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sustainable living

  • 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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  • The Cheat Sheet To Geyser Efficiency

    A home's geyser contributes up to 25% of the average South African household's electricity bill. During colder winter months, this figure can increase by a huge amount, according to Eskom, with geysers contributing an average of 30-50% to monthly electricity bills. The team of energy experts at Sustainable.co.za have created a cheat sheet for geyser efficiency according to how much you can afford. It's a relief to learn that you don't have to spend money to begin saving on your electricity - start today!

    Geyser Efficiency - Sustainable.co.za

    Feel free to download and share this resource.

    Creative Commons License
    The Cheat Sheet To Geyser Efficiency by Sustainable.co.za is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
    Based on a work at https://www.sustainable.co.za/blog/2014/05/geyser-efficiency-suit-budget/.

     

    Click here:

    For more information on geyser efficiency

    To browse our geyser efficiency products

    To contact us

     

  • Live Smart - Insulate Your Home and Save

    Most homes in South Africa are built with the aim to invest as little capital as possible. The problem with this mindset is that design aspects such as insulation are often neglected. Building in this way does not necessarily mean that the home will remain sustainable from a cost perspective in the long run. With electricity costs on the rise, this attitude towards home building needs to change.

    Insulation is one of the most effective ways to improve the energy efficiency of a home, and its operating costs based on electricity usage. As explained above, it is commonly omitted in building plans.  In this blog we will explore the options available to insulate the home and the elements to consider when choosing the best insulation for your home.

    Why Insulation Is Needed?

    The diagram below illustrates what happens to a typical South African home in warm, summer months and cool, winter months.

    Heat gains and losses

    The goal of insulation is to reduce heat transfer, which occurs when two different temperature zones are next to each other. During winter, when the temperature outside is lower than the desired temperature inside your home, heat transfer takes place from inside the building to the outside. The result is that the inside of the house loses warmth. In summer, the opposite happens.

    Similarly, the temperature difference between the water in a geyser and the water in the pipes causes energy flow towards the outside in the form of heat loss. Insulation helps to minimise the heat transfer rate and keeps temperatures constant.

    What to Bear in Mind When Insulating Your Home?

    There are a number of factors to consider when insulating the home including climate, building orientation, budget, and the type of insulation that would suit your home best.

    1. Climate

    The building design and materials used should be suited to the climate in which you are situated.In extreme hot or cold climates, where external temperatures are very different to desired internal temperatures, more insulation will be required to help keep temperatures inside the house constant and ease the burden on heating, ventilation and cooling systems (HVAC).

    Climatic Zones

    2. Building/ Area Orientation

    If you haven’t starting building yet, it is important to select a property with an orientation that accommodates your climatic and regional conditions as it will lessen the requirements for home insulation. Poor orientation excludes winter sun, and causes overheating in summer. Good orientation means you have a high level of unobstructed winter sunshine and north-facing daytime living and working areas.

    3. Budget and Preference

    The obvious consideration when deciding among different home insulation options is your budget constraints. There are a range of options available and depending on the extent you are willing to go, you will find something that works for you.

    4. Types of Insulation

    Now that you have an overview of how insulation works and why it is important, let’s explore the options available for insulating the home.

    • Roof and ceiling insulation

    Roof and ceiling insulation is by far the most effective way of insulating a home or building. There are three major types of roof insulation: bulk insulation, reflective foil insulation and composite bulk insulation.

    Roof Insulation

    Geyser blankets

    Hot water electricity use comprises around 40% of a typical household’s total consumption. It is important to reduce heat losses in this area. The water temperature of your geyser drops by 1 degree C per hour, so constant energy is needed to maintain the temperature. Available from our online store, geyser blanket and duvets allow your geyser to retain heat, and may cut its energy usage in half. Geyser blankets and duvets are a good option for individuals seeking a small investment with a significant impact.  Refer to our post on geyser efficiency for more information on how you can manage your geyser’s electricity consumption.

    geyser blankets

    • Hot water pipe insulation/cladding

    Of the heat loss that occurs in your piping from the geyser, 50% of the loss occurs within the first four metres. This means that a considerable saving can be made on your electricity bill just by insulating the pipes around the geyser.

    Sustainable.co.za’s online store offers excellent piping insulation made from Armaflex. This material is particularly effective at preventing moisture ingress and ensures long term thermal efficiency. The thermal properties of Armaflex will not rapidly deteriorate over time as other insulation materials might. And, by keeping moisture as far from the pipe surface as possible, Armaflex reduces the risk of expensive under insulation deterioration.

    Pipe insulation

    • Draught-proofing

    Draught proofing is the process of closing the gaps and cracks through which cold breezes may creep. These areas can include windows, doors, floor boards, wall plugs and wall cracks, to name a few. It may be difficult to identify weak spots in your home, but fixing them up is relatively easy - here are steps that serve as a guide.

    Draught proofing floors

    Door insulation

    draught proof your window

    • Blinds, curtains and shade awnings

    In hot conditions, the greatest source of heat energy is solar radiation. This enters buildings directly through windows. Windows are also a source of heat transfer from the inside of the building to the outside. Window blinds and curtains improve insulation by acting as a barrier across glass windows and preventing heat from leaving and entering the home.

    blinds

    For more information about energy efficiency feel free to contact us, or follow our blog for additional tips on saving energy.

  • 2012 in Review: Good News and Home Truths

    The sustainable industry has gone from strength-to-strength. We continue to see more people making adjustments in order to practice an eco friendly way of living and 2012 has been no different. Although there are always challenges to be overcome in this ongoing battle, eco consciousness is continuously growing and we’ve witnessed it first-hand here at Sustainable.co.za. Here is a recap of the year through the eyes of Sustainable.co.za.

    Dark Days Ahead

    Eskom had some very big news to share earlier this year that once again demonstrated how important the reduction of electricity consumption continues to be. With the permission of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), Eskom have applied for a 16% electricity tariff increase in a third multi-year price determination (MYPD 3). Continue reading

  • Tinsel Time: Top Tips for Celebrating a Green Christmas

    green-christmas decorations

    Advent calendars are lining supermarket shelves, end-of-year functions are looming closer and the frenzy that is the festive season is just around the corner. Traditionally, this period is all about giving, but why not make this year about taking? That is, taking the right steps towards celebrating a green Christmas.

    Tree Time

    The Christmas tree is perhaps the most iconic symbol of the Christmas period. Going green, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to plant a piece of foliage in your living room for a few weeks. You can use recycled materials, cardboard etc. to fashion a work of art, under which Santa can deliver your behaviour-dependent rewards. Continue reading

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