Eco-Living Magazine

Abstract I: Electricity & Heating - Complementing Solar Energy with Sustainable Behaviour

Posted on the 15 February 2013 by Derick Ajumni
The 'Psychology of Sustainable behavior' written by Christie Manning, PhD (2009) tries to explain how many ways we can empower ourselves, and those around us to live more sustainably. She goes on to explain how our decisions are made by automatic, unconscious processes on the basis of information that our conscious, rational brains are hardly aware of. It would be awesome if humanity could get to the stage were being sustainable is an automated behavior. Installing a solar system at home or a place of business is an important step to be sustainable and reduce your carbon emissions drastically, and may help kick start the process to instill sustainable behavioral instincts in us.
Being sustainable at home will not only help reduce your expenses but also help the planet. This first abstract will provide us with some necessary tools that are very useful and beneficial during this process.
Let’s talk electricity conservation:
1. Invest in energy efficient appliances for your home. That old fridge doesn’t only help increase your carbon emissions but it’s also a heavy weight on your monthly bills.
2. Change and upgrade the lighting in your home, and take advantage of natural light.
3. Please avoid leaving electrical appliances on standby e.g. T.V, computer etc. Many of these still consume a substantial amount of energy when yielded annually.
4. Try as much as possible to avoid using your domestic dryer – if it’s nice out hang your cloths to dry.
5. As for the washing machine, try filling it to full loads and avoid using high temperatures for most loads.
6. As lighting for your outside parking, walkways, garden and other outdoor areas, experiment with solar lights. They charge an included battery in the day using energy from the sun for use as power at night.
7. Unplug! Especially that phone charger from the wall – although it’s not connected to your phone, it still consumes energy.
Being energy efficient at home is the tool to curb carbon emissions to a higher degree.
Let’s talk Heating, and how it may help in the process:
1. Start by knowing what your home efficiency performance is by doing a ‘Home Energy Performance investigation’. This will indicate where heat is lost from your home and areas with thin insulation. It will also indicate edges and gaps around doors, windows, floorboards and skirting boards where air flow is easily exchanged. This can be stopped by simply using a sealant.
2. Prevent your walls from absorbing most of the heat from your radiators by covering the back with aluminum foil – doing this will reflect all the heat waves back into the living space.
3. Prevent heat from leaving the house especially at night by closing all curtains to trap the heat in.
4. Install a smart thermostat which comes with a memory that reads or records your temperature choices and sets them automatically. They can also decrease the temperature or completely shut down when you are away from home.
There are also other interesting ways to reduce your electricity and heating budget, so please leave us a comment if interested in learning more.

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