How many of us would like to make our homes greener, but are put off by the cost? There are lots of great things we could do if we only had an unlimited budget… we dream of going off-grid but never take a step towards it as we just can’t afford the investment.
While it would be great to take giant steps towards a greener lifestyle, there are plenty of small steps that we can take now, instead of waiting to win the lottery. Here are a few suggestions:
Small Step: The simplest, cheapest and quickest way of saving water is by switching your regular shower head to a low flow, water efficient shower head. Typically you can cut your shower water consumption by half. In an average household where three showers are taken a day, this would save 38,000 litres a year. The cost of a low flow showerhead can be anything from R100 to R1000, so do your research first to find the right one for you. Continue reading
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Going green doesn’t need to be a huge mission. You don’t have to go out and spend a fortune to convert your home to green living in one fell swoop. Often it’s more a question of gradullay changing your everyday habits. It’s true this can be harder than just going out and buying a clever green gadget, but ultimately it is changes in our behaviour that make the most difference.
Saving water is a good example of this. You could go out and buy water saving devices for every tap in the house, you could install a grey water filtering system to re-use water for irrigation and toilet flushing. Those are all great ideas but what if you can’t afford to invest in them right now?
Here are three simple ways of saving water in your home without spending a cent. In fact they are so simple that it seems crazy to be repeating them again, but it is surprising how easy it is to forget and lapse back into the bad old water-wasting ways.
1. Brushing teeth
So many of us still let the tap run while we brush our teeth. I know in my family it still happens, despite frequent nagging. If you brush your teeth for 1-2 minutes as recommended by the dentist, just think how much water goes down the drain unnecessarily as you carefully negotiate each molar. Try getting each member of your family to fill one cup with water and just use that one cup for the whole brushing and rinsing cycle. Your water savings will be huge over the course of a year.
2. Bathing and showering
Small kids love sharing baths turning the whole washing process into an extended playtime. So as long as they are happy let them share baths adn save water. Once they get too old to share introduce them to short showers instead. It’s so easy to stand for ages enjoying the flow of hot water in the shower, losing track of time and of how much water is flowing over you and down the drain.
If you really want to save water use one of those old fashioned hourglass egg-timers to keep in the shower – they usually take four minutes for the sand to run right through. Four minutes should be long enough for an everyday shower, especially for the kids. Get everyone used to using the egg timer and then switching off the shower as soon as the time is up. And if you haven’t already got an egg-time (I did after all promise tips that wouldn’t cost a cent) you are bound to have a timer somewhere in the house – perhaps on a discarded digital watch or an old cellphone. Once everyone has got used to the idea of shorter showers you may no longer need the timer and you will be saving water as well as the energy used to heat that extra hot water.
3. Toilet flushing
If you have an older toilet cistern it probably uses far more water than is necessary to flush. You can turn it into an eco water saving toilet simply by putting a brick into the cistern. This will decrease the amount of water stored in the cistern and so the amount used for each flush. Don’t have a brick to hand? Then something as simple as a plastic 1 liter/pint milk bottle filled with water will do the same job.