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Save Energy – Save Me! 02/06/12

As Eskom threatens to start up the load shedding game, Natasha Clinton from Build it Green needs you to play your part and save her hair!


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I am one of those supposedly “lucky” females born with curly hair. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing lucky about it. I see it as more of a curse. So, I’m sure you can understand why I shudder at the thought of load-shedding making a return in South Africa.

It implies unexpected BHD’s (bad hair days),  which need to be managed with excessive amounts of hair mousse, and the guarantee that I will look like I spent the day being dragged through a merciless bush.

So to ensure I find that tall attractive male to father my hopefully straight-haired children by the end of this year, I implore you all to get on the energy saving train.

In seriousness, Eskom is asking for a 10% reduction in electricity usage, so please, help make this happen (And save me from my own personal hair hell. I may even give you naming rights to the above-mentioned children. Although please note: no Apples or Sevens.)

Here’s a couple of easy ways that can help you play your part:

  • Mindset

First and foremost a change of mindset. By ‘mindset’ I mean that we all need to become more aware of how we use electricity all the time. So often, we leave lights or appliances on when they are not needed. Even a TV and decoder on standby draws electricity. Turning these off is a small start to saving big.

  • Light bulbs

Do a major overhaul; change all your light bulbs to LED (Light Emitting Diode) or CFL’s (Compact fluorescent light bulbs). You will thank me when you see how much better you look in fresh new lighting.

  • Minimize the use of lighting.

If you are like me, leaving the house in the morning is a big rush, scrambling for keys, laptops and lunch boxes. The last thing on your mind is to remember to turn off your outdoor lights which slaved away the night before. This is why motion sensor activated lights are so awesome.

Areas where these are best utilised are:

1. Outdoor and security lights
2. Areas you pass in and out of often like passageways, offices, bathrooms and kitchens.

Outdoor lights could also be solar-powered using small solar power systems.

  • Geysers

The biggest change you can make is  your geyser.  Everyday, this invaluable heating system turns itself on up to 30 times to heat water that may or may not be used! This drains money from your wallet or purse, which we all know is better spent on other things. Like red wine. Or cupcakes. Or coffee. Or croissants… I digress.

There are various ways to help your geyser work optimally:

1. Buy a geyser blanket, which insulates your geyser keeping it hotter for longer.
2. Program your geysers with a timer to only operate at designated times, or simply turn it off when you are out for the day.
3. Invest in a solar geyser. They may seem expensive but the long-term benefits make it worthwhile.

If you really want to get serious, an energy audit can also be carried out at your business or home.  This would highlight the areas in which you are using more electricity than necessary.

If everyone plays their part (and we have to hope that big business and industry does too)  it should be relatively easy to avoid the joys associated with load-shedding, which means my GHD and I can carry on living out our perfect romance.

Natasha Clinton is a green architecture enthusiast working for Build it Green as their media and marketing manager. Working at BIG she has learnt the multitude of ways to live more sustainably as well the joy to be found in keeping chickens as pets. New to the blogging scene, she aims to spread her enthusiasm for sustainable living. Take a look at the BIG website for more tips and useful products.

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