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Smarter Energy Choices

smart energy choices

We can make a difference through the energy choices we make in our own lives

As you know at Project 90 we work hard (and smart too) for social change, most notably, significant changes to our lifestyles which can eventually lead to a just and sustainable future. Our day to day lifestyle choices influence our carbon, energy, water and environmental footprints and have an impact today, tomorrow and beyond. The longer we continue not to change to smarter lifestyle options, the earlier and heavier the payback is likely to be.

Unless we change to less carbon-intensive lifestyles, we will not achieve the 350ppm (parts per million) of CO2, which is the upper safety limit for atmospheric CO2 – required for a safe human habitat. Actually the latest statistics show that we are at 395ppm, and the trend continues to show an upward trajectory.

History has shown that mankind can adapt to dramatic changes. One of the reasons why slavery was ended was because it was deemed as inhumane and therefore socially unacceptable. Despite (mostly economic) resistance to the ending of an era of human exploitation, widespread social determination to prioritise justice over exploitation won out.

Similarly, environmental exploitation is becoming socially unacceptable.  Perspectives on energy use that are shortsighted and harmful to people and planet are increasingly rejected by forward-thinking citizens.

We have a choice! All of us – well, some of us, namely those who have enough (and more) access to energy – can use less and still have a comfortable lifestyle, and of the many who are  yet to benefit from ‘development’, can have access to smarter options far more quickly with modern and clean energy services.

Smarter Energy Choice – starts with you. At home, use less, choose efficient lighting,  use a smaller car and travel less, install a solar water heater. If you have a pool, use a solar powered pool pump, check that your home is sufficiently insulated before buying a heater, eat less meat, grow some of your own food – collective action can drive wider social change, there is no time to lose.

Project 90 with its network partners in the Electricity Governance Initiative of South Africa have contributed to the compilation of the SMART Electricity Planning report – which highlights an improved approach to Electricity planning in South Africa.

It includes ambitious, but achievable energy conservation and efficiency targets. It proposes that beyond currently built, non-renewable and unsustainable power stations, no more such power stations should be built in South Africa. Electricity demand in South Africa can, and must be supported by ethical and smart renewable energy options, both at large scale (utilities, municipalities and industries), and small scale. The SMART Electricity Plan will be officially launched soon (watch our blog for an announcement of the exact date & to download a version of the report) and will help all of us to influence decision makers we encounter – politicians, social, academic and business leaders.

A report that can inspire new ways of thinking is especially relevant now. The country’s electricity master plan, the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) from 2010, will be reviewed later this year; the Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) is under development; the National Planning Commission is busy developing its own energy vision and implementation plan;  Eskom wants more money and everybody is talking about a Green Economy. With our SMART Electricity Plan in hand, we can all be well positioned to challenge those decision makers to make smarter choices.

We want to challenge every individual to take the lead in your family and social network and question decisions and choices that will end up leaving future generations to pick up the bill.

Remember we welcome your stories of the changes you make in your lifestyle and thinking. We will share them with our wide community of readers and followers – and hopefully many of them will be inspired and follow your example!

Robert Fischer – Head of Research and Policy

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4 responses to “Smarter Energy Choices

  1. Judy Scott-Goldman

    has anyone worked out what the saving in electricity would be if we all switiched to LED lightbulbs? (I have changed most of mine.)

  2. Hmm, well we have solar panels on our pool, but he have an olympic sized pool. Pro-tip, if you have a smaller pool its a gigantic waste of money. You won’t get that much out of it anyway, I would stick to the old solar canvas cover. solar panels Venice FL

  3. Michael Hill

    I am in the business of manufacturing pre-fabricated buildings and have contracts for homes that |I wish to be as energy efficient as saving our planet demands. We are involved with a wide range of products and solutions but there is one big elephant in the room that we all seem to ignore. Its name is “net metering”. If only I had the ability to contact those capable of forcing government to in turn oblige Eskom to allow those of us who generate PV power to be paid for what we generate and pay net for what we take from the grid. One decision and virtually all our electricity generating problems will be solved. But there are powerful forces at work opposing it – Eskom’s monopoly under threat and Local Authorities terrified to face a loss in electricity sales profits.
    Mike Hill of Khaya Readykit.
    082 403 6929

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