5 Ways to Cut Energy Costs and Save Money

With the country plunged into energy crisis mode, and the month of May being set aside as National Energy Month, here is an article looking at 5 energy-saving tips to help people live more sustainably.






With May being celebrated as National Energy Month in South Africa, there are many ways in which we can cut down on energy guzzlers in our homes and lives.

Here are five practical ways to save money and energy, and live more sustainably:


Cut down on food waste





One of the biggest contributors to food waste is overbuying. It has long been said that shopping on a hungry tummy increases the chances of adding unnecessary items to the trolley. “Simple tips to counteract this include writing out what the next week’s menu might include for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” says Head Chef at Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Norman Heath.

When you already have an idea of what you might eat, you’re more likely to stick to it. “Select an evening each week to plan your menu for the following week and use this to create a grocery list. This menu planning will also help to curb ordering takeaways when food is already in the fridge waiting to be prepared. Aim to use dinner leftovers for lunch the next day and use this food method to become a food hero in no time,” he ends.







Opt for slow fashion





Instead of buying a lot of throwaway jewellery, rather buy environmentally friendly jewellery that will also allow you to support a variety of charitable causes to help support those in need of help. Slow fashion is more environmentally sustainable than mass produced fashion.

Brand consultant at Relate Bracelets, Dalit Shekel says, “The manufacturing process is important and as the consumer, you either empower slow or mass produced fashion with each purchase. Where we can, we use environmentally sustainable material, and all our beads are made from glass and not plastic. Equally as important, by getting yourself any of these bracelets you’d be supporting seniors in the township that make the bracelets, as well as variety of causes including wildlife conservation, quality education in areas where there is a need, supporting better quality healthcare causes and availing clean water to communities without drinkable water, for instance.”



Create an energy-savvy home





Living more sustainably has become increasingly important as we navigate a world where the effects of climate change, and energy insecurity, are becoming more apparent. Carl Coetzee, CEO of BetterBond, suggests a few ways in which you could create an energy-savvy home.

Reduce heating and cooling costs through insulation. There are various ways of improving insulation, including the fairly simple measures like insulating ceilings, double glazing windows and retractable shutters, he advises.

“Choosing more sustainable lighting options could also cut your energy consumption and reduce your electricity bills considerably. LED bulbs use about 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs and last much longer. You could also consider installing skylights that let in natural light and reduce the need for other light sources during daylight hours,” he says.
Smart tech could help your home function more efficiently. Tools like smartphone apps that let you control plugs, lightbulbs and geyser thermostats remotely, can help you maximise energy efficiency, lower consumption and cut costs. Leak sensors are a great way to be water smart – put them in place like your geyser drip tray, under basins and washing machines, behind toilets and next to pool pumps, to detect water leaks as soon as they occur.







Drive smartly





With the price of fuel on the rise, adjusting your driving habits is a smart cost-saving switch to make. According to Keletso Mpisane, Head of MiWay Blink, planning your daily driving can help to cut down on monthly fuel costs. “On weekends, for example, many of us pop out to the shops, then again to run an errand, go to gym, and then to see friends or family. Try coordinating as many of these trips into one to minimise the amount of fuel you use,” she advises.

“You can also drive more sustainably and save money by lightening the load in your car at all times, minimising driving time by travelling either late or early to avoid peak traffic, using the air conditioner and car heater only when necessary, reducing your idling time, using the recommended grade of oil for your car, and changing gears according to your driving speed.”


Generate your own electricity





Every time you use grid-supplied electricity, you are actually emitting extremely harmful coal waste into the environment as a result of coal emissions. The emissions from coal power plants continue to worsen with time. So, five years ago, there was a certain level of waste being pushed into the environment from coal-based power stations. That has since doubled in terms of the emission waste that's being pumped into the atmosphere.

According to Matthew Cruise, Head of Business Intelligence, Hohm Energy, implementing energy saving behaviours, such as installing a geyser timer, or doing whatever else to lower your overall electricity usage, is strongly suggested. “Both financially and in terms of sustainability and waste reduction, because as time passes, your electricity usage will generate more and more waste and emissions into the environment, hastening global warming. A geyser timer, for example, will help you save money by lowering your electricity cost,” he says.

“Smart equipment, such as refrigerators and microwaves that consume less energy, are other practical ways to incorporate into your house. However, the most effective way of minimising electricity consumption is to generate your own electricity,” says Cruise.

Ultimately, you want to get to the point where you’re taking care of around 80% of your household’s energy needs with solar power. That’s the sweet-spot for reaping the maximum financial benefits without major interruptions from load shedding. In doing so, you’ll also be reducing your own carbon footprint and the emissions that go into the atmosphere.





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