With South Africa facing continually constrained energy supply, load shedding has become a normal part of life for many people. Daily routines are reworked to cater for power cuts, and backup cooking and lighting solutions are becoming increasingly popular. However, the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) would like to remind South Africans that there are simple things we can do every day to reduce power consumption, take pressure off the grid, and ultimately help to mitigate the risk of load shedding.
“As we head into winter, we tend to use more power. Now is the time to start thinking carefully about how we use electricity,” says Barry Bredenkamp, General : Energy Efficiency & Corporate Communications for SANEDI. Being cautious of our consumer behaviour and implementing energy-efficient solutions are the main ways that power use can be minimised. Bredenkamp has five key tips for saving energy in your home, and it all relates to your appliance’s usage.
Rethink your lighting
While turning off lights when you leave a room is a great habit, what about changing the lights themselves? Newer lighting technology such as LEDs have proved to be vastly more energy efficient than older bulbs. “If thousands of South Africans updated their bulbs, the energy savings would be monumental,” says Bredenkamp.
Be cautious of how you cook
“Microwaves sometimes have a bad reputation, but in fact they cook food quickly and more efficiently than a traditional oven – especially if your oven is more than five years old. Consider using your microwave rather than your oven, whenever possible,” suggests Bredenkamp. In addition, he recommends using a gas stove if available. “Even better, bring out the braai!” he says.
Use your water appliances wisely
If you have a dishwasher, use it. Handwashing a 12-piece dinner service by hand requires 2.5 kWh of electricity and 103 litres of water. The same load in a dishwasher will use only 1.05 kWh of electricity and 12 litres of water, while taking a fraction of the time.
When it comes to washing of clothes, use a 40°C wash cycle rather than 60°C. “This offers a 30% electricity saving. Even better, you can save another 20% of power by skipping the pre-wash cycle,” says Barry. Furthermore, let clothes dry naturally rather than tumble drying.
Keep that fridge cold
“There’s a lot you can do to ensure your fridge is running optimally, and reduce your household energy consumption,” explains Bredenkamp. Importantly, the seals of fridges and freezers must work properly to ensure no warm air gets in and your appliance doesn’t have to work overtime to stay cool. Also remember to defrost your freezer regularly, as ice build-up prevents the freezer from operating efficiently and try limit opening-and-closing the fridge too often.
Think before you buy
“Home appliances are ever-improving, as manufacturers strive to play their part in reducing climate change. Added to that, minimum energy performance standards and associated labelling help consumers make better purchasing decisions. When purchasing new appliances, ensure that they carry the Energy Efficiency label, preferably rated with an A-rating. That’s not to say you must rush out and replace everything in your house – just keep the label in mind, next time you need to replace a household appliance,” concludes Bredenkamp.