Green from the foundations and up
More and more South Africans are becoming aware of how much electricity they use in their home, especially taking into consideration how expensive this commodity has become. But over and above the cost, the country itself is experiencing shortfalls with the supply and electricity to many homes and power outages are becoming the norm.
While an older home can be fitted with cost saving features, new homes are the ideal place to integrate and implement energy saving features. Property developers need to investigate new technology and incorporate as much green design as possible into new homes and buildings.
Let there be Light
The use of light is very important in new homes, north facing stands with large windows and skylights should mean that consumers switch on lights only at night. When consumers do need to turn on lights they must be energy efficient lights which consume far less energy. LED lights are probably the best option on the market at the moment, but consumers must take care in choosing good quality lights that will last longer and give the correct light in terms of beam angle and colour.
Blow Hot and cold
New homes should be well insulated both in the roof space and the walls. This will ensure that the house stays warmer in winter and cooler in summer therefore reducing the need to turn air conditioners and heaters on. There should also be windows on various sides of the house, which will help to create a through draft in order to cool the home in summer. This will considerably reduce your need for an electric heater or cooler.
Energy efficient appliances
When moving into a new home one should consider changing over to energy efficient appliances. We are now in the 21st century and it's time to toss out those ancient appliances that consume most of your electricity bill. An energy efficient fridge for example will consume far less energy than an ordinary fridge.
Solar geysers / Heat pumps
Here in South Africa we are blessed with sunshine all year round. Perhaps the most potential to save on electricity will be through ones water heating costs. When designing a new home one must consider good conditions for solar geyser i.e.: north facing or flat roof. One also has the opportunity to hide the solar geyser if the home is designed well thus protecting the aesthetics of the home. A heat pump is also a great alternative that will save consumers money and will be friendlier on the environment.
According to Eskom and depending on the homeowners’ usage habits, how big the family is and what hot water is used for, the estimated savings for households that have solar geysers installed can add up to a potential of 22 percent on the total electricity bill, and with the cost of electricity continuing to rise, solar geysers will provide a big saving over the long term.
Water saving showerheads and flow restrictors should be installed on all water outlets. This will help to save water. Hot water saving will lead to even greater savings in electricity as well.
Gas may be used effectively in certain places around the home. Commonly used in stoves and fireplaces. It will be most efficient in places that have natural gas.