Low effort energy savings

Homeowners that want to make a difference to their environment can do so with just a few low-effort energy saving tips, that will put money back into their pockets, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

“Often homeowners want to do their part in conserving energy, but don’t know the steps to take in turning their residence from an energy sapping home to an energy efficient one. The good news is that homeowners can do this with relatively no effort or cost. While the steps won’t make much difference individually, even small steps can add up to large strides if added together,” says Goslett.

He gives homeowners 8 effortless energy tips that save both save energy and money.

1. Turn down the geyser

During the hot summer months there seems little sense in having the geyser work unnecessarily, especially when it accounts for nearly half the cost of a household’s electricity. By simply lowering the thermostat, costs can be reduced greatly.

2. Latch windows securely

If a home has an air conditioning or heating system, more energy will be spent if windows aren’t closed properly. Close the windows and lock them, this will ensure that no space remains between the frame and window which will prevent air leaks.

3. Pull the plug

Even if electrical appliances or electronics are turned off, many of them still draw power in their stand-by modes. Eliminate this by unplugging them from the wall completely. This may seem like a lot of effort, but homeowners can plug more than one item into a multi plug or plug strip and simply unplug that and cut the power to all items at once.

4. Avoid the energy sapping appliances

Whenever possible, avoid using appliances such as the stove or oven and rather opt for items such as the microwave or perhaps an electric slow cooker instead. Generally, the larger the appliance, the more energy it will take to heat up.  If the oven needs to be used, make it work for its money by cooking numerous dishes at once. When using the stove, make sure the pot matches the plate – avoid using a large plate to cook a small pot of food.  When using the kettle, only boil as much water as is necessary.

5. Cold water washing

Switching the washing machine to cold water will save 40% of the energy used on the heating of the water, and as a bonus, will save the clothing. Washing clothing in cold water reduces the wear and tear, which means they will also last longer. Homeowners will save money on electricity and on replacing worn out clothing. Certain items such as towels and bed linen should still be washed in hot-water washes, but can be rinsed in cold water. To save more energy with washing, hang clothes outside to dry instead of using the electric dryer.

6. Lighting sets the mood

Having a dimmer installed on lights will save money over the long term because it reduces the electricity flowing to the light fixture or lamp. Often there is no need for bright lighting and dimmed lights can enhance the relaxed ambiance of a home. Compact fluorescent light bulbs will also reduce energy usage, although not all CFL light bulbs can be used in conjunction with a dimmer but those that can, will state so on the packaging.  Lights should also be turned off in areas of the home where they are not needed.

7. Turn the computer off

If the home computer needs to be on during the day, then activate the system standby or hibernating feature, or alternatively shut it down. A computer left onstandby will use as much as 20% of the usual power it would in full use. Turning it off and unplugging it will also protect it from possible power surges.

8. Use the sun

The sun is most powerful heating resource available, and not just during the summer months.  The installation of solar paneling will cost in the initial outlay but the saving will far outweigh the cost in the long term.

“With the rising cost of living as well as the worldwide exhaustion of natural resources, using these simple tips could curb costs as well as reduce our carbon footprint that on our environment.  Homeowners will see the reduced cost benefits with very little effort, all while reducing carbon emissions,” Goslett concludes.

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