TECH TIPS

Smart Energy Solutions for Your Home 

Nicholas Herbst, Operations Manager, South Africa

16 September 2019

The cost of electricity has become a significant expense in most homes. Many individuals are searching for ways to reduce their electricity consumption to mitigate the effects of recurring electricity price hikes. With over ten years’ experience in home energy analysis, we have some great tips for you.

Behaviour

A mindset change goes a long way in reducing your energy consumption. Many appliances are left activated unnecessarily, for the sake of convenience, and consume a significant amount of energy even when in standby mode. If you are uncertain about the standby consumption of a specific appliance, switch it off at the wall plug. 

Becoming aware of the actual power consumption of various appliances allows you to discern the level of sensitivity that should be placed on its utilisation. Some devices consume thousands of watts, while some consume less than ten. It is valuable to know these energy ratings so that you may change your behaviour accordingly. 

The Cost of Heating

Heating is one of the most significant components of your home energy bill. Geysers, electric stoves, ovens, kettles, microwave ovens and conventional heaters are the typical range of heating appliances. Except for the kettle and the microwave, these consume a large amount of power for hours – a simple recipe to rack up a substantial energy bill. 

Without changing the appliance, the only real impact you can have on the energy consumption is by reducing the time the machine is enabled. It starts with being consciously aware of the high energy consumption of these appliances and using them efficiently – be careful not to leave these devices enabled unnecessarily!

“these consume a large amount of power for hours – a simple recipe to rack up a substantial energy bill. “

Lighting

Many homeowners have neglected to consider the impact of inefficient lighting on their energy bill. A single inefficient light bulb may not consume a considerable amount of power, usually 30 to 50 watts. However, the combined effect of several inefficient light bulbs results in a substantial and constant energy bill. 

Many years ago, there was a lot of resistance towards the adoption of LED lighting, due to the high price per bulb and the relatively low light output compared to the traditional technology. This is not the case anymore.  LED lighting has become very inexpensive and is often no more expensive than a conventional halogen light bulb.

A standard GU10 LED down-lighter can cost as little as R30 from Builders Warehouse, and these units consume 2 to 4 Watts! That is ten times less than a traditional 50W lightbulb. There is no excuse for not changing all frequently used light bulbs in your home to LED. 

Power Monitoring

Most homeowners receive an account for their energy consumption for the previous month. This means that there is a minimum of a one month waiting period before the homeowner is aware of their most recent energy consumption. 

Pre-paid electricity meters do allow the customer to query the previous day’s energy consumption. This only allows for a momentary analysis and is insufficient for any evaluation purposes, unless manually recorded daily and processed in a spreadsheet tool like Excel. Fortunately, there are external devices available that allow for automated recording, processing and graphical display of the power and energy consumed at home. 

The Efergy Energy Meter Kits are an effective solution to home energy monitoring. It records real-time and historical energy consumption for single energy conduits and multi-circuits. You can see this data directly from your smartphone, anywhere in the world.

This type of data recording allows you to identify any concerning energy consumption trends throughout the day, and to finally pinpoint appliances that are consuming excessive amounts of energy. You can’t save what you can’t see!

Once you have executed these “low hanging fruit” improvements in home efficiency, consider solar power generation for further cost reduction and energy independence. 

If you would like an accurate, scientifically-based proposal of how solar could work for you, please do make contact with the GreenHouse team – we’d be delighted to assist.