Life in the Green Zone

Life in the Green Zone

Small energy saving measures can make a big difference when it comes to our impact on our environment. Granted it takes a certain level of commitment and a shift in mindset on behalf of the whole family, but when your concerted efforts begin to pay off in terms of lower water and electricity bills, you’ll be hooked on life in the green zone. In the process you’ll be teaching your children the value of our finite resources and why it’s important to preserve them; now that’s a legacy you can be proud of.

Energy Saving Made Simple

Implementing energy saving measures in your home needn’t cost you a fortune. In fact, there are many simple measures you can put in place almost immediately and that will positively impact on your utilities expenses and your carbon footprint.

One of the most obvious, and yet it bears repeating, is to switch off all lights and electrical appliances when they’re not in use. And in the case of appliances, you should keep them unplugged to prevent residual electrical consumption. If you’ve ever noticed the tiny LED light that continues to glow even after you’ve switched your TV or sound system off, it means that the appliance is still drawing incremental power. This applies to mobile device chargers, printers and computers. Those incremental amounts add up and at the end of the day you’re paying for power that you’ve gained nothing from.

Another entirely affordable measure is to change out regular bulbs for LED (light emitting diode) or CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs. Unlike regular incandescent bulbs, LEDs and CFLs convert most of the power into light rather than heat, and because of this consume up to 75% less electricity and last 10-20 times longer.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

One of the biggest challenges we face in terms of our impact on the environment is how we deal with all the waste we generate in our homes. Most major metropolitan areas offer recycling collections, usually aligned with the regular waste collection rota or at the very least municipal depots where you can responsibly rid yourself of waste items like glass, paper, plastic and metal.

Where many of us fall down is in the disposal of our electronic or e-waste. All too often it is dumped in our landfills, where it poses very definite health and environmental risks. This is due to the toxic heavy metals – like mercury and lead – found in such electronic components. E-waste is slowly but surely becoming big business in South Africa and there are an increasing number of organisations dedicated to recycling electronic components in such a way that some parts can be recovered and reused, and all heavy metals are responsibly disposed of.

Stop That Leak

Equally as important as saving energy in our homes, is the conservation of our water supply which is currently under tremendous pressure given our severe drought and related issues around water quality. Over and above adhering to the water restrictions applicable in your area, you can prevent waste by replacing leaky fittings with innovative water-saving counterparts, and use gray water to flush your toilet.

If a formal graywater system or installing rainwater tanks are beyond your budget, you can institute a basic graywater recycling plan by using plastic basins to wash or rinse your dishes and physically emptying them into your garden afterwards. And attach an old hose or creepy crawly piping to the outlet pipe on appliances like your dishwasher and washing machine as well as your bath or shower. This will automatically direct the graywater into your garden.

Passive Thermal Energy Control

Insulating your ceilings, walls, geysers and hot water pipes with ISOTHERM ensures your home remains cool in summer and warm in winter, so reducing your electricity consumption. It also helps save the environment as ISOTHERM Thermal Insulation is made from the thermally-bonded polyester of recycled plastic PET bottles. Plus being non-allergic it is completely safe. Contact us for a quote – one of our knowledgeable consultants will be happy to assist you.

Shading those windows most exposed during peak daylight hours also plays an important role in passive thermal energy control. If glazing is too costly an option, you can consider installing an awning or even better, planting an indigenous creeper or two to provide natural shade. You’ll be amazed at the difference.

Going green takes the whole family working together with an understanding of why you are doing so. As our children are the future guardians of this planet, they are never too young to learn the value of saving energy and our environment. Most children have an innate love of nature; it is a matter of helping them understand how our actions affect the world around us and how we have the power, however small, to make a significant difference.

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