We understand that combating climate change requires a combined effort from each and every one of us, but the big question on everyone’s mind is, is it possible to save energy and save money at the same time? The answer is a resounding, yes! And not only is it possible but the benefits of going green go well beyond pure savings to impacting our children’s health and well-being for the better too.
17 Ways to save, save, save
Let’s take a look at some simple ways in which we can create an environmentally sustainable society … and save money while doing so.
Save energy to save money
1.Replace existing or burnt-out light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or LEDs. They may cost more initially, but as they have a longer lifespan than regular light bulbs and use up to 75% less energy, the long-term savings make them worth the expense.
2.Unplug appliances when they’re not in use. Or use a “smart” power strip that senses when appliances are off to save on residual energy use.
3.Make a conscious effort to turn lights off when you exit a room, even if you’re returning to the room shortly. Over time, the energy savings will add up.
4.Run ceiling fans in summer. They consume about 60 watts each compared to the 3 500 watts used by the average air conditioner, so even if you have 4 fans running on high you’ll still save energy.
5.Wash clothes in cold water if possible. As much as 85% of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
6.Install insulation in your roof, walls, around hot water pipes and your geyser to promote passive temperature control. A product such as ISOTHERM Thermal Insulation keeps your home naturally cool in summer and warm in winter, helping you save energy and cut your power costs. And it’s manufactured from the thermally-bonded polyester of recycled plastic PET bottles, so it’s not only practical but environmentally-friendly too.
7.Take shorter showers to reduce water use. As hot water heating accounts for about 13% of the energy use in an average home this will help cut your electricity bills too.
8.Install a low-flow showerhead. They don’t cost much and can reduce flow by up to 60% (while keeping the water at a comfortable pressure), further helping to save on water usage and the energy required to heat your water. The same principle applies to aerators which can be installed on your indoor taps.
9.Use drought-tolerant indigenous plants in your garden which generally require minimal watering.
10.Walk, cycle, use public transport or lift-club whenever possible. This not only saves on fuel and parking costs but – in the case of the former two options listed – can help to boost your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of obesity.
11. Aim for one meat-free meal a week. Meat is a pricey commodity, even more so when you consider the related environmental and health costs.
12.Buy local produce whenever you can. This not only helps offset your carbon footprint but keeps money in the local economy.
13.Consider growing your own vegetables from seed. Not only will you save money and cut down on the number of trucks needed to ferry produce all over the country, you’ll have the satisfaction of putting fresh “organic” food on the table.
14.Instead of buying expensive bottled water, install a water filter to purify tap water and carry a reusable water bottle – preferably aluminum – with you when you’re traveling or at work. Not only is bottled water costly, it generates an excessive amount of container waste.
15. Consider buying secondhand where possible. Check out garage sales and charity stores (such as Hospice outlets) for clothing, furniture, and other everyday items.
16. Dispose of waste in a responsible manner and recycle wherever possible. This includes your cell phones, computers and other electronics – also known as e-waste – as they contain mercury and other toxic heavy metals which can pollute our water and soil.
17.Minimise your paper trail and save our trees. Ask your bank and other relevant vendors to send your statements and bills via email rather than posting them.
As you can see there are many straightforward ways you can save energy and save money. And in these financially challenging times, most of us can benefit from a little extra cash in hand. There’s really no time like the present; so make a conscious effort today to reduce your carbon footprint and create a happier, healthier life for yourself, your family and your planet.