Households use 15% of the City of Cape Town’s total energy consumption and 38% of all electricity consumed, according to the city’s State of Energy Report. Liquid fuel for transportation comprises half of all the energy used in Cape Town.
Energy shortages and increased fuel prices, as well as our country’s high carbon footprint is a current issue on everyone’s lips.
‘This has led to energy security becoming a major priority for government. Diversifying the mix of energy sources, and using existing supplies more efficiently are the key ways to achieve such a goal,’ said Ms Dipuo Peters, Minister of Energy.
Cape Town most carbon per GDP
The City of Cape Town launched their energy-saving campaign last month to tackle the problem of being the most carbon intensive city per GDP in the world. Over the next few months the City will be distributing electricity saving flyers and their rates accounts to homeowners. In addition, print and radio advertisements, presentations to community groups and exhibitions in shopping centres will encourage residents to save, as will awareness posters at prepaid electricity vendor outlets.
An Energy Efficiency Forum has been set up for large commercial and industrial electricity consumers to provide managers of offices, shopping centres, hotels and other commercial and industrial buildings with practical knowledge on energy efficiency solutions. The City has developed Green Building Guidelines and is also working on a programme to support the provision of solar water heaters.
The Youth Environmental School (YES) programme reaches about 1600 schools per annum which provide electricity saving awareness activities to school children. In addition Cape Town’s ‘Smart Living’ programmes reach thousands of public and private sector companies and residents each year.
Mid to high-income homes on average use twice as much energy as lower income homes in Cape Town and because of their greater use of electricity (a big carbon-producing fuel) they are responsible for up to three times as many carbon emissions.
Residential electricity consumption is responsible for 43% of total electricity consumption in Cape Town. The commercial sector uses 40% and the industrial sector 13%. The aim of the City’s energy campaign is to reduce electricity consumption by 25-40% in especially mid-high income groups. The city has devised a practical checklist and provided information on their website.
Breakdown of electricity use in Cape Town area (including losses)
Energy burdens for poorer folk
By contrast, energy is a big cost for many of Cape Town’s poorer households, where people spend as much as 15 to 25% of a household’s income on electricity. Almost all homes in Cape Town are now electrified. Many people still use paraffin for cooking and heating purposes, as they are often unable to afford new electrical appliances, or pay for electricity. Paraffin can also be bought in small quantities, or borrowed from neighbours, or on credit from local spazas, when cash is hard to come by.
Although firewood may be collected ‘free’ of charge from alien stands, this is very time-consuming and may be dangerous. There is also the danger of damaging the environment due to over-harvesting. Shack fires, poor household air quality, time spent collecting firewood and paraffin poisoning are some of the ‘energy burdens’ suffered by poorer Capetonians.
There are a number of ways in which you can calculate the energy you use in the home:
- Eskom Energy Calculator – calculates the operating costs of an individual appliance in your home and compares it to an alternative appliance.
- Eskom Quick Energy Audit – calculates the average household consumption of your home.
- Eskom Comprehensive Energy Audit – calculates a precise household consumption of your home.
- Just for fun, why not test your energy IQ?
Cape Town – Specific home consumption (mid-high income households)
Saving energy means saving money
Our homes run on energy. Every time we switch on an appliance, turn on a light, cook our food or heat our water we use energy. 25% of all CO2 released into the atmosphere from earth comes from the energy used to run homes. This means actions we take to improve energy use in our homes can really make a difference.
Using energy more efficiently will also save you lots of money!
‘Electricity tariffs are going up by about 20% in July this year and from 2010 to 2013 it’s likely to double,’ said Sarah Ward, the City’s Head of Energy and Climate Change. Making the best energy choices can make your home safer.
There are a variety of different ways you can help to save electricity. These vary from no-cost options, low cost options and long-term investments.
- Turn down the geyser thermostat to 60°C; this will save at least 5% on your bill
- Use less hot water, and take a short shower instead of a bath; wash a full load of dishes rather than one at a time; wash clothes at 30°C
- Switch off equipment when not in use; leaving appliances on stand-by still uses electricity
- Reduce pool pump operating hours: drop pool pump operating hours to 6 hours in summer and 4 hours in winter. Clean filters regularly and consider a pool cover.
- Reduce excessive heating and cooling: go for passive insulation instead
- Save energy in the car
Here are some ideas and great products to help you reduce your home or business’ energy usage. Please click on the banners to find more details.
- Purchase a geyser blanket to prevent heat loss and a timer to only heat when required. iPower supply a great SABS and Eskom approved timer for geyser control.
- Install energy efficient lighting. LEDs are the safest energy efficient bulbs as they do not contain mercury like CFLs.
Multisource Technologies is one of the only companies in South Africa manufacturing LED Lighting complete in their factory. From the machine assembly to the final packaging, everything is done in their LED Lighting factory in South Africa. LED Lighting offers up to an incredible 90% power saving compared to other lighting solutions. You can now find LED light in various products, like strip lighting, globes, fluorescent tubes, swimming pool lights, flood lights, down-lights, and more. The LEDs have a lifespan of 50,000 hours and are mercury-free, so require no special disposal procedures.
iPower SA also supply a range of LED light bulbs and LED tubes for around the home or business. iPower is associated with some of the leading industrial power solutions companies, and offer base line energy assessments. They also provide solar and wind energy solutions, and green consultations. Check out their power usage calculator to find out how much power is used around the home. A great benefit of this company is that they can visit your home with sample products that you can try out. Contact Paul for further information.
Future Light provides a selection of indoor and outdoor LED lighting. You are able to choose between either ‘warm white’ or ‘cool white.’
The first is a similar light output to that of a incandescent light bulb. Whereas Cool White is more like the color of white that is produced by fluorescent lights. It is 25% brighter than Warm White and is better for applications that require increased illumination or more energy efficient projects. They have a selection of pool lights in a variety of colours.
- Purchase energy efficient appliances when replacing old items around the house.
GW store provides eco-friendly fridges and freezers, geysers, energy efficient shower heads and plug units. Not only that, they also have a selection of LED lighting too. Why not treat yourself to an electrical bike which is the most energy and cost efficient form of transport! Fancy improving your knowledge on environmental issues? If so they also provide a selection of books and DVDs to get your brain cells stimulated.
- Purchase an eco-cooker. These come in a variety of designs such as solar cookers, fuel-efficient stoves and retained heat cookers. We have one in the garden and we even bake bread in it.
Sunfire have created amazing solar cookers that improve the taste of your food. Just ask anyone whose enjoyed a Solar Cooked meal. Solar Cooking is for everybody lucky enough to live on a planet powered by a sun and interested in delicious healthy food. The principle behind solar cooking is as fascinating as it is simple: sun rays are converted to heat and conducted into the pot. Solar cooking does not require any other fuels such as wood, paraffin, gas or coal to prepare delicious nutritious food. High-quality solar cookers can reach temperatures of over 200ºC which is more than enough to cook any kind of food, bake bread and just as importantly boil water securing vital clean drinking water supplies in any environment. Sunfire offers a variety of eco-cookers to suit your needs.
- Monitor how much electricity you use around the home with an electricity monitor. My Power Station provides a selection of electricity monitors and extra sensors to use around the home. These wireless electricity meters monitor your electricity consumption and can tell you at a glance how much electricity your home or business is using from moment-to-moment and in total (day, week, month and average consumption patterns).You can also upload the data to your PC. For further information please contact David.
- A tin roof loses a lot of heat during the winter and gets very hot in summer. Insulate the roof and paint it white (reflects light and is therefore cooler) or use aluminium or other roofing materials. Ceratech thermal barrier coatings use technology developed by NASA to reduce the heat of buildings by up to 45%. We can vouch for this as our office roof was painted with this product and we now have a more pleasant working environment!
- Grow a deciduous creeper or tree over a veranda or yard. During summer, these leafy plants shade your house. When the leaves are lost during autumn, the bare tree lets the rays into the house – through the windows – during the colder months (See the photo our green boardroom-stoep – top photo – or click here for a large version). During autumn the leaves drop off to turn this cool summer haven into a sunspot for the winter. Nature always knows best!
- Solar water heating and heat pumps – save 25% more on your electricity bill.
Sirac is a world leader in Heat Pump technology. Their heat pumps are designed to provide maximum efficiency and reliability in extreme climatic conditions. Sirac supplies both commercial and residential products. Solar heating companies to try are Solar Zone and TeljoySolar.
- Ceiling insulation keeps the home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Thermguard specialise in ceiling insulation. Save electricity by insulating your school, office, home or any other building. Be cool in summer and warm winter. Thermguard eco-friendly insulation is insect, rodent and fire resistant, non-irritant and non-toxic. They have insulated thousands of homes in the Western Cape and throughout the Country and are happy to provide references from previous customers. Being a loose fill product Thermguard fills every nook and cranny leaving no gaps where there may be temperature losses or temperature gains.
Cape Town’s Electricity consumption: mid-high residential income
Why saving energy is of benefit to you:
- Through saving energy you will save money in the long term, especially with the increase in energy prices this July.
- There is an electricity supply shortage, so by converting to renewable energy you can begin to be more self-sufficient and will be less affected by electricity cuts.
- You can help reduce your carbon footprint and feel good about it.
Saving electricity is good for everyone. You can save money, reduce the risk of load shedding, and make your own personal contribution to your planet.