Electricity reduction

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					Electricity reduction
Electricity reduction in the home
Why do we need to conserve energy?
The major source of electricity generation is South Africa comes from coal-powered power stations. These power stations convert the energy from coal combustion into electricity. The other significant source of electricity in South Africa is nuclear power, where energy is created from nuclear reactions. Coal-powered electricity generation is a high pollutant type of energy generation. Pollution is caused both by the mining of the coal and by the electricity generation process. Heavy metals and particulates are released into the atmosphere during both mining and power generation; and surface and groundwater sources are polluted during mining. Coal mining also destroys the landscape, as well as animals’ and plants’ habitats. Electricity prices have risen steeply in South Africa due to an increased demand in energy, and the inability for this demand to be met. This means that your household utility bills are becoming more and more expensive. You can reduce the cost of your utility bill by decreasing the amount of power (electricity) you consume in the home and garden. In addition to this, you can shield yourselves from load shedding by installing renewable energy devices in your home. You will be able to generate your own electricity, and thus not be as vulnerable to load shedding. Decreasing your electricity consumption does not only result in cash back in your pocket, but also decreases the pollution associated with your household activities. The less electricity that is consumed, the less electricity that needs to be generated (and the less coal that needs to be mined). Therefore, by using less electricity you are also decreasing the amount of pollution you are responsible for by the electricity generation process. How can you decrease the amount of pollution associated with the generation of electricity? Use less electricity by either conserving energy or using renewable energy.

Everybody’s Guide to Greening Their Home Chapter 1 – electricity reduction

Energy conservation measures
Appliances Close the doors in rooms where heaters are on. This will help to contain the heat, and therefore reduce the length of time that the heater needs to be switched on for. Use panel heaters instead of oil and bar heaters where possible, as the panel heaters use much less energy to generate heat. Gas heaters are the most effective heaters (make sure that the room is well ventilated). Oil heaters are more effective than bar heaters. Use timers to programme when heaters go on and off. This will decrease power consumption when generating heat. Install a geyser timing switch, this can easily be set to switch the geyser off for prolonged periods during the middle of the day, when hot water consumption is minimal. Wrap the geyser in a geyser blanket to conserve the heat in the geyser. Don’t forget to insulate your hot water pipes as well. Insulating your geyser and hot water pipes will stop the heat from escaping to the cooler exterior, and thus reduce power consumption. Place your geyser vertically instead of horizontally. Geysers that are placed vertically consume less energy than geysers that are placed horizontally. Turn the thermostat on the geyser down to between 52°C and 55°C. This will still generate sufficient heat to produce hot water. Most geysers are set at 65°C – this is too hot and consumes large amounts of energy. Do not leave appliances on in the ‘stand-by’ mode. The ‘stand-by’ mode continues to use energy (50% of the energy used once the appliance is switched on). Switching the appliance off completely will conserve energy. Decrease the heat setting on your washing machine. It is preferable to wash in cold water, and on quick/eco cycles. Decreasing the heat setting will decrease the amount of energy that is consumed. Only wash when there is a full load in the washing machine. This will ensure that the washing machine operates optimally, thus saving power. Switch appliances off at the plug point at the wall. Appliances continue to draw power when switched on at the wall when they are not operating. Switching appliances off at the wall will ensure that the appliances use less power.

Everybody’s Guide to Greening Their Home Chapter 1 – electricity reduction

Avoid using a tumble dryer, and hang your washing out on the washline. Tumble dryers consume large amounts of electricity, and this is not necessary if the weather conditions are good enough to dry the washing outdoors. Hanging your washing out indoors during rainy days instead of using the tumble dyer will also help to conserve energy. Switch off televisions, radios, etc when you are not in a room. It is a waste of electricity to leave these appliances on when nobody is watching or listening. Switch computers off at night. Computers draw a large amount of electricity, and this can be conserved by switching the pcs off at night. Unplug your phone and laptop chargers when you are not charging your phone/laptop. Leaving your chargers on at the wall when you are not using them means that they are still drawing power. Switching off or unplugging them will save power. Decrease the thermostat setting on your fridge and deep freeze in winter. The room temperature is lower in winter, and therefore the fridge and deep freeze can use less power to keep foodstuffs chilled. Make sure that the fridge and deep freeze are not situated in direct sunlight nor close to the oven. Placing these appliances in direct sunlight, or close to the oven, will increase the ambient temperature around the appliances, and the appliances will have to work even harder to stay cold, thus increasing energy consumption. Ensure adequate ventilation between the fridge/deep freeze and the wall. This will allow for circulation, thus decreasing the amount of power these appliances are drawing. Leave food out to defrost in the fridge overnight instead of using the defrost function on the microwave. Microwaves consume large amounts of energy, whilst defrosting your food in the fridge will not consume any more energy than is currently consumed whilst the fridge is running. Don’t fill the kettle to the top each time you boil water, but rather boil only enough water for your needs. The more water that is in the kettle the more energy is needed to boil it. Defrost your fridge and deep freeze on a regular basis. Ice will decrease the insulation ability and therefore result in more energy consumption. Don’t leave the fridge door open. This will allow the cold to escape and the fridge will then have to use more energy to cool down again.

Everybody’s Guide to Greening Their Home Chapter 1 – electricity reduction

Use a dishwasher to wash dishes. Dishwashers consume less power than it takes for the geyser to warm water after washing dishes by hand. However, this is only applicable if dishwashers are fully loaded before being switched-on. Switch your appliances, fridge and geyser off when going on a long holiday. Leaving these appliances operational when they serve no purposes wastes electricity. Purchase energy efficient appliances. The more energy efficient an appliance, the less energy it consumes. Be sure to check the rating of the appliance in terms of the energy efficient rating system. If energy ratings are not available, another option is to compare the wattage of different brands before purchasing the appliance. Check the rubber seals on appliances such as stoves and fridges, and replace them if worn. Worn seals will allow heat/cold to escape and therefore the appliances use more power. Lighting Use natural light as much as possible. This is especially applicable when building/renovating. The more natural light there is in a room, the less artificial lighting is necessary. Natural light also enhances the feeling of well-being in a room. Change to energy efficient light bulbs. Energy efficient light bulbs are also known as compact fluorescent light bulbs, whilst the conventional light bulbs are known as incandescent light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use far less energy (80%) than conventional light bulbs, and they last 8 times longer. Check the wattage on your light bulbs and only use the correct wattage for the light bulb’s function. This will save energy. Switch lights off when you are not in a room. Burning lights use power, and this power is wasted if the lights are illuminating an empty room. Renewable energy Switch to renewable energy sources wherever possible Install a solar geyser. A solar geyser heats up water using energy from the sun. These geysers do have an electrical back-up system, so you can still have hot water on rainy days. A solar water heating system should last up to 20 years. These solar geyser systems use far less electricity, and they therefore use less power.

Everybody’s Guide to Greening Their Home Chapter 1 – electricity reduction

Install photovoltaic cells in order to generate electricity. Generating electricity from sunlight will mean using less power. The electricity generated from these cells will be able to power your appliances, lights, pool pump and even under floor heating. The installation and use of these cells will decrease the amount of power your draw from the grid. Wind turbines are convert wind into electricity. Cooking Place a lid on the pot when cooking. This traps the heat in the pot and keeps the contents hotter than when the lid is left off. This will ensure that the food cooks quicker, thus saving power. Avoid opening the oven door whilst cooking. Heat escapes each time the oven door is opened, and the oven will need to use more energy to warm up again. General Make sure all windows and doors in the home seal properly. Those that do not seal properly will allow heat to escape, and also allow cold draughts into a room. This will add to your heating costs, and also your carbon footprint. Close the curtains at night – this will stop heat from escaping. Glass loses heat 10 faster than insulated walls. This means that heat loss is greater through the windows than the walls. You can retard this heat loss by using the curtains as a ‘barrier’ in front of the glass. Conserving heat means you conserve energy. Make sure that your roof is insulated. Insulation will trap the heat thus decreasing heating costs of your house, and also decreasing the amount of heat that is needed to warm your house. Use non-toxic materials that are renewable or recyclable. Wear a jersey and turn down the temperature of the heater. A jersey will increase your body temperature, and you will be warmer and thus be more comfortable in a cooler room. Install double glazing on your windows, as it traps heat. The more heat that is trapped in a room, the warmer the room. Less energy is needed to heat a warm room as opposed to heating a cold room. Recycling saves energy. The energy used to produce recycled products is less than the energy that is used to produce virgin products. 5
Everybody’s Guide to Greening Their Home Chapter 1 – electricity reduction

Institute family game time and dinners at the dining room table. This will reduce power consumption, as appliances such as televisions, play stations, dvd players and radios will be switched off. Make sure that the double adaptors that you use can be switched off at the point in the adaptor. This will draw less power.

Electricity reduction in the garden
Use a rake to sweep leaves instead of a leaf blower. Leaf blowers consume electricity. Install solar powered lights. These will illuminate from solar power, and not draw electricity. Install low wattage day night sensor energy bulbs in garden lamps, these will automatically switch off during daylight hours thus saving electricity. Set the timer on your pool pump to run the minimal amount of time to keep your pool clean. Leaving the pump on unnecessarily will waste electricity. Pool covers can also be installed for winter periods, this will reduce the amount of hours the pool pump needs to be on for.

Did you know?
A kettle uses 50% less energy to boil water than a pot on the stove. A compact fluorescent light bulb uses 5-30watts, whilst an incandescent light bulb uses 25100watts.

Everybody’s Guide to Greening Their Home Chapter 1 – electricity reduction

Helpful hints and tips for energy conservation
Gaps in floorboards and skirting boards can also allow heat to escape. Ensure that your energy efficient light bulbs are disposed of in the correct manner. Gas cooking is more energy efficient than conventional electric cooking. Hot boxes can be used to cook food such as rice and stews. A hot box keeps the heat in the pot and the food will continue to cook. A full fridge uses less energy than an empty one.

Everybody’s Guide to Greening Their Home Chapter 1 – electricity reduction

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