How would you like to to reduce your waste and save? Our Green Home 101 guide will help you implement simple and no to low cost methods to start cutting back on household waste while saving money and the planet!
Let’s get started!
Understanding Your Consumption
In order to reduce waste and save money, it’s important to first grab a bit of context for your own household. This will help you set realistic goals for how much you want to be cutting. This will also help you get a better understanding of the areas in which you might be wasting the most!
Start off with calculating your baseline. This is the amount of electricity and water you consume annually, as well as how much solid waste you generate. Calculating solid waste can be tricky, but a simple way would be to count the amount of garbage bags you go through each month and then add it together to find out a rough number for the year.
Finding your annual electricity and water consumption is a lot easier. You will find a lot of energy consumption calculators online that are free for you to use!
Take a look at this guide to calculating your own energy consumption.
You’ll also want to have a few different specifics so that you can get a good all round picture of your energy and water consumption:
- Your annual total
- Monthly average by season (the different seasons can impact how much energy we use!)
- Daily average (divide annual total by 365)
- The kWh/m2/year (kWh divided by metres squared) – this is great for comparing the energy consumptions of homes with similar sizes.
HOT TIP : Get connected with Citiq Prepaid and make your life easier! The company works with landlords, corporates, municipalities, electricity contractors and property managers to enable property owners and tenants access to detailed reports to effectively track electricity and water consumption. This gives YOU all the control over your energy consumption and eliminates unexpected costs and takes the hassle out of your payments!
Write it Down!
Now that you have a better understanding of your consumption and waste production you can start setting goals. Make them realistic! Once you reach those goals then maybe you decide you want to shoot a little further and you can set more goals. But for now, set a few simple goals that you know you’ll be able to achieve!
NO Cost Tips
Hot but not too hot! Water heating is responsible for 30-60% of your household’s power consumption. Turning your geyser down to 55-60 degrees Celsius can make a massive difference in your energy consumption. Every 5 degree drop in the thermostat can save about 10% on water heating!
Coffee on Tap! Frequent cups of coffee means a frequent use of the kettle which consumes a lot of energy. Instead of boiling the kettle for every cup of coffee, make one big batch of coffee in the morning and keep it in a thermos flask so it remains steaming hot throughout the day!
Too Cool for the Pool! Is your pool pump working day in and day out? Well it’s time to ease up on the work hours and save your money because your pool only needs it’s pump for about 4-6 hours during summer and 2-3 hours in Winter, especially for smaller pools. Do keep in mind that each pool differs so monitor it and make any necessary adjustments.
Wrinkle Free (most of the time!) The steam iron is one of the most energy intensive appliances so use it wisely. Only iron clothes that really need it and don’t waste your time, energy and money on smoothing the creases of your undergarments as for the most part no one will see them!
You Know this One – Short showers are the solution! Try to keep showers to 2 minutes and keep baths to the minimum.
The average bath uses 80-120 litres of water, whereas a 2 minute low flow shower will only use 19 litres.
Insulate! Ensuring your house is well insulated will make a big difference in how much energy you spend on heating. The more insulated your house, the less cold air will seep in. Simply opening your curtains to let in the sun and closing them the moment a cool breeze creeps in can help to naturally keep your house warm. Make sure you have thick curtains, or even use blankets as drapes, to really keep the chill at bay. Sealing up any cracks will help to keep warmth in and the cold out. Look out for spaces at the bottom of the door and cracks around windows, these are the most common places where cold air can creep in.
Switch Off Those Lights! Whenever you leave a room make it a habit to switch the lights off behind you and be mindful of not leaving the lights on during the day.
Grow Green! Keep a tub in your kitchen sink to catch any water from washing hands, rinsing veg or dishcloths and use that water to water your plants. Get some exercise and use a bucket to empty the bathtub – perfect water for your lawn or garden!
*Make sure you use biodegradable and eco-friendly shampoos, conditioners, soaps and dishwashing liquids so you don’t harm your plants with toxic chemicals. You will find all of these at the Faithful to Nature online store.
If you’re wanting to kick it up a notch check out the following low-cost actions that will take your “green game” to the next level.
Low-Flow is the Way. Installing a low-flow showerhead will greatly reduce your water usage.
Test your current showerhead to see how efficient it is with The Bucket Test. Simply hold a bucket under your shower for 12 seconds and see how much water you collect. If you collect more than 2 litres your shower is using more than 10 litres per minute, which isn’t very efficient when you compare that to a low-flow shower which only uses 6-8 litres per minute.
HOTSPOT it! The HotSpot is an award winning innovation that every home using a geyser should have. The hotspot is retrofitted to the geyser element, helping you get hot water faster than usual.
With the hotspot in your geyser you can get 50 litres of water, at 50 degrees Celsius in 30 minutes.
This inexpensive product will make your geyser 27% more energy efficient – a worthy investment all round!
Good Lighting = Green Lighting. Replacing all your light bulbs with LED lights is an excellent step to start reducing your electricity consumption. Investing in energy efficient light bulbs or day/night lamps for outdoor security lighting will also go a long way towards making your home more energy efficient.
Heat up the Cosy Way! Heating is very energy intensive and it’s best to steer clear of wasteful heating practices. Underfloor heating, wall heating and electrical heaters use a lot of energy but don’t give you that instant heat you want for your frozen fingers and toes. Rather stick to electric blankets and hot water bottles, and if you’re wanting to heat a large space opt for a gas heater or a sustainable wood fire.
Burn Sustainably. If you have a wood fire it’s important to make sure you’re burning wood sustainably. Using wood pellets made from scrap wood and sawdust from tree fellers is a great option. When it comes to firelighters – try the fabulous NEW eco-friendly Rhino Balls by Megamaster. They are made from rhino dung and supporting rhino conservation too!
Scraps to Soil! Food waste in landfills is a large contributor to the release of methane gas into the atmosphere, which causes global temperatures to rise. Keep your food scraps out of the landfill and start composting instead. There are endless options when it comes to composting. Check out Earth Probiotic Recycling Solutions founded by our Green Star Karen Heron or pop onto Faithful to Nature and get yourself a Bokashi Bin.
If you’ve gone through all the no-cost and low-cost tips and tricks and feel ready to graduate to the next step then consider these “invest-to-save” actions that will really have your home screaming “GREEN” from every corner!
Ed’s Note: Take a look at the excellent advice on creating a waste conscious home provided by Postwink!
From the Sun – You can find solar alternatives to many household necessities, such as solar geysers, pumps and of course solar panels.
That Pool Pump Again! Installing an energy efficient pool pump along with cutting down on how many hours you have it running will give your energy consumption cuts that extra kick.
Keepin’ it Cool. An energy efficient fridge is a great investment to ensure you’re not wasting energy and money on keeping those veggies fresh!
Remember it’s a journey – take your time and make changes that are sustainable for the both the planet and your family.
Ed’s Note: Waste Reduction plays a big part in making your home greener and SAVING – don’t miss our Zero Waste Guide for more info on this topic: