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  • Off-grid living is easier than you think.

    Many people aspire to becoming totally self-sufficient and living off-grid but feel that it is impossible due to the technology involved and the financial implications, but we are here to tell you that going off the grid is easier than you think, if you put the time in.

    Like anything desirable, achieving aspirations take time and dedication. Due to the fact that we have more than 15 years of experience, we have listed our top tips on how to go to make a smooth transition to going off-grid.

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  • Let us put the Spring back into your Step this Season

    Let us put a Spring in your step.

    Spring is, simply put, the reawakening from the slumber of Winter. Cold weather and dark days start turning around. Birds can be heard twittering harmoniously as the dawn breaks earlier and earlier. This is much to the enjoyment and pleasure of most.

    Renewal, Rejuvenation and Revitalisation

    At Sustainable.co.za we have decided to focus the start of the lighter, warmer months on the theme of the renewal, revitalisation and rejuvenation of your lifestyle and the life of the planet.

    Our team have spent many hours putting together fantastic, well packaged Spring Kits. From eco-friendly cleaning products to the perfect water-saving hampers and Braai Day packages and more. We will also be running the biggest competition we have had to date. Read on to find out more.

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  • Load Shedding - Don't be left in the dark

    Load Shedding - Don't be left in the dark again.

    Is Load Shedding back? Are we forever waiting for another run of stage 1, 2 and 3bs? Whenever there is a power cut, many of us wait with bated breath for the dreaded announcement. For some South Africans, load shedding has never stopped. After another scare a few weeks ago, we at Sustainable.co.za have decided to write a guide on how to prepare yourself for power cuts. From small cost effective solutions, to larger, long term applications, we have ensured that we have it all.

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  • Nuclear vs Renewable Energy

    We were suddenly given a ray of hope amid the current political gloom when the Western Cape High Court declared the Nuclear Procurement process unlawful. Launched in October 2015 by Earthlife Africa (ELA) and Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI), their case contends that the government is violating the constitution by concluding deals without first debating it in Parliament (read more about the Nuclear Deal). While this will hamper the Nuclear Program, there is still a long fight ahead and all gains made in the interim will stand testament to the value of renewable energy.

    Every step taken towards renewable energy diminishes the argument for Nuclear Energy. Rooftop solar has the potential to put Eskom under a lot of financial strain, leaving no option but to opt for the proven cheaper and safer renewable energy. Every kWh supplied by these alternative sources prevents the release of about 1kg CO² per unit of electricity. As the industry develops and allocates more funds to research and development it will become even more competitive.

    Russian Roulette

    No discussion on Nuclear and Renewable Energy is complete without taking full account of the risks posed by nuclear power. Only November last year was the final structure moved into place at Chernobyl to contain the nuclear waste, replacing the aging concrete structure that was erected in the weeks following the explosion. The biggest ever movable man-made structure is finally in place 30 years after the disaster.


    The catastrophic events following the Fukushima disaster on 11 March 2011 should be a reminder to us that contingency plans are not adequate when dealing with fission reactions. The power plant automatically switched off when the earthquake occurred which means the cooling of the reactors had to be powered externally by 13 diesel generators, only they were flooded by the tsunami causing hydrogen build-up in the reactors and their eventual explosion. The severity of the radioactive leaks into the atmosphere and the ocean will only become evident over time. Even so 116 children in the area have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer since the disaster, 20 – 50 times higher than the national average.

    The disposal of radioactive waste is considered a minor problem and mostly ignored by nuclear proponents, hence the absence of a permanent disposal plan for the high level waste i.e. spent fuel kept at Koeberg which is growing by 30 tons every year. In addition, 500 steel drums and 100 concrete drums of low to medium level nuclear waste from Koeberg gets buried every year at the Vaalputs Disposal Facility, 100 km south of Kimberley, and this from only two 900 MW reactors compared to 9600 MW planned for Thyspunt. A further cause for concern is the proposed fracking in the area which can lead to earth tremors, a factor almost certainly not considered when the 10 000 hectares was acquired in 1983.

    As if this is not enough problems for the Northern Cape, a local subsidiary of an Australian company, Peninsula Energy, has acquired 750 000 hectares of uranium exploration concessions in the Karoo. The hazards of Uranium mining are well known and pose a much greater threat to the region than commonly acknowledged. Half a million tons of waste rock and 100 000 tonnes of toxic waste tailings will need to be extracted to yield 25 tonnes of Uranium, enough to supply a reactor for one year.

     

     

    Sustainable Energy

    The abundance of solar and wind energy in South Africa are well documented. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) estimates that rooftop solar installation alone can provide 136TWh and the EIA areas can provide a further 420TWh when the aggregate demand currently stands at 225TWh. Critics of renewable energy point out that electricity demand peak in the evening due to increased domestic use and would thus need conventional ‘base load power’. Fortunately, wind power can take up the slack when the sun sets.

    Let’s look at the facts before shunning this as hippie conjecture. In theory, if we allocate 0.1km² for every MW wind generation capacity, our nation’s 1.3 million km² surface area can generate 38 000 TWh wind power per year. This is based on a load factor of 0.36 when in Germany in 2015 working on a load factor of 0.2, wind power amounted to 77TWh (at 44GW capacity), about a third of our annual demand.

    Since the first of four REIPPPP bid windows in November 2011, the cost of Solar Power has dropped from R3.65/kWh to R0.62/kWh and Wind power dropped from R1.51 to R0.62/kWh, whereas the cost of coal power currently stands at R1.3/kWh and Nuclear R1.17 - R1.30/kWh. Sadly the bidding has been stalled by Eskom since November 2015 and 37 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) are left waiting to invest over R50 Billion in the country.

    Clearly there are vested interests in the fossil fuel industry that view renewable energy as a threat to its profits. Acting Eskom CEO, Matshela Koko, claims he is prepared to sign the IPP bids at the current tariff, but this may be up to the new CEO stepping into office in June.

  • Fun in the Sun this Festive Season

    The festive season is nearly upon us. Luckily here in South Africa we can enjoy a lovely, warm, sunny Christmas. To take advantage of this great weather, what’s better than having a Christmas braai? Here are some tips to really enjoy your patio and pool in an environmentally friendly way.

    Why Energy Efficient Lighting?

    You can create a fantastical land in your backyard while keeping your family safe with Sustainable.co.za’s range of energy efficient lighting options. Our price range is diverse enough to fit any budget and any need. LED and Solar fairy lights can capture the imagination of your friends and loved ones, while providing quite a few benefits. They may cost more than your average 60W bulb but are definitely worth the investment.

    LED Fairy lights

    LED lighting options have proven to be a better option than standard lighting. Firstly, they are energy efficient; the fact that they produce more light per watt than incandescent bulbs means you save on the cost of buying regular lighting in the long run.  Secondly, they last longer than incandescent lights, so you can use the fairy lights for quite a few festive seasons. They are also more durable and robust than conventional light bulbs, so they can survive any boy’s imagination (or lack thereof). They operate at a lower temperature, which translates to less energy wasted through heat, and can save you a pretty penny on your electric bill. Finally, they don’t contain the toxins that are usually present in incandescent bulbs, such as mercury. Unfortunately, this means that any dreams of becoming a superhero after exposure to harmful chemicals are thwarted. We at Sustainable.co.za like you just the way you are.

    Solar lighting can make a great alternative to LED lights while still reaping the benefits.solar colour fairylights In order for the solar fairy lights to remain enchanting all night, the solar panel will need about 6 hours of charge a day. There are 50 lights per string and the string is about 5m long. They are also rather versatile. You can mount the panel in the garden with the spike, or directly to a vertical surface. And then there’s the qualifying factor that makes them true fairy lights, which is that they can be in either blinkable or non-blinkable mode.

     

     

     

     

     

    Daymaker: Solar Flood Lights

    Keeping your family and loved ones safe is top priority while having fun. The best way to do that, while still enjoying your garden, is by investing in flood lights. All Sustainable.co.za’s lighting options are energy efficient, allowing you to enjoy your garden while saving you money in the long run.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    consol solar jar

    For those intimate festive evenings, we suggest our solar consol jars. Their soft, warm light, which is safely housed in a beautiful 1-litre Consol Classic preserve jar, can create the perfect romantic atmosphere. It is literally bottled sunshine. The LED lights are powered by sunlight which is harnessed through solar paneling fitted on the lid.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Badu Solar pool pump

     

    It is statistically proven that the rate of belly-flops increase during our summery festive season. In order to ensure that they take place in clean pools that also take advantage of the abundance of energy from the sun, it would be a good idea to invest in one of the solar pool pumps.

    Standard electrical pool pumps generally wreak havoc on your electricity bill and should be replaced as soon as possible. We now have a comprehensive solution for your pool of up to 60 000 litres. Sustainable.co.za’s solar powered pool pumps are easy to install and packaged for your convenience – they also have a lifespan of approximately 20 years and require virtually no maintenance. We have a wide range of pumps, all innovatively engineered, to suit your budget and save you money in the long run. Because not all solar pool pumps are created equal; before you buy one, make sure you have considered your pool’s needs.

     

     

     

     

    Amongst the hustle and bustle of this modern age, the moments we share with all our family and loved ones are too few and far between. At Sustainable.co.za, our ultimate goal is for those rare, cherished moments to be even more memorable. We hope you have a very merry festive season of sustainability with all your loved ones.

     

     


  • Solar Power Case Study

    Client:

    Schalk Cloete is an environmentally conscious South African living in Norway, where a climate low on sunshine and wind makes microgeneration unfeasible. However, he convinced his parents, who live in Paarl, to adopt an eco-friendly method of powering their home in sunny South Africa. He approached Sustainable.co.za with his request.

    Requirements:

    Schalk wanted the process to go as smoothly as possible, without causing unnecessary disruption in his parents’ busy lives; it was important to him that they should have a positive experience with their switch to renewable energy, which would encourage them to recommend it to their friends as well.

    His parents were using about 700kWh per month (23kWh per day). He was also eager for them to install a solar water heater so they could make their household energy usage as cost effective as possible.

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  • Sustainable Valentine's Day Competition: Love Makes the World Go Round

     

    A love-filled vacation is one way to up the romance this Valentine's Day and it's amazing how many affordable, efficient and effective measures you can take to make the getaway as special as possible while still showing you care for your environment.

    While you're on your great escape, make sure you're able to capture all those special moments on camera and stay reachable in case of any emergencies by making use of solar chargers for your phones, cameras and laptops.

    Remember you've got one FINAL chance to enter our Valentine's Day competition. So all you need to do is Like us on Facebook and share one of our competition statuses, or Retweet on Twitter and you can win that R500 voucher to spend at the store.

  • One, Two, Hassle-Free: Simple Steps to Solar Power

    energy-use-reductionOur most recent blog posts have been focussed on educating as many people as possible about the active steps that can be taken to alleviate unnecessary energy use in the home. When consumption has been reduced to the most efficient level possible, it’s time to consider the benefits of going solar.

    Once you’ve taken the appropriate measures we will offer free consultation in the design and supply of your solar power system. It is, however, mutually beneficial if you can supply us with the following information. The more detailed this is, the quicker we can get the ball rolling to purchasing your own solar power kit.

    1. Budget:
      People are often intimidated by the cost involved in a home with solar power. In previous posts we’ve highlighted how, aside from drastically reducing energy use and eradicating your electricity bill altogether, covering your initial cost only takes a few years. Continue reading
  • One, Two, Three: Get to Know your Solar Power Systems

    Every type of solar power system has one thing in common; they are all designed to harness clean renewable energy, effectively reducing environmental damage and lowering electricity expenses for those who invest in them. However, these systems are also diverse in their size, structure and suitability; it’s important to know which type of solar power application would be the most appropriate for your property, and why. It may sound like a complex decision, but the first step is simple; know what solar power systems are available, and how they would affect your home and office.

    Essentially, solar power systems fall into three main categories, and each of these are suitable for different working and living environments.

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  • Baby Steps: The Key to Solar Powered Success

    So, you’re an eco-conscious consumer who stays abreast of our society’s ever-growing emphasis on caring for the environment. You recycle, you opt for canvas bags over plastic, and generally do your best to make the most earth-friendly choices in your everyday life. Now you’re considering solar power – the ultimate switch to turn your home into an environmentally friendly abode that harnesses clean, renewable energy using pure sunlight, helping you to live the green lifestyle you’ve been dreaming of. Naturally the installation of a solar power system in your home will dramatically reduce your carbon footprint – but before you make the switch, it’s important that you start your conversion off on the right foot and take baby steps…

    Your vision of a solar powered home won’t be realised overnight, but there are a number of steps you can start taking right now that will set you on the path to complete sustainability.

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