Top tips for saving and celebrating a greener Christmas

 Load shedding has become a reality for South African’s and a little planning and creativity can alleviate a lot of the unpleasantness during the holidays, according to Evan Schiff, event director of the annual African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa conference and expo in Cape Town.

He says furthermore that higher electricity prices in South Africa have become an increasing strain on consumers’ monthly expenses and that ‘Christmas is a great time to introduce energy saving habits into a household as many easy and simple changes in the way we live can end up putting extra money into your pocket’.

Tips to implement this holiday:

  • Keep a regular eye on websites with information on load shedding schedules
  • Create a Whatsapp group for your neighbourhood and keep each other informed.
  • Make sure that there are enough candles, matches, torches, batteries and so forth for load shedding periods after dark.
  • Be ready for it! Make sure all mobile devices, tablets, laptops and toys are fully charged before the lights go out.
  • Keep a gas burner as a back-up in the kitchen to be able to heat water and do essential cooking.

An energy efficient holiday

 Schiff said: ‘There are a variety of ways we can use a lot less electricity this holiday season such as using LED* Christmas lights which use 90% less electricity than regular Christmas lights. Consider investing in solar powered outdoor lights which can also be used on the Christmas tree and only come on at night’.

He continues: ‘up to 40% of all batteries are purchased during the holiday season so try to buy toys and gifts that don’t use electricity or batteries. Gifts made of recycled material are also a great environmentally friendly gesture’.

More handy energy saving tips for the holiday season:

  • Don’t use the tumble dryer unnecessarily – it is summer, so take advantage of solar powered drying.
  • Turn off the room lights when the Christmas tree lights are on.
  • Set a timer to Christmas and outdoor lights to limit the time they are on.
  • Use candles instead of lights.
  • Invest in outdoor cooking methods instead of a stove
  • If you’re going away, turn off/ the geyser, empty and unplug the refrigerator.

Advice for improving energy efficiency in your home during the year:

  • Invest in a geyser blanket. Unless the geyser is properly insulated, switching it off does not save electricity.
  • Insulate the roof to make the house cooler in summer and warmer in winter and thereby saving on seasonal heating and cooling.
  • Switch off appliances at the wall plug when not in use.
  • Replace CFL (compact fluorescent lamps) bulbs with LED.
  • Use cold water to do laundry, it saves electricity and is better for the clothes.

African Utility Week encourages energy efficiency

 African Utility Week has helped to reduce the energy consumption of commercial and industrial large power users and has assisted in African utilities providing electricity and water to all of Africa.

African Utility Week will be returning to the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 13 May 2015, showcasing the latest energy saving technologies and innovations for the power industry.