But if you really want to make significant savings you should take a look at how much water and electricity you consume as well as how much this costs you.
Follow this up with an eco-audit and you will have a real picture of what your biggest cost drivers are. An eco-audit is a process of extracting information about how your home is performing in its consumption of resources such as water and electricity to assess its impact on the environment or how you can reduce the effects or the costs.
Once you have established how much water and electricity you are using, you can then set yourself some realistic goals and reduction targets.
Remember, the more water and electricity you’re able to save, the more cash you’ll save.
What’s great is that once you have started to make some changes there are lots of useful tools on the market that can help you monitor your water and electricity consumption. Consider installing a water or electricity meter and you will be able to track your usage from month-to-month.
As a start, look at your electricity bill. Electricity is billed by a kilowatt hour (kWh) which equates to using 1000 watts of electricity for an hour. You can check how many kWh’s you are using by checking your bill or if you use prepaid electricity, your supplier will be able to tell you how many units or kWh you have bought. Calculate the total number of kWh you have used in the last year. Remember it is better to compare usage to the same time or season in the previous period e.g. compare your winter consumption of 2016 with your winter consumption in 2017.
Houses come in different sizes, so a good way to think about electricity consumption is to look at the size of your home versus your consumption.
To calculate your consumption:
- Add up your electricity consumption for the past year. (kWh)
- Calculate the usable space of your home. (square meters, or m2)
- Divide your electricity consumption by your usable space. (kWh/m2)
When you are serious about cutting your consumption to reduce your bill you will most likely want to monitor your consumption on a daily or monthly basis. This helps you track if your changes are truly helping you save money.
So you need to divide your annual consumption (kWh) by 365 days so you have a daily benchmark for comparison before and after you start getting Smart. Since the most common billing system is month-to-month, you can also do it on a monthly basis, i.e. by calculating your daily consumption and then multiplying it by 30 days to see your monthly consumption.
A further step in determining your usage is by conducting an eco-audit. At times there are hidden energy guzzlers that push your bills higher. This could be in the kitchen, in the laundry, the lounge, at the pool or in the roof. You could do a manual audit or use Eskom’s audit calculator to see which lights or appliances use the most energy. This audit will help you in determining where you need to focus your saving efforts more.
With a manual audit, you check the wattage of all the lights and appliances in your home and estimate the hours each of them are used per day to see where most of your usage is concentrated. Go through each room for instance, and list all the appliances while recording their wattage at the same time. Then you note how long each one is in use on any given day and how many watts it used. You’ll then need to do a calculation to work out which appliances or features are using the most electricity.
Eskom’s Audit Calculator
An alternative audit method is the online one where the Eskom Audit Calculator will do all the calculations for you and spot the areas with the highest electricity use in your home. Before you go online to try out the calculator, take a pen and paper and walk around your house to record things like; the number of lights in each room and their wattages, approximate size of your fridge in litres, the wattage of your pool pump and the hours it’s set to run for, the size of your home’s floor space and your electricity tariff in Rands per KWh.
After creating a user account on the calculator, you will then fill in the answers, the calculator will do its job of guessing the wattage of each appliance. You will ultimately get an illustration of how much electricity you use and some suggestions on where you can save.
For water bills, a record of consumption over a 12-month period would be useful in showing you how your consumption varied from the wet to the dry seasons for instance. Similar to your electricity bill, your water bill would show you how much you used in kilolitres, a kilolitre is 1000 litres of water. Keeping and looking at these records will show you where you could make savings or improve by using less. Calculate your daily and monthly water usage to help you track if your changes are truly helping you save your money.
So what are you waiting for?
Start recording your usage today and you can start making changes to start saving.
You’ve got nothing to lose and a healthy bank balance to gain.