Tonight at 20h00 local time, people worldwide will turn off their lights for one hour to show support for Earth Hour. The Earth Hour movement aims to bring awareness around the world’s over-reliance on electricity.
Unfortunately, fossil fuels make up 80% of global energy production, and alternative energy sources are still not utilised to their fullest extent. With climate change already severely affecting our weather, it cannot be too soon to start making the change to environment, animal and people friendly materials to power our life on this planet.
Here are some tips on how to conserve electricity from the Green Building Council South Africa:
- Keep it hot: If the three minutes before the power cuts are spent boiling your kettle and transferring the water into an urn to keep the water hot, why not continue this practice on a regular basis, to conserve both electricity and water? In general, devices that are used to heat anything up use the most power (the tumble dryer being the worst culprit); and while it may only take 0.1kWh to boil a kettle, the numerous daily occasions add up and are often unnecessary.
- Solar or bust: If solar is the future, the future is now. While in the past the primary investment in solar power was a big obstacle to adoption, the payback period of the investment and the rewards (especially against current risk) makes solar power an ever more accessible and sensible option. Going off the grid or supplementing your household energy intake with solar water heaters or solar electricity generation is a massive step towards sustainable living.
- An insulated approach: Winter is coming and chances are that this year your oil-fin heater will stay packed away in the garage. The addition of insulation into a home, especially insulating your loft, attic or roof is possibly one of the fastest ways to reduce heat loss and use less energy, keeping your home more comfortable. There are a number of eco-friendly insulation products on the market to consider.
- Cold shower power: Geysers consumer massive amounts of energy. While not many people will readily embrace a future of cold showers, invigorating as they may be, turning the temperature of your geyser down to 55-60 degrees will not affect the water temperature too much. Use a timer for your geyser and experiment with the minimum amount of heating time it needs to deliver piping hot water for your family.
- The lights are on… If you’ve flicked the switch and you’re in luck, make sure you’re burning energy-saving bulbs. LED lights can save up to 90% energy compared to a traditional bulb with the same light output. The light sources also last longer – up to ten times longer than a traditional bulb. Put another way, lighting up a normal incandescent bulb costs 75c per hour while an LED or CFL bulbs cost 12c per hour.