Why should we consume less electricity?
For starters, there are megatons of CO? spewing into the air from our filthy, coal fuelled power plants. You know, the ?survival of our species? thing? Also, load-shedding by Eskom has become a fact of life and the days of cheap power are gone forever.
There are plenty of reasons to consume less electricity!
Now I move on to lighting, that accounts for about nine percent of the average South African household?s electricity use.
Follow as many of the following tips as you can and watch your electricity bill plummet:
- Use compact fluorescent (CFL) lamps. Have you ever touched a traditional light bulb that has been on, even for a short while? It?s damn hot and I don?t mean sexy! These tiny heaters convert only about 10 percent of the electricity it uses into light while producing heat with the remaining 90 percent. CFLs convert about 90 percent of the energy it uses into light while only wasting 10 percent on generating heat. Because CFLs radiate much less heat you?ll spend less on air conditioning in summer.
CFLs use at least 70 percent less electricity than conventional light bulbs and last many years longer. They might cost more, but they pay for themselves many times over in their lifetime.
Another advantage of CFLs is that the quality of light they emit is nothing like those harsh fluorescent tubes.
Using CFLs is considered such a no-brainer that the Australian government announced their intention of banning incandescent light bulbs by 2010. They estimate that the prohibition of traditional light bulbs will cut CO? emissions by 800 000 tonnes per year. A ban of these lights is also imminent in the United States, the European Union, Canada, New Zealand, India and Pakistan.
Old style incandescent light bulbs might have been technological wizardry in the 1880s, but it?s time they go the way of the dinosaurs.
- Turn it off! Make it a habit to turn the lights off when you leave a room, even if it?s only for a couple of seconds. It is a myth that lights use additional energy to start up. Every time you switch off the lights, even for a second, you save electricity. This is true whether you?re using regular or fluorescent lights.
Another old wives? tale is that your lights wear out by switching them on and off every time you leave the room.
- Exterior lighting. Use low-energy lamps and install a motion detecting device.
- Motion detectors. Installing these inside the house will save you a bundle and the trouble of turning the light on or remembering to turn it off when you leave the room.
- For lights that are switched on permanently (e.g. stairways) use low wattage bulbs. Replacing 75 watt bulbs with 15 watt bulbs reduces electricity consumption by 80 percent.
- Replace fluorescent magnetic ballasts with electronic ones. The ballast is the fixture that stabilises and provides power to the lamp. If your fluorescent light takes a moment to start up and hums, it?s magnetic. For long-tube fluorescent lighting (as opposed to CFLs) a magnetic ballast uses 100 watts to power two 40 watt tubes, while an electronic ballast uses only 60 watts. Another bonus, electronic ballasts do not hum, start up immediately and generate less heat.
- Install a skylight. Sunlight is free and feels good! Buy a skylight that lets in the light, but not the heat.
- Do not install multiple lights on a single switch.
- Use fewer bulbs with higher wattages. One 100 watt bulb produces the same light as two 60 watt bulbs.
- Install dimming switches.
- Paint walls, ceilings and floors with light-toned colours. Ask your paint dealer for paint that is highly reflective.