Answer the 20 Questions Energy Efficiency Quiz and start your DIY Home Energy Audit. The answers will point you to the actions you need to take to reduce your electricity consumption.
First get a handle on how many kWhs / electricity units you are using each month on average. This is a valuable exercise in establishing a consumption baseline. It helps to set your home energy efficiency targets and also familiarizes you with the tariff structure which charges more per unit for different consumption levels.
1 Your electricity tariff.
1.1 Which Tariff are you on? It should be on your account / prepaid receipt. For tariffs in Cape Town go to: http://greenaudits.co.za/cape-town-domestic-electricity-2016-new-service-fee
1.2 Do you know approximately how many kWhs /units of electricity you buy each month? Start keeping a record.
Recording your electricity purchases each month to helps you understand exactly how much electricity you are using. It is important to use the kWhs as the standard because the price per unit of electricity goes up depending on which side of a tariff block you are on. The annual price increase goes up and may mask your energy saving behaviour.
2 What is using Watts in your home? Your energy efficiency checklist.
YES and NO are not right or wrong, but the answers in RED are a signal that these are not energy efficient options.
2.1 Have you switched to energy efficient CLF or LED light globes? YES / NO
2.2 Are security lights on daylight or motion sensors? YES / NO
2.3 Do you usually switch off lights when you leave the room? YES / NO
2.4 Have you invested in a solar geyser or heat pump assisted geyser?
YES / NO / PLANNING TO
2.5 If you have solar!
does the mains backup kick in automatically, YES / NO
is it on a timer, YES / NO
do you manually switch it on YES / NO
If the latter do you often forget it on? YES / NO
2.6 If you have an electric geyser, have you done / fitted any of the following:
Reduced the temperature to 55°C YES / NO
Installed a timer on the geyser. YES / NO
Insulated the geyser and the outgoing hot pipes. YES / NO
Installed low flow shower heads. YES / NO
Take shorter showers – no more than 4min? YES / NO
Do you have a pool? YES / NO
2.7 Do you hibernate it in winter by reducing pump hrs or cover it? YES / NO
2.8 Have you optimized the in season running time of the pump? YES / NO
Space heating and cooling
2.9 Do you have underfloor heating and use it? YES / NO
2.10 Do you have air con and use it? YES / NO
2.11 Do you have and use electric heaters? YES / NO
2.12 Do you use a low kWH fan rather than air con for cooling? YES / NO
2.13 Do you use a hot water bottle or `microwave bean bag’? YES / NO
2.14 Do you often cook in a big oven? YES / NO
2.15 Do you use any of these energy saving cooking appliances:
a pressure cooker YES / NO
a microwave YES / NO
a Wonderbag or box YES / NO
2.16 Do fill the kettle even if you only need one cup of hot water? YES / NO
2.17 Do you regularly dry clothes with a tumble drier? YES / NO
2.18 Do you use a clothes iron for hours each week? YES / NO
2.19 Do you routinely leave appliances and charges on standby? YES / NO
2.20 Do you select energy efficient appliances when purchasing new? YES / NO
What next – from awareness to action!
See which of the answers in red you can change to green through either a change to energy efficient behaviour or by investing in energy efficient appliances / technology. Start with the low hanging fruit of energy efficient behaviour. The cumulative savings of seemingly small actions such as only boiling what you need for tea, short showers, switching off lights, unplugging/ switching off rather than leaving appliances on standby, etc all adds up. Try it and enjoy an easily earned surprise. Appliance replacement needs money up front. With the high cost of electricity and water the low operating costs of an AA rated water and energy efficient appliance compensates for the once off expense of the appliance. Price the alternatives and do the math on kWhs and kls saved. Low energy lighting, a geyser timer, a wonderbag, a pressure cooker etc offers a return on investment in months, a pool cover a gives a return in a few years and a solar geyser pays for itself in 5 – 7 years. For accredited companies that install solar geysers or heat pumps in Cape Town go to: http://savingelectricity.org.za/pages/water_heaters.php
Efficiency is not about sacrificing fun or comfort. It is about inspiring new technologies and ways of living in tune with Nature and which save you money in the long run. Nature knows no waste and successful species are the ones that understand energy and resource efficiency. For our long term well being on this life giving planet we need to adopt these practices as well.
Kim Kruyshaar July 2016