating or a heatpump.
  • Only boil enough water for the amount of tea or coffee.
  • Washing your hands with cold water and soap is as effective as using hot water.
  • Wash your clothes at a lower temperature.

Many people wast unnecessary energy and with that money on lights, while with a little investment and behavior change a lot of energy can be saved.

  • If you are not in a room, switch of the lights.
  • Use compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or Led lights instead of ordinary bulbs. In many countries incandescent or ordinary bulbs are now outlawed.
  • In the colder winter months heating cost increase, but with a few simple steps one can minimize energy consumption.

    • Use the correct heater for the requirements. For example infrared heaters don’t heat up the room, but transfer heat directly to a person body. They are ideal to use in for example a bathroom.
    • Choose a heater with a thermostat , so the heater switches of when the desired temperature is reached.
    • Dress warmly.
    • Insulate your house and seal gaps, to stop heat loss.

    Dishwashers and Washing machines are more efficient and save energy compared to washing by hand.

    • Fill the dishwasher completely, it will use the same amount of water and electricity as a half full dishwasher.
    • Use a lower temperature, in most cases your dishes will come out as clean.
    • When buying a new dishwasher or washing machine check for the energy rating and buy the appliance with the highest energy rating.
    • A front loader washing machine is more energy efficient then a top loader.
    • Make sure you have a full load before washing.
    • Try washing with a shorter cycle.

    Now with all the money saved, why not invest it in Renewable Energy for your home and save even more in the future.

Countries close to achieving 100% renewable energy

With advances and investments in renewable energy made every day, some countries have become almost non reliant on fossil fuels (except cars, planes etc).

Costa Rica

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said that around 98.1 per cent of the country’s electricity came from green sources. consisting of a combination of geothermal, hydro electric, wind turbines, solar panels and biomass.

Iceland

Due to Iceland’s geology they can cover most if not all their energy needs from Renewable Sources. Almost 100 percent of electricity production is covered by Renewable Energy, with about 75 percent coming from hydro power and 25 percent from geothermal power. Geothermal power is also used for heating homes and buildings

Bonaire

Bonaire is a small country of the Venezuelan coast. It used to rely on diesel generators to provide electricity to its population and tourist. That all changed in 2004 when their main diesel generator burned down. The country now is now almost achieving 100% renewable energy. In peak times wind energy can provide 90% of the electricity needs of the small Island, they are backed up by Biodiesel Generators. The biodiesel. They plan to produce biodiesel from the abundance of algae.

Lesotho

The small mountainous country which is enclosed by South Africa achieves close to 100% of their electricity requirements through the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. This project was established to provide water to South Africa, with the added benefit to cover almost all of Lesotho’s electricity needs.

Paraguay

Paraquay has one of the world’s largest dams (Itaipu dam), Which provides almost 90% of Paraguay’s electricity and about 20% of Brazil’s electricity requirements.

With future developments and decreasing prices, we will see more countries improving their percentage of renewable energy. Countries like Germany, Denmark and Spain are investing heavily in Renewable Energy

Recycle and Save Energy

I recently got asked does recycling save energy? After researching the subject I came to the conclusion that recycling can substantial reduce the amount of energy we use amongst other benefits.

Why does recycling save energy?

Extracting and Refining Natural resources like Iron ore, Bauxite etc is labour intensive and requires lots of energy in the form of extracting, transporting and refining. Through the use of recycled material, many of the processes can be eliminated and gives a jump start in the production of the same or similar products.

Aluminium is a good example, the extraction of aluminium from bauxite has huge energy requirements. Aluminium can’s don’t have to go through the same process.

How much energy can be saved through recycling?

How much energy can be saved through recycling depends on the material being recycled, and how often it can be recycled. Certain materials like aluminium, glass and iron can be recycled over and over again. Plastics normally have been downgraded to lower quality plastic products as they degraded every time they got recycled, but technical improvements now enables manufacturers to create new high quality plastic products.

Aluminium

Recycling aluminium is the best example of saving energy. With the amount of energy used to make one aluminium can from scratch (starting with the mining of bauxite) 20 recycled aluminum can’s can be produced. So next time when you toss that aluminium can think twice and recycle.

Glass

Recycling glass does save substantial amounts of energy. If you want to find out more use the calculator found on the website of The Glass Recycling Company.

If you recycle 5 glass containers a week, you can power for example a computer for over 3 days. Now imagine this saving if everyone recycles there glass containers/bottles.

More energy can be saved by reusing bottles through a deposit system. Initially they will be more expensive to produce (they tend to be thicker and heavier so they will require more glass and higher transport cost, but in the long run they should save energy.

Paper

Creating new paper from recycled paper can save up to 60% percent of energy. Although through contamination (ink etc) it is difficult or impossible to make high quality bright white paper. Often recycles paper is downgraded to carton or newspapers.

Other benefits of recycling.

Besides the saving of energy, recycling has other benefits as well. We need less natural resources, produce less pollution and the recycled product will be cheaper.

Cutting Down On Energy Usage

Cutting down on energy usage is one of the best and economical action we can take. You can cut down on energy through insulating your home or purchasing energy efficiency appliances. decreasing our energy needs, not only saves costs, but minimizes the environmental impact.

Although the usage and generation of cleaner and renewable energy is growing, reducing power usage is still the first en most economical choice.

By saving energy, we are not only saving money, but we also reduce our dependence on fossil fuels like natural gas, oil and coal. The reduction of fossil fuels means lesser emissions greenhouse gasses, one of the major factors of global warming.

Energy saving ideas at home

Energy saving should start at home, one of the benefits is lower utility bills. Making your house more energy efficient not only saves money, but can improve the comfort of your living environment as well.

Some ways to reduce energy requirements are, insulation of your roof, walls and geyser can drastically reduce the energy consumption of heating and cooling your home.

Also consider replacing your old inefficient appliances for appliances with an A or B rating according to the South African Rating Standard. The South African Energy efficiency rating is measured from A to G with A being the most energy efficient.

Money saved due to energy saving can be utilized by investing in renewable energy sources.

Biogas as an energy source

Biogas as an energy source, many people would never consider this as a viable & renewable energy source.

Biogas can be used in many different ways. Cooking, Heating, Lighting, and powering generators and turbines those are all choices to use this source of energy.

Biogas typically refers to a mixture of different gases produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Biogas can be produced from raw materials such as agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste or food waste. Biogas consist of Methane (CH4) & Carbon Dioxide(CO2).

Biogas as a fuel is used for any heating purpose, such as cooking. It is also used to convert it into electricity and heat. Other uses are as fuels for cars and machinery. The use of biogas can help farmers to drive down their input cost by generating their own energy.

Biogas is a clean and renewable form of energy which produces less greenhouse gases than conventional energy sources (coal,oil).

Any organic material is suitable to make biogas, Killing two birds in one, it can assist in the disposal of agricultural waste and organic materials in landfills naturally produce biogas, which can be tapped..

The remaining liquid organic waste (which is left after the production of Biogas) can be used as a fertiliser for crops, which makes the cycle continue and repeat itself.

So who thought that cow manure, rotting plants and landfills can be used to generate energy.

Non renewable energy sources.

We have written a lot about renewable energy sources, but the world is still mainly powered by non renewable energy sources. The first problem with non renewable energy sources are not only that once they are depleted they are no more (although proven reserves of non renewable energy sources indicates that there is still more of it then the world can consume for a very long time, hence the current oversupply of oil.).

The second problem is that although there are plenty of known reserves some of them are costly to access, which can turn into a positive if renewable energy becomes cheaper as non renewable energy.

The third problem is environmental, the extraction of fossil fuels can damage the surrounding environment including, water pollution and extraction of water. When burning fossil fuels it can have an affect on the health of nearby populations and it is a major contributor to global warming. The main disadvantage for nuclear fuel is radio active waste, which needs to be managed very well. A major incident with a nuclear reactor can have negative effects for a wide area.

The economic cost of non renewable energy, might not be around currently, but future generations might suffer the consequences.

Some non renewable energy sources are

  • Coal
  • Oil
  • Natural Gas
  • Uranium, used for nuclear energy

Surprisingly a lot of people consider wood a non renewable resource, but most plantations are managed well and are replenished at a sufficient rate so that it is considered as a renewable and sustainable source of energy.

Renewable Energy benefits seen at R4bn in 2015

South Africa saved R4 billion ($310 million) in fuel and by avoiding blackouts in the first half of 2015 due to renewable-energy projects, according to a study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
From January to June, 800 megawatts of wind and 1 gigawatt of solar photovoltaic power-generation saved about R3.6 billion in diesel and coal-fuel costs, according to the Pretoria-based center. During 15 days in the period, renewables either prevented or limited rolling blackouts, the study showed.

South Africa’s state-owned power company Eskom has imposed rolling blackouts almost every other day this year as it struggles to meet demand. The government’s five-round program of clean-energy tenders has awarded more than 5 000 megawatts of projects since 2011.

Source: http://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/renewable-benefits-seen-at-r4bn-in-2015/

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.

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.

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