Greening your home is no longer just a buzz phrase, especially when one thinks of the cost of electricity and the recent water shortages we’ve had. These considerations make going green as much a necessity for your pocket as it does for our planet.
Claire Cardwell, owner of Blue Designs, shares easily implantable tips to create a healthier home environment.
Insulating your roof and your geyser will dramatically reduce the heating costs in your home. It is a requirement that all new houses (and extensions to existing houses) have insulation in the roof and geysers wrapped in a blanket.
Control your lighting
Using CFLs (Compact fluorescent lights) or LEDs is one of the simplest things you can do to save on energy costs. Using Dimmers is also a good idea as dimmers will double the life of your bulb and use less wattage. If you have children, sensors are a great way to be sure that lights aren’t left turned on.
Ceiling fans are far more energy efficient and quieter than air-conditioning units. It’s a good idea to put one above each bed for comfortable sleeping.
Top tip: A much overlooked but practical space for a ceiling fan is in the stairwell because it assists with the overall cooling of your home.
Protect your Trees
Trees are like natural air conditioners because they provide shade. A shaded house can be 10 degrees cooler than a house in direct sunlight.
Install a clothesline or drying station
Give your dryer a holiday by installing a clothesline and / or incorporating a drying station in your laundry.
Use eco-friendly cleaning products
One of the most basic cleaning products are vinegar and baking soda, however many manufacturers now offer a green range of cleaning products as well.
Wooden floors will keep you warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Thatch roofs are also great insulators. Timber buildings also have great thermal properties.
Use your windows for more than a view
By controlling the size and location of windows you can effectively manage the amount of light and heat they let inside during different times of the day. Simple steps, like drawing curtains on a hot day to keep hot air out, or opening opposing windows so air flows more efficiently can greatly reduce energy costs.
Put your house to bed
Make putting your house to bed every night routine. Turn off all lights, turn off and unplug all electronics and appliances. Turn down or turn off the heating / air-conditioning.
Who is Claire Cardwell?
Claire Cardwell of Blue Designs is an architectural designer with over 15 years experience in the Johannesburg area. She has worked on small projects – double garages, swimming pools – and new houses from a 1,300m² house in Featherbrooke Estate, to houses of only 110m² in size. In 2015/2016 she worked on a small complex, a warehouse, a nursery school and new houses in the Waterfall Country Estate, Copperleaf Estate, and in Limpopo on an old-age home and frail care facility in North Riding.