The bottom line when it comes to making green choices is energy saving. By saving energy, we’re not only benefitting our planet and preserving its longevity but we’re saving on related costs and preserving our own well-being. Now that going green has been firmly entrenched as a mainstream trend, there are many ways you can get on-board and benefit your finances at the same time. Remember a few changes over a period of time can add up to a marked difference.
Energy Saving Made Simple
1.Unplug: Turn off and unplug appliances that are not in use. However minor the amount, the collective residual electricity consumption of appliances not in use but still plugged in, can add up to a considerable amount over the course of a month or year. Imagine the impact of the combined residual consumption of your neighbourhood or city and you can understand why this simple energy saving adjustment is one that we can all afford to make.
2.Recycling is the golden rule of going green. If an object or material cannot be reclaimed or reused, it should be recycled if at all possible and in a responsible manner, of course. These days there are many depots for plastic, paper, glass, tins and cans. It is your electronic waste (e-waste), batteries, oil and bulbs which may take more effort. There are however, an increasing number of workshops where this more tricky waste is properly dealt with. In the case of e-waste most vendors will even collect from you, making the recycling option more viable.
3.Re-use: As for all your old newspapers, donate them to your local shelter or vet. Your magazines can go to a second-hand bookshop, the library or local school for resource material. Books too can be passed on to those you know can’t afford to buy the latest releases or to a Hospice book sale. Reuse the reverse of printed pages as scrap note paper which is great for making grocery lists or office memos. And talking of shopping, remember to reuse your plastic bags or better yet, buy one of the attractive recycled shopping bags on offer, and remember to use it regularly.
4.Cut down on the amount of paper you personally use by requesting that your various account statements be emailed to you rather than posted. Scan and save important documents to a flash-drive if possible, to reduce unnecessary printing. Pay what you can online and help save paper and save yourself the trip to make the payment in person. The fewer resources we use, the greater our energy saving.
5.Cut down: Start a compost heap or worm farm in your garden. If you’re not the practical gardener type, there are kits available online. Most sources will deliver to your doorstep, worms and all, and provide advice on how to set up and what you can and can’t dispose of via your compost and worm farm. Besides enriching your soil and stimulating plant growth, you’ll be reducing the volume of your waste; waste which would otherwise need to be collected and then disposed of at the dump.
6.Save fuel: You can’t think about energy saving without considering how to conserve the fuel we need to motor about and how to curb our spending on this valuable resource. There are many ways to achieve this goal, from the age-old favourite, car-pooling to more physical options like walking or cycling and the ever popular public transport. Another approach is to plan your meetings and errands so you can cover as much ground as possible in one trip; it’s all about being ergonomic to be effective. When on an extended road trip, here in South Africa or abroad, hire a hybrid.
7.Keep your cool: Another excellent energy saving tactic is taking advantage of passive temperature control by installing adequate and quality insulation in your home. The result will be significant savings on heating and cooling costs as insulation keeps your house cool in summer and traps welcome heat during winter. ISOTHERM is a top insulation choice; not only is it a proudly South African product but it is manufactured from recycled PET plastic bottles adding to its green score.
8.Saving water is, of course, of utmost importance for South Africa with its recent dire drought situation. Not only should we be adhering to the water restrictions applicable in many areas but it is our duty to ensure that any leaky taps or pipes are reported and repaired in good time. It costs precious energy to deliver potable water to your home. Other water saving tips include only running your washing machine or dishwater with full loads, and placing a solid cover over your pool when it’s not in use to prevent excessive water loss due to evaporation.
Watch this space for more cost-effective ways to go green and save your planet, and your bank balance.