How many of us would like to make our homes greener, but are put off by the cost? There are lots of great things we could do if we only had an unlimited budget… we dream of going off-grid but never take a step towards it as we just can’t afford the investment.
While it would be great to take giant steps towards a greener lifestyle, there are plenty of small steps that we can take now, instead of waiting to win the lottery. Here are a few suggestions:
Small Step: The simplest, cheapest and quickest way of saving water is by switching your regular shower head to a low flow, water efficient shower head. Typically you can cut your shower water consumption by half. In an average household where three showers are taken a day, this would save 38,000 litres a year. The cost of a low flow showerhead can be anything from R100 to R1000, so do your research first to find the right one for you.
Giant step: It would be fantastic to recycle all our grey water to irrigate the garden and there are some wonderful systems out there that make it possible. How cool would it be for your sprinkler to activate and water the garden automatically while you shower! Water Rhapsody have devised some great ways of adapting existing plumbing for water saving, whether it’s harvesting rainwater or recycling grey water.
Energy Saving Lighting
Small Step: LED light bulbs are becoming more affordable now, but not all of us can afford to switch over the whole house to LED lighting in one go, even though the energy savings make it worth while in the long term. A good compromise would be to budget for adding one or two bulbs a month to your home. Start by replacing bulbs in the most used areas, often the kitchen, or the hall light that you leave on all night, and gradually work up to converting the whole house to LED.
Giant Step: If you have the budget then retrofitting the whole house with LED lighting will start saving energy and saving you money much sooner. Get advice from an LED lighting specialist such as CandelaLED to see what options work best for your home. OR keep an eye on Eskom’s various rollout programs. One has just finished that offered to replace halogen downlights with LED equivalents for free. Let’s hope that they plan another similar offer soon!
Small step: I’m sure you are already recycling glass bottles, paper and tins, but what about plastics? And what about e-waste? It takes more effort to recycle than to dump an old gadget in the garbage, but it makes a huge difference to th environment to keep as much as possible out of landfiulls. Check out Ecycle for e-waste drop off points in the Cape.
Giant step: It takes commitment but why not aim to reduce your waste to less than one bag per week? Start composting your kitchen waste, or if you don’t have a garden space see if there is a community composting programme in your area