Our home is the first place we can begin doing what’s best for us, and what’s best for the planet. Our households are the starting point for consumption of resources. Every decision we make at home has a ripple effect to the other sectors of the economy. The best place to start making a difference is with the habits we form and the choices we make within our homes. By making simple changes we can not only do the right thing, but we can save money when we sustainably change the way we consume energy, water and produce waste.
I logged on to Project 90’s Household tool and took a virtual tour of my house. In each room I could choose which actions I would like to commit to taking, in order to reduce my carbon footprint. If I wasn’t ready to take an action now, I could choose to do it later. At the end of the tour (it took around 15 minutes to complete) I got a personalised action plan emailed to me so that I could be reminded of what I committed to do.
My total savings will be
• Energy: 1608 kWh per month.
• Water: 9300 litres per month.
• Cost: 1728 Rands per month.
• CO2: 1634 tonnes per month
These are pretty impressive savings don’t you think! And I have the potential to save even more once I commit to all the actions in a few months’ time.
Here are a few examples from my own action plan: most of the actions will cost nothing and I can start doing them immediately.
• Replace incandescent light bulbs (x4 @40W) with 11W CFL light bulbs.
• Put an extra blanket on instead of using electric blanket.
• Set desktop computers to hibernation mode if idle for 30 minutes or more.
• Unplug cell phone chargers when not in use.
• Switch off printers when not in use.
• Fix dripping hot water tap.
• Replace showerhead with low-flow showerhead.
• Place HIPPO bag in toilet cistern
• Choose to have a short shower instead of a bath.
• Use the microwave for cooking instead of the oven.
• If replacing electric oven/stove look into investing in a gas oven/stove.
• Defrost food in fridge overnight instead of the microwave.
• Match pot size with stove plate size.
• Switching off TV, DVD, stereo when not in use.
• Use fans in occupied rooms for cooling instead of reverse air-conditioning for the whole house.
• Set washing machine for cold water washes.
• Hang washing to dry in the sun.
• Fit security light with CFL light bulb and motion sensor.
• Reduce pool pump operation hours from 10 to 6 a day.
• Fit insulation to electric geyser and warm water pipes.
• Retrofit 150L electric geyser with solar water heater.
• Set temperature of electric geyser to 55 degrees.
Even though I already do many of the suggested actions, it was still a great exercise to see just how much carbon I am saving each month.
So give Project 90’s Household Tool a try and you’ll be amazed at the savings you can make. Please let us know what you think of it, we’d love your feedback.
Once you’ve done this, you can work out your overall carbon footprint on our website: http://www.90×2030.org.za.