We’ve Moved!

30 06 2010

Same great blog, splinky new location! You can now find us spreading energy efficiency at http://www.ecoheat.co.za/blog/.

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Eskom Energy Efficient Lighting Design Competition

22 06 2010

I love this. Not only is this competition supporting more widespread use of energy efficient CFL lighting, but also gets students involved. And what better way to get consumers interested in purchasing energy efficient lighting than really cool design. The competition has two categories:

  • In category A students submit a luminaire (lamp) design for residential use
  • In category B  professionals submit an original energy efficient lighting design

Prizes total R200 000 and entries must be received by 30 July, 2010. For more information check out www.lighting-design.co.za. I can’t wait to see what these creative greenies come up with!





Eco Inspiration – Inhabitat.com

19 05 2010

Inhabitat - Marin Hill House

Image from Inhabitat.com

This is one cool website. When I’m feeling a bit uninspired, I can always count on Inhabitat to come to my rescue. Their mission, in their own words:

Inhabitat.com is a weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future.

The site covers a wide range of products, ideas, design and conferences/events. From modular homes to lighting to common items re-purposed as art, they’ve got it covered. With a mix of accessible and slightly more aspirational items (hello, body powered electronics), it provides a great showcase of where sustainable thought leaders are headed.





Eskom’s Tips on Staying Warm this Winter

19 05 2010

Eskom has a series of tips for consumers on their Demand Side Management (DSM) site. These are PDF downloads that provide information and suggestions, covering a range of topics. Some of these include Building Tips, Hot Water Heating and Energy Saving Tips for Winter.

In Energy Saving Tips for Winter, infrared heating is called out as ‘the most energy effective’ option, with discussion on insulation, using a heater appropriate for the space and heating only areas where you will be spending time.

Its nice to see Eskom providing simple, helpful information and tips to help consumers decrease electricity usage. Now if that electricity could just come from more renewable sources…





More Energy Saving Tips

14 05 2010

Because no one likes a shockingly high electricity bill!

These awesome tips come from Electro Sense, provider of an energy management solution for air conditioning and lighting. This solution helps to lower business’ operating costs by using energy in a significantly more efficient way.

The tips cover your whole house, including kitchen appliances, lighting, cooling and (wait for it…) heating. A few highlights are listed below – head on over to the Electro Sense website for the complete list.

Dishwasher

  • Dishwasher energy consumption can be reduced by turning off the dishwasher after the final rinse and before the drying cycle. The clean dishes can then be wiped with a dry cloth.
  • Fill the dishwasher completely before operating. Partial loads waste electricity and water.
  • Short wash cycles, rinse-only cycles, mid-cycle turn-off, and other features are designed for energy conservation as well as convenience.
  • Connect your dishwasher to COLD water supply unless otherwise directed. Normally only one wash and one final rinse cycle requires hot water which is heated by an element in the dishwasher.
  • The dishwasher filters must be kept clear of debris. A blocked filter reduces efficiency and wastes energy.
  • Proper loading is important for the dishwasher to work efficiently.

Lighting

  • You will save energy, money and eye strain by lighting your home properly. Follow these guidelines:
  • The wattage of a bulb is not a measure of the amount of light it gives, but rather the energy it uses. For instance, a 100 watt bulb gives 50% more light than four 25 watt bulbs.
  • Fluorescent lamps give five times the light and last up to 10 times as long as ordinary bulbs.
  • Fluorescent lighting is more economical – Watt for Watt than incandescent bulbs. They use less energy and can last about 10 times longer.
  • Never confine lighting to one part of the room. Avoid heavy contrast by using lamp shades that direct light both up and down.
  • Try not to install multiple lights (lamps or lighting fixtures) on a single switch. Above all, turn lights off whenever possible because, they use electricity while they burn.
  • Install occupancy sensors to control your lighting. Sensors will turn the lights on automatically and turn them off after you have left a room. Click here for more information.
  • Clean your lamps and bulbs regularly, because dirt decreases the amount of light given out.
  • Dimming switches allow you to regulate the light level and reduce electricity consumption to some extent.
  • Use lampshades with a white liner. Liners should be sufficiently dense to hide the bulb but should transmit soft, even light.
  • Use low energy lamps (CFL’s) for your lighting where possible. Most CFL’s can not be dimmed.

Heaters

  • Infrared heaters are more electricity efficient than other space heating systems. These types of heaters can be used both for spot heating and area heating. They transfer energy directly by radiation, creating heat and comfort instantly without the use of air-circulation fans. An infrared heater will warm the people in the room rather than the space. Infra-red heaters often use metal-sheated infrared radiation elements, reflector lamps or quartz tubes.
  • The oil filled heater is the safest type of heater for the bedroom. A thermostat control switches the unit on and off as required, but to save energy, only use on the lowest comfortable setting.
  • Electric blankets consume little electricity. However, the correct method of use is to switch them on to the highest setting and warm the bed just before climbing in – then switch them off.
  • Close doors and windows when using a heater.




Weatherize and Save Energy This Winter

26 04 2010

Weatherization (also commonly known as weatherproofing) can make your home more comfortable while lowering your electricity usage and costs this winter. Follow the eight easy steps below to prepare your home for the coming winter.

1. Perform an energy audit:
An energy audit will help you to find out where you’re wasting energy. It involves analyzing where you use energy and how efficiently you’re using it. Some findings common in energy audits are drafty windows or fireplaces, energy loss due to poor insulation and inefficient appliances. These guides: City of Cape Town, Energy Savers and Sustainable.gov are good starting points.

2. Insulate:
Keep the warm air in and the cold air out this winter with effective insulation. According to Eskom, “As much as 50% of heat losses in a house can be attributed to a lack of ceilings and ceiling insulation.” (source) As an added bonus – insulation will also help to keep your home cooler in the summer. Check out these recycled insulation providers for more information: Eco Insulation, Isotherm or Thermguard.

3. Weather stripping:
Did you identify drafty windows or doors during your energy audit? Use weather stripping and draft stoppers to combat heat loss. Weather stripping can be done using specific weather stripping materials or with caulk or silicone (DIY instructions). Details on how to make your own draft stopper for windows and doors can be found here.

4. Curtains:
Use the curtains in your home to make the most of the heating power of the sun. Open curtains to allow sun in and then close promptly after the sun has set or moved – trapping more of the most eco friendly, (and free!) heat available. Upgrading to thick curtains (especially on large windows) will increase the efficiency of this tactic.

5. Heaters:
Space or zone heating is an effective and energy efficient way to make your home warmer and more comfortable during the winter. Infrared heaters are a highly efficient method of zone heating because they heat objects instead of the ambient air temperature. This provides a targeted, focused, near-instant heat that can be used as needed and prevents wasting electricity heating unused areas. Eskom calls infrared heating “…more electricity efficient than other space heating systems” (source). For more information on infrared heating, visit www.ecoheat.co.za.

6. Mind Your Geyser:
Water heating can account for 30 – 40% of your home’s total electricity cost (source).  The three tactics below can help you to make a significant dent in your water heating electricity cost and usage.

  1. Geyser timers allow you to program your geyser to turn on and off on a schedule. This prevents your geyser from running constantly without having to sacrifice comfort.
  2. Geyser blankets decrease heat lost when the hot water warms the geyser and surrounding air. Find timers and blankets here.
  3. Replacing your traditional geyser with a solar geyser can be an effective way to reduce your water heating electricity consumption. This is becoming more and more of a financially viable option, due to the rising electricity tariffs and larger Eskom rebates on solar geyser purchases. Interested? Check out Green Power, who offers one of the largest Eskom rebates available.  For more information on Eskom solar rebates, see here.

7. Kettle:
A hot cup of tea, coffee or cocoa is always helpful for beating a winter chill. However, your kettle may be using more electricity that you think. Ensuring that you heat only the amount of water you need helps to save electricity. If you’re in need of a new kettle, check out the Eco Kettle. It allows you to select the number of cups you need and heats only that amount.

8. Monitoring:
To ensure that the above measures are decreasing your electricity use and to escape any surprises on your monthly electricity bill, consider investing in an energy monitor. More information on energy monitors can be found here.  If you use pre-paid electricity, you can skip the monitor altogether – simply record your electricity balance at the same time each day or week to monitor usage.

Have any other helpful tips? Feel free to leave them in the comments!





Stay Warm, Save Energy…What’s not to like?

21 04 2010
Snowy Winter

Photo courtesy of http://www.freefoto.com

Ok, so its not really that cold here – but winter has definitely arrived. I’m finding it harder and harder to pull myself out from under the covers in the morning and my annual winter cravings for steaming bowls of soup, toasted crusty bread and a glass of red wine have returned with a vengeance.

Fortunately, the team at Liveeco is all over it, and has posted an article on greener ways to stay warm this winter. We’re stoked to have our infrared heaters mentioned as an energy efficient, economical part of a warm and eco friendly home!

To ensure a warm, comfy and energy efficient winter at your house, check out our infrared heaters before our special summer pricing ends on 30 April.