Blackouts and energy bills are a constant source of stress and anxiety and, it feels at times, ever on the rise. It’s almost comical. Use less of a consumable product only to be charged more. But what can we do? We can moan ad nauseum, tweeting and posting on Facebook for all and sundry who will hear our cries of desperation… Or, we can take charge. If the latter sounds like a more appealing option to you (and we truly hope it does!), here are just a few simple ways to start now, today, when it comes to making your home more energy efficient and keeping costs down.
Spend wisely on appliances that can save you in the long run. A great deal of energy is not only spent all day long, but wasted through leaky windows or ducts, old appliances and inefficient heating and cooling systems. For instance, certain kettles are specifically designed to boil quicker and save you in the long run. Otherwise, if you do not wish to rush out and replace all your appliances, consider ways around this. Boil only as much water as you need for a pot of tea. Or alternatively, boil a full kettle and use a flask to keep the water warm throughout the morning, boiling water again only when you need.
Be clever in the kitchen.
Even if you do not have a gas stove top, there are always ways to be more energy efficient during meal preparation. Bulking up when cooking a stew or curry that will only get better with time, means a reheat in the microwave a day or so later, rather than hours of energy spent from scratch each and every time. Using the residual heat of an electrical stove top is another handy tip. Once the pan is on high and you just want the veggies to simmer a little long, or the crispy fat to brown, turn it off at the switch and let that residual heat do the rest. Finally, nothing beats the smoky flavour and fun of being outdoors with a good ol’ braai. Smaller webers that don’t require many coals (and at best, even allow for later use of the same coals) are super! Whether you’re serving up buttered mealies in tinfoil, sliced aubergines drizzled in olive oil, or a flame-grilled steak and roosterbrood, the time-tested flame is a great alternative to kitchen drudgery!
Get old school.
Yes, it is wonderful to have so many appliances that make our lives easier. But some of them can be energy guzzlers. If we’re honest, sometimes we could simply do without. So turn down the heat on the geyser and use the kettle when piping hot water is required for a particularly stubborn pot. Use the dishwasher only for the gruesome aftermath of dinner parties or when packed to capacity. Similarly, wash the laundry when you can on a shorter cycle in cold water, or wait until you have a full load of laundry to attend to. Not only does excessive washing cause wear and tear when it comes to the outfits or linen we adore, it also adds on to that steadily climbing electricity bill every month!
All said and done, enjoy some downtime and embrace a low energy lifestyle, whether it is self-imposed or a poorly timed blackout. Doctors advise for lower lighting when preparing for a healthy night’s sleep and nothing beats the warm and mesmerising light of a single candle on the dinner table. Put those devices away and delight in the de-stress factor of good banter and laughter, feet up on the coffee table, whether with friends or family. There’s no point in fighting it. Learning to flow instead with the current is not only healthier for the purse strings, but for you and your family too!
Date Published: 24 March 2016