With all the false facts and sales B-S, it is difficult knowing where to start. This is a layman’s guide, not a sales pitch as to what you need to know.

  1. Install energy efficient lighting LED’S in your home or business
    1. The cost of energy efficient lighting, as a result of price competition has fallen dramatically over the last few years
    2. As a general guide, buy well known brands
    3. Be careful on choosing LED’s that are dimmable, as frequently the dimmer is not suited to the LED chosen
    4. Go for more watts rather than less, as lumens can reduce over time.
    5. Make sure that the heat loss, or ventilation to remove any heat is good, as otherwise the expected life can reduce by up to 80%
    6. The payback on electrical savings will typically be 9 months to 2 years
    7. We do not sell lighting but can recommend trusted 3rd parties.
  2. Retrofit existing geysers with a solar water heating system
    1. Install a complete solar water heating system on new builds and extensions
    2. Water heating (with electricity) is typically 35% to 60% of the home’s monthly bill
    3. Solar water heaters, if correctly sized with the required solar power output, can replace up to 100% of the electricity that is consumed in heating the water
    4. The payback on investment can be as little as 2 years with a life expectancy of over 25 years
    5. The effective savings can be 80% on using electricity, giving investment returns of up to 850% over 10 years
    6. Make sure your supplier gives you all the essential hot water and financial performance data, not all the jargon, which is relatively meaningless.
    7. We do manufacture solar water geysers in South Africa. There are several good brands out there, and a large number of indifferent ones. We believe we are one of the best.
  3. Heat pumps in a domestic environment receive very mixed reviews.
    1. Frequent complaints include noise, (particularly at night), vibration, and poor performance (particularly in the high veld), lower than expected electrical savings, poor installation and maintenance.
    2. For large volumes of water, over 500 litres and particularly for hotels, they can be a very good solution, and where space for solar water collectors is not available.
    3. They can also be used successfully for swimming pool heating.
    4. We do not sell heat pumps but can recommend trusted 3rd parties.
  4. Gas water heating is becoming increasingly attractive, even with bottled gas, particularly if used in conjunction with solar water heating.
  5. Solar electric PV (Photo Voltaic), or solar electric generation for immediate use or stored with batteries
    1. Ideal for 8 hours / 365 days, for example for shopping malls, or businesses that use the electricity in the day
    2. Payback in these examples can be as low as 6 years.
    3. Solar PV for homes, unless you have spare cash burning a hole in your pocket, or you hate Eskom, or you are off grid, is still expensive due to the cost of the batteries.
    4. Payback will be 7-9 years without batteries, 12-15 years with batteries, and up to 19 years if done with finance.
    5. Home solar PV systems will typically range from as low as R30,000 to R120,000. Be aware that the true cost of savings needs to take into account the replacement of the batteries in 5-15 years time.
    6. Using Eskom power at night for lighting etc is still cheaper than using PV (when the cost of battery cycles are taken in to account)
    7. Solar PV can be used with an electric geyser, but the cost is almost double the cost of solar water heating technology for the same kWh savings.
    8. Although it is a personal opinion, there is no hurry to install solar PV in the home at 2017. Prices will continue to fall in real terms, and the more acceptable payback period will come down, as the price of electricity continues to escalate.
    9. We do not sell PV, but can recommend several reputable suppliers
  6. Grey and Black Water Recycling will become increasingly important in future years.
    1. The cost of water is escalating rapidly
    2. The water shortages around the country are unlikely to abate, as the investment in new water supply and sewage treatment has not kept up with increases in urban population
    3. The current water shortages in the Western and Eastern Cape will become the norm rather than the exception
    4. There are a number of very effective grey and black water recycling plants for home use, or homes in a group.
    5. Cost of payback is typically between 3 and 5 years
    6. We do not sell water treatment but can recommend several reputable suppliers.

In summary remember that for every kWh of electricity saved off the grid, just over 1kG of carbon is being removed and over 1 litre of water used in making the electricity. Saving electricity will help climate change mitigation and help preserve our water resources.

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