The 27th of February is World Sustainable Energy Day, and as we know, a move towards using more sustainable sources of energy is vital to protect our planet from global warming. It also benefits the end user through lower electricity bills and in South Africa this in turn means less pressure on the national grid.
In light of this, Brights Hardware has prepared a list of ideas on how you can embrace more sustainable solutions in your home. They will also help cut your costs every month and once you have stocked up on alternative sources of power, light and heat it becomes a breeze to weather a few hours of (inevitable) load shedding.
Let there be (LED) light
“Changing the bulbs in your home for LED options is a great way – and one of the easiest – to embrace sustainable energy,” says Orlando Luis, CEO of Brights. “LED light bulbs last longer than incandescent or halogen bulbs and use far less electricity.”
“In addition to this, battery powered LED lighting is an essential must-have item for SA homes. There is a wide range of rechargeable LED light strips, lanterns, and torches available on the market. Another great item to have in the home are intelligent LED light bulbs. These bulbs come in either a screw or bayonet configuration and can be used like a standard light bulb in any light fixture but they stay on during power outages as they hold charge for up to four hours.”
“In a sunny country like ours, embracing solar powered energy is a no-brainer,” advises Luis. “Solar installations can range vastly in size from an entry level system that powers a few appliances and lights, through to a full home installation that takes you off the electricity grid completely. People who are interested in pursuing this avenue can do a power usage analysis and questionnaire at the Brackengate and Montague Park Brights stores. We have a qualified consultant available in these two stores who will do the complete investigation and provide a full quote for UPS, battery and solar solutions to suit every independent home or business.”
Luis goes on to advise that solar geysers are also hugely popular in SA. “When it comes to solar geysers there are many different sizes and technologies that range in capacity and price – depending on how much water you use, your budget etc. Solar geysers may cost a bit more to install initially but the long-term benefit is well worth the capital cost upfront.”
Install a heat pump
“This is one of my preferred solutions – even more effective than solar geysers,” says Luis. “A heat pump work like an air conditioning unit in reverse – it extracts heat from the ambient air surrounding it. This is then run through a heat exchanger in which the water is heated. So only a little electricity is used to run a fan and compressor while the heat energy is provided indirectly by the sun.”
Give it Gas
It is widely accepted that anything in your home that uses a heating element is one of the biggest users of electricity. The stove is a big energy gobbler, as is the geyser.
Luis advises that there are now great gas versions of both of these essential household appliances available.
“When it comes to cooking there are many different gas options available to consumers today – whether it is a large six plate gas hob and oven or just a simple, portable table-top one or two-plate gas cooker – and many more options in between.”
“Many people are choosing to change their ovens over from electrical to gas. Not only does this mean you can carry on your dinner preparations during a power outage, but your electricity bill will also be reduced through the introduction of gas appliances,” says Luis.
“Gaining in popularity is also a conversion over to gas geysers. There is a wide variety on the market and the benefits with gas is almost instant hot water minus the electricity usage.”
Put a timer on your geyser
According to Luis, if you do not want to replace your current geyser system, there are ways to make it more energy efficient. Such as putting a timer on your geyser.
“You only need hot water at certain times throughout the day, and if your geyser is left on all day every day then you are using more electricity than you need to. Install an electronic timer which can be programmed to only heat up when you need it to.”
Replace old appliances with new energy efficient models
“New appliances are made with the goal of being energy efficient and eco-friendly and so replacing old appliances with modern ones that have an energy consumption rating is a good idea. Old household appliances use up to 40% more electricity than an Energy Star appliance.”
Luis explains that Appliance Standards and Labelling Regulations have been put in place is SA which requires appliances such as air conditioners, fridges, washing machines, and ovens (for example) to be labelled with a South African Energy Efficiency Label. “The purpose of the South African Energy Efficiency Label is to ensure that consumers are informed about the relative energy efficiency of an appliance before they decide to purchase and the energy efficiency label has been designed to provide consumers with accurate and comparable information on the energy efficiency of household appliances.
Small behavioural changes that make a big difference
“All of the above are important things to be doing to ensure more sustainable living,” says Luis. “But we should also recognize that behaviour is a big part of our overall energy consumption.”
“Make small changes to your behaviours such as switching off the lights when you are not in a room, have shorter showers, wash your clothes in cold water, only run the dishwasher and washing machine when they have full loads, don’t run the air-conditioner or heaters unnecessarily. These are all examples of small things that you can do in your home to further improve its efficiency, reduce your footprint and embrace sustainability.”
Luis advises that Brights Hardware has on-site experts in all of their stores to provide advice and guidance on any of these solutions. “Whatever you may be interested in finding out more about – whether it is LED or solar technology to the best gas stove for your budget – our knowledgeable staff members can provide you with all the product insights and information that you need.”
Brights stores are located in Boston, Blackheath, Langebaan, Mitchells Plain, Montague Park, Plattekloof, Uitzicht, Brackengate and Sunningdale. There is also an online store available at www.brights.co.za.