Cut household costs and save the environment with these no-excuse home solutions.
There’s no time to waste when it comes to preserving our planet. As we get ready to celebrate Earth Day on 22 April, there are plenty of big and small changes you can make to create an eco-friendly home.
ENERGY EFFICIENT APPLIANCES
Home appliances eat up electricity so only wash full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher. The Samsung 7kg Eco Bubble front loader (R5 999, Makro) and the Bosch 12-Place silver dishwasher (R4 499, Game) are both good eco-friendly options. Fridges are the biggest power guzzlers so look for an energy rating of A (SA) and A+++ (EU). Or compare the kilowatt (kWh) per annum usage to see which model will save you the most in running costs. If you’re shopping around, check out the Defy 245L Eco combi fridge (R3 999, Makro). And if you ever need an excuse to pick up a ready-made meal, ease the guilt by knowing that a microwave uses less energy than a stove and oven.
Swap out your regular lightbulbs for slightly more expensive, but long-lasting LED bulbs. You can grab a pack of two Luceco 40W screw-in LEDs at Builders Warehouse (R95). Choose solar power where possible whether it’s solar panels on the roof or solar lamps. We love the Organic Soul solar lantern, perfect for romantic evenings at home (R170, Builders Warehouse).
INSTALL A GEYSER TIMER
Your geyser could be responsible for as much as 60 percent of your electricity bill. A timer will turn your geyser on for an hour or two in the morning and evening so it doesn’t run for no reason during the day (CBi geyser timer, R495, Builders Warehouse). Lowering your water temperature to about 50ºC will also help – water never needs to be scalding hot!
CATCH THAT RAIN WATER
So lack of rain is part of the problem, but when it does bucket down we need to save it. Installing a JoJo tank will cost you a bit initially but did you know that up to 86 percent of your household water needs could be met by harvesting rain water? The average household needs a 500-1 000 litre tank and a sexy slimline tank is a great choice (R2 700, Builders Warehouse). You can open the valve on the tank to access the water or for a bit more power you can pick up a pump and connector kit (R2 700, Builders Warehouse). But it’s probably a good idea to check out some tank and pump combo deals too. Installation costs vary depending on what unit you get.
If your budget will only allow the bare minimum, you can still do your part by putting big black bins at the end of your drainpipes to collect water for your garden (R375, Builders Warehouse).
USE YOUR GREY WATER
This is the water from your shower, bath and washing machine. JoJo tanks also work well for this because they come with a special algae lining. Grey water can only be used on your garden and you’ll need to connect your outside pipes to a tank or run it straight onto your garden. Remember, you’ll need a filter to trap lint and hair before it hits your plants. Smaller tanks of about 200 litres are fine for grey water because you can’t store it for long periods of time (260L JoJo tank, R799, Makro).
IN THE BATHROOM
Reduce the water used when flushing by placing a plastic bottle filled with pebbles, sand and water in your cistern instead of a brick. Install a water-saving shower head (Ellies Sunflower shower head, R150, Builders Warehouse) and stock up on water-free hand sanitiser for clean hands (Oh So Heavenly hand sanitiser, R35, Clicks).
IN THE GARDEN
Zone your garden by arranging plants according to how much water they need so you don’t water plants unnecessarily and swap your hose pipe for a watering can (R135, Builders Warehouse). For gardeners who want to give composting a go, try the Bokashi 80L composter (R530, Builders Warehouse) and Bokashi fermented bran (R82, Builders Warehouse).
OTHER COOL PRODUCTS WE LOVE
• Chemical-free cleaning products such as Probio ProKlean all-purpose cleaner and Probio Odour Away spray (R75 and R69, Builders Warehouse)
• Ellies Energy Monitor and software to track your energy usage and save you money (R1 200, Builders Warehouse).
USE YOUR RCS CARD TO GO GREEN AT HOME
Turn your home into an earth-friendly zone with our list of simple home upgrades. You can easily pick up these great eco products with a swipe of your RCS Card or by applying for an RCS personal loan. The RCS shopping network has over 23 000 stores to help you save water, energy and money.
* Prices were correct at time of publication, and are subject to change.