Climate change is the single most important challenge of the 21st century and it poses an existential risk to humanity. That may sound alarmist, but it’s not. Early climate change studies cited the year 2100 as the period when the effects would begin to be felt. That was so far into the future and we hardly took any notice. Then the date was revised to 2050 was the new date and the threat became more urgent.
Now the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that immediate action is needed to reduce warming of the planet to less than 1.5 degrees by 2030. That is just twelve years from now. Toddlers today will not have finished high school by that time! The warnings are dire and immediate action is needed to avert catastrophic changes to the weather patterns, species loss, and human displacement. We cannot leave it to our leaders, the government or industry to fix this. We as consumers, communities, citizens, and activists must do everything we can because we are all in this together.
Energy efficiency is the low hanging fruit in the fight against climate change – how we use energy, how we produce it, and how we trade it will all change in the near future. Consumers can start immediately by making some lifestyle adjustments:
1. Get geyser savvy
The electrical geyser element is one of the highest users of electricity in a home. By installing a heat-pump, consumers can reduce electricity usage by up to 70% while installing a solar geyser can reduce this by up to 100%.
2. Be smart about taking a dip
Swimming pool pumps add to our consumption. The AC (Alternative Current) pump can be replaced by a DC (Direct Current) pump and a few solar PV panels. This will allow the system to work during the day and use power from the solar panels to drive the DC motor. No batteries or inverters are enquired for this system.
3. That lightbulb moment
The incandescent light bulb is a 100-year-old technology and should be relegated to the recycle bin. LED lights are more affordable and come in all shapes and sizes. Consumers can replace all incandescent and CFL light bulbs with modern LEDs. The disposal of CFL light bulbs should be done responsibly and should be dropped off at recycling depots that can be found at malls and some hardware chains.
4. Stay toasty
Fitting insulation material into your roof space will prevent heat loss and further reduce the consumption of electricity.
5. Let’s get solar
Nothing beats producing your own electricity. Installing a solar photovoltaic system gives consumers more control over their electricity production, reduces reliance on the grid, and has a definite effect on lowering carbon emissions if enough people go this route.
6. Be accountable
There is a more mundane, but profound step that we can all take. We need to think about our actions and be aware of the impending catastrophe if immediate action is not taken. Try these simple lifestyle changes:
- Use the data to adjust your lifestyle
- Install an energy monitoring meter to measure consumption
- Learn about energy ratings of appliances and let this help you make informed buying decisions
- Use energy wisely, switch off what is not in use, and think about the impact of over-consumption
We can turn this grim warning of impending doom into an opportunity to repair and realign our trajectory. We can build a more sustainable world, one kilowatt at a time.
About the author:
Sunny Morgan of Enerlogy (Pty) Ltd specialises in solar photovoltaic (PV) installations of varying capacities. The Enerlogy installation teams are experts in rooftop and ground-mounted systems. We offer new on-grid and off-grid solutions to bring energy access. Enerlogy is committed to generating clean energy, saving customers money, creating jobs and empowering communities. Our ultimate growth vision is to build, operate and own clean power installations across South Africa and the African continent.
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