Small, in­ex­pen­sive changes can save costs in the home

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

MANY home­own­ers are ap­pre­hen­sive about “go­ing green”, not be­cause they don’t want to re­duce their im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment but be­cause they as­sume this move is dif­fi­cult and ex­pen­sive, says Tony Clarke, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Raw­son Prop­erty Group.

“That may be true if you want to go com­pletely of­f­grid, or retro­fit so­phis­ti­cated en­ergy and wa­ter-sav­ing in­fra­struc­ture, but you can also make a sur­pris­ingly big dif­fer­ence by in­tro­duc­ing a few sim­ple, en­ergy-ef­fi­cient fea­tures and habits in your home.”

Low- en­ergy light­ing: Light­ing, par­tic­u­larly in win­ter, can make up a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of home en­ergy costs but mod­ern tech­nol­ogy gives home­own­ers plenty of op­tions to cut back on this power con­sump­tion.

“LED and com­pact flu­o­res­cent light bulbs use dra­mat­i­cally less power than other lamp types,” says Clarke. “They are still a bit more ex­pen­sive than in­can­des­cent and halo­gen bulbs – although prices are slowly drop­ping – but they also last much longer and cost less to use, so they’re good value.”

Cur­tain con­trol: You might not think of your cur­tains and blinds as en­ergy-sav­ing fea­tures but when it comes to keep­ing a home warm or cool, they are one of the most ef­fec­tive as­sets, Clarke says.

“Cur­tains aren’t just there to stop nosy neigh­bours or block the moon­light so you can sleep. They also give you con­trol over the amount of sun­light en­ter­ing your home and the amount of heat you lose through the glass at night.”

In sum­mer, Clarke says, it is a good idea to draw the cur­tains on the sun­ni­est sides of your home to pre­vent the build-up of heat in­doors.

“In win­ter, leave those shades wide open to make the most of the warmth on sunny days and close them again as soon as the sun goes down to trap that heat in­side.”

How­ever, if you do not want to block views dur­ing day­light, Clarke says you can ap­ply sun-re­duc­ing film to the glass it­self or even in­vest in dou­ble-glaz­ing for the “ul­ti­mate in tem­per­a­ture con­trol”.

Ceil­ing in­su­la­tion: Good in­su­la­tion will help main­tain in­door tem­per­a­tures and re­duce the ef­fects of hot and cold weather.

“The most com­mon types of ceil­ing in­su­la­tion are min­eral- or polyester-fi­bre sheets, like Aero­lite and Isotherm, and blown cel­lu­lose fi­bre like Eco-In­su­la­tion,” says Clarke.

“There are also in­no­va­tive al­ter­na­tives that go di­rectly on to roof sheets and in­side wall cavities and even DIY strips that help in­su­late win­dows and doors by seal­ing gaps in and around frames.”

So­lar wa­ter heat­ing: South Africans are for­tu­nate the coun­try has an av­er­age of more than 2 500 hours of sun­shine a year, which is ideal for so­lar en­ergy pro­duc­tion.

While so­lar pho­to­voltaic (PV) sys­tems tend to be ex­pen­sive, Clarke says so­lar wa­ter heaters are “very ac­ces­si­ble” to the gen­eral pub­lic and of­fer easy ways to dra­mat­i­cally re­duce en­ergy con­sump­tion with min­i­mal im­pact on dayto-day life.

“So­lar wa­ter heaters are not only ex­cel­lent en­ergy savers, they also add value to your prop­erty, so if your geyser needs re­plac­ing, it’s worth­while pay­ing a lit­tle more for a so­lar op­tion.”

Gas cook­ing: Elec­tric ovens and hobs are the third-high­est en­ergy con­sumers in most houses, ex­ceeded only by air con­di­tion­ers and gey­sers.

Clarke says in­stalling a gas hob, or even a full gas stove, can make a “huge dif­fer­ence” to en­ergy use.

“And you will also add value to your home as many peo­ple pre­fer to cook on gas.”

PIC­TURE: AP

So­lar pan­els will re­duce power costs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.