Just over three months ago, the Ngewana family publicly committed to cutting their electricity consumption by 40 percent, water by 20 percent and waste to landfill by 75 percent at the launch of My Green Home. Their targets seemed ambitious at the time. But today, the Green Building Council reveals that the household has surpassed those goals, even before the project is complete.
The family first reduced their electricity use with no-cost behaviour changes such as reducing the geyser thermostat setting from 70 to 60 degrees, shortening their showers and cutting the time that their pool pump was running from over 10 hours to just 3 hours for the winter. Along with other actions, these brought down the average number of kilowatt hours they use each day by a third (33 percent).
Then the house underwent a ‘retrofit’ with a wide range of energy-saving equipment installed. Some of the biggest savings seen so far have been as a result of the LED lighting from Eurolux, the Speck variable-speedpool pump, and the Caloreclosed-combustion fireplace for winter heating. Aerolite ceiling insulation is also making their home a much warmer place to be this winter. The technology intervention reduced electricity consumption further, to 48 percent below the Ngewana family’s starting point. Further savings are likely in months to come, when summer’s warm sun returns and their solar water heater will reach its full potential.
The family has also cut water consumption by 45 percent through a combination of behaviour changes and new equipment, including Lecico dual-flush toilets, Hansgrohe efficient showerheads, mixers and taps and a Water Rhapsodygreywater system to irrigate the garden with water from the bath, shower, basins and laundry. With the savings on electricity and water combined, the Ngewanas are set to spend about R18,000 less in the coming year than they would have with their former home and lifestyle.
Finally, their waste being sent to landfill in the municipal garbage truck each week has fallen by 82 percent, with 67 percent being recycled and 15 percent composted for the garden.
The My Green Home website offers advice on all of the strategies used by the Ngewana family to reach their goals, and much more. Visitors towww.mygreenhome.org.za will find short videos, tools, guides and references to help them along their own green path to savings.
My Green Home is led by the Green Building Council South Africa, with main co-funding from the German government through the South African-German Energy Programme (SAGEN). It’s also supported by the 49M campaign, Karebo Systems, the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) and a range of product sponsors and partner organisations.
Those who participate in My Green Home stand a chance to win green prizes, including the grand prize: their own ‘green home makeover’. Those who submit a photo of themselves checking their electricity bill, meter or monitor to the website or via Twitter (@mygreenhomesa) by 12h00 on Monday 28st July are eligible for this week’s prizes in a random draw, as well as the grand prize.