Home efficiency - Consider solar power
When you read the following tips on home efficiency, always remember it's every drop that counts.
One thing everybody should understand about making their home more energy efficient, is that it's a process. These are small changes you can make that work toward a bigger goal. But only implementing one or two new elements and expecting substantial results, will lead to a very discouraging place. Whereas a bunch of small changes are going to add up and leave you with a very positive outlook. When you read the following tips on home efficiency, always remember it's every drop that counts.
Change the Bulbs
Most people start their energy efficient transformation by first replacing the bulbs in and around the house. All the conventional incandescent lights are switched with LED or fluorescent bulbs, which don't use half as much energy. Even though it's not going to make the biggest dent in your electricity bill, consider the big difference in energy usage. Where a conventional bulb draws anything between 60 and 100 watts, LED and fluorescent alternatives only draw about 12 to 15 watts.
Insulating the walls and roof is considered a long-term solution for temperature control. It keeps the house cool during summer, and prevents heat from escaping during winter. If insulating the walls proves a little bit too difficult, there are several insulating techniques you can use, such as weather stripping. The more you can insulate your home the better. Think of it as a natural way of maintaining a comfortable temperature. While you're at it, consider insulating the water pipes and help the geyser stay warm with a thermal blanket.
Look at the Windows
Believe it or not, the windows play an important role in a home's overall energy efficiency. For example, single pane windows and aluminum frames are not helping your situation. But a double pane window and a vinyl frame on the other hand, that is a step in the right direction. If you're serious about turning your home into a place that uses energy wisely, investing in some new windows and frames is a must.
Consider Solar Power
There is one thing you can use that could make a substantial difference, namely solar power. It's the age of renewable energy, and what better way to turn your home into an energy friendly zone? Consider for a moment installing a retro-fit solar geyser kit. While still using your tank, you can just install a solar panel to take over the responsibility of heating the water. If you're in charge of paying the electric bill, you'll know how much energy goes to water heating.
You can even take it step further and get yourself an Ecoboxx (solaradvice.co.za). It's an all-in-one power station that can be moved wherever you need it. It comes with two panels that charge the station during the day, and there are two 220v sockets with an output of 1500 watts. Whether it's for emergencies or appliances, the Ecoboxx is more than just a little handy.
Switch to Energy Efficient Appliances
This might be a little expensive, but nobody is forcing you to replace all the appliances that consume too much energy overnight. Instead, when you shop for your next appliance, pay attention to the energy efficiency level or look for the Energy Star logo. Manufacturers that boast with energy efficient products won't mind adding an energy label. If the label's not there, it's probably not very energy efficient.
Install Low-Flow Showerheads and Toilet Mechanisms
It's staggering to think how much water is wasted through the toilet and shower. In fact, about 40% of water usage goes only to the toilet. And where a low-flow showerhead uses around 6lt of water per minute, a conventional showerhead uses around 18lt. By installing low-flow alternatives, you'll be making a dramatic difference in terms of saving hot water and conserving valuable water.
Simply Start Cutting Back and Switching Off
What about changing your lifestyle? You can still do all these things mentioned above, but don't overlook the bad habits we maintain. A good example is leaving the phone charger plugged in while nothing is charging. Or what about appliances with digital displays?
Even when these appliances aren't being used, they are drawing energy. As mentioned in the introduction, it's a bunch of small changes that will ultimately make the big difference. Learning to unplug appliances and use heaters only when blankets aren't enough, or even installing a geyser timer and using hot water at scheduled times, are things that will help you reach an energy efficient level.