Eco Inspiration –

19 05 2010

Inhabitat - Marin Hill House

Image from

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: 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 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.