According to Earthlife Africa Johannesburg’s Elana Greyling, with climate change a red hot reality, South Africans need to find ways of keeping cool this summer and save energy. Greyling, who works with women from with local communities in Lephalale in Limpopo, shares a number of tips for keeping cool, and saving electricity, this summer.
The most important tip to keep cool and save energy in your home or business, is to isolate. Whether you live in a shack or a palace, keeping your home isolated, keeps the heat out in summer and inside in winter.
Ceilings are very important to your isolation efforts. These should be fitted with some kind of material, such as a space blanket or some other form of isolation. In an informal settlement, heat can be kept out by using egg cartons (to form the first layer of isolation). Create a ceiling with something as simple as a cardboard box. ‘Wall paper’ can also keep an informal house cool. Use wallpaper glue or flour, salt and water mixture-glue to paste old newspaper to your walls. This can be painted when dry and leaves a paper Mache wallpaper, which keeps the heat out.
Open your windows when it is cooler outside, but close them as soon as the heat of the day rises. This leaves your cool air inside. On the other hand, closing curtains can also keep a room cooler.
- Switch off-off
Save energy this summer by switching your electric appliances OFF. If there is a light shining, it is using power. So, don’t just use the remote. Switch it off and plug it out. Even cell phone chargers use electricity when plugged in.
- Keep yourself cool
Save energy by not heating bath water or switching the geyser off. A cool bath lowers the body temperature and leaves you feeling refreshed. Wet your bandana before putting it around your neck or use a wet face cloth around the back of your neck cooling down the brain stem.
Use a hand fan. It is stylish, mysterious and keeps you cool. Or, put a bowl of water in front of your electric fan to spray a cool mist and moisten the air.
- Keeping cool in the kitchen
Try not to cook during the hottest part of the day, and rather make use of cool foods such as fresh uncooked veggies and salads. It may not be as expensive as you think. Cabbage, carrots and cucumber are awesome cool veggies. You can even try cooking cold soups from lemons, cucumber, pumpkin, tomato and various other veggies, or make a cool drink using cucumber or berries and lemon in your water.
Make some delicious, easy treats, but freeze fruit juice or affordable cooldrink mixes in ice cube holders, re-used yogurt cups as ice lolly forms. You can even use a teaspoon in your yoghurt cups to make iced lollies.
Also, try to keep cooking time to a minimum. Save energy by planning what you want to do in the kitchen. Don’t switch on the stove while you are still looking for ingredients, or stand in front of the open fridge, daydreaming.
- Use renewable energy
Use a washing line for drying clothes, but hang your special clothes (such as undies) in the shade. Hang your clothes on hangers and press flat with your hand, to minimize ironing.
And rather let your dishes air- or drip-dry. That way you can enjoy that time with your family.
- Think before you switch on
Boiling a kettle over and over because you got distracted the first time, or boiling a full kettle for one cup, is a huge waste of energy. This is something many of us are guilty of. Start to think more energy wise, before you push that button and save energy this festive season.