top tips for greening your home

Improving a building’s green credentials doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul. From lightbulbs to laundry, there are many easy and affordable changes that can help make your home a better space to live in – for you, your family and the environment.

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Lights, energy, action…

Minimising your home’s energy use is a big priority wherever you live, but especially so in South Africa, where electricity shortages and rising costs present a serious challenge now and into the future.

What can you do?

  • Select energy-efficient lightbulbs like LEDs (light-emitting diodes). They may be a little more expensive to purchase, but they last four to five times longer than traditional lights and they’ll help you cut your electricity bill in the long run. (And make sure you switch those lights off when you leave the room…)
  • Choose efficient appliances. When shopping around, look for the energy label – the current South African label provides a rating from A down to G (with A being the most efficient).
  • On the list of energy-sapping culprits in your home, your geyser is probably the biggest offender: it represents as much as 40% of your total electricity bill. Make sure your geyser is set at an optimal temperature (between 55°C and 65°C) and install a geyser blanket to help reduce heat loss. Better still, consider installing a solar water heater – it will pay for itself in savings in just three years or so.
  • Get smarter with your cooking. Gas and induction stoves use less power than their electric counterparts, or you can consider some lower-cost options. Modern slow cookers can be a remarkably energy-efficient option (some models use just a little more energy than a traditional light bulb), while non-electric slow cookers like the Wonderbag are changing lives in South Africa and beyond.

Click here for more energy-saving tips.

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Wise about water 

With drought affecting so many parts of the country, saving water in your home is more important than ever.

What can you do?

  • Showering instead of bathing, closing the tap when brushing teeth, fixing leaks and other small changes to our day-to-day behaviour can make a big difference.
  • Installing low-flow showerheads and taps, as well as efficient toilets, can cut water use by up to 70%! (Placing a water displacement device like a plastic litre bottle in the toilet cistern is a low-cost option.)
  • Installing systems that collect rainwater from the roof, or grey water from sinks, showers and appliances, can be a great recycling tactic. Find out more here.

Click here for more water-wise tips.

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Waste not, want not

South Africa produces around 108 million tons of waste per year – and 90% of that waste ends up in our landfills, which are rapidly running out of room. What’s more, our landfills generate a significant amount of harmful greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change.

What can you do?

  • Recycling is a great way to keep the environment clean, conserve natural resources and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills … all while benefitting the economy. Separate your household waste into designated bins. Mixed recycling like paper, certain plastics, glass and cans should be separated from regular waste. You can also keep a separate bin for organic waste from the kitchen and garden, which can be used for composting. (Here’s a handy guide to which products you can and can’t recycle.)
  • Donating old or unused items, repairing broken possessions instead of replacing them, avoiding disposable goods, buying refills and many other small changes to our behaviour can make a big impact, too.

Click here for more tips on how to reduce, reuse and recycle.

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Before you move in … ask!

Environmentally conscious decisions can be made even before you settle in and start making green changes in your home.

What can you do?

  • When considering a rental or property purchase, ask some basic questions about the building’s green features before you sign on the dotted line. What is the average energy bill? Is there a solar water heater? Are the lightbulbs energy-efficient? This will help you make a more informed choice in selecting a home that is comfortable, cheaper to run and better for the environment.
  • As South Africa’s cities work to encourage green building, we may soon see the introduction of ‘sustainability declarations’ – checklists that are completed by landlords or sellers detailing a property’s environmental and sustainability credentials. More and more, we should all be doing our part to increase community awareness of the value of these features.

Top tips for greening your home

From lightbulbs to laundry, there are lots of easy and affordable changes you can make to improve your home’s green credentials.

Find out more here.

Green building myths

Let’s debunk some common misconceptions about green buildings.

Find out more here.

Green building news

From new technologies to exciting projects and industry updates, get the latest news on green buildings.

Read more here.