EDITION 1NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDESustainable livingis a commitment toan abundant future.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDEEDITION 1ContentsIndexYour home and the environment02 Energy05 Water07 Waste09 Ecosystem healthGreening your homeLegendEnvironmental benefitEnergyWaterWasteEcosystem health11 Water heating13 Cooking15 Refrigeration16 Laundry17 Dishwashing18 Space heating and cooling20 Lighting21 Toilets22 Showering and bathing23 Waste disposal25 Cleaning products26 Pest control27 Gardening and landscaping29 Swimming pool31 Home renovations33 GlossaryEstimated price range*‰‰‰ ‰‰ ‰ ‰‰ ‰ ‰ ‰‰ ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰Costs next to nothing(but may require a bit of effort)Lowest cost option costsless than R200Lowest cost option costsbetween R200 and R500Lowest cost option costsbetween R500 and R2 000Lowest cost option costsbetween R2 000 and R5 000Costs more than R5 000* Disclaimer: Prices are estimates only and were correct at the time of going to print.This document was researched and compiled by Natalie Mayer and Blake Robinson of the Sustainability Institute (SI) on behalfof Nedbank Limited.The SI was established in 1999 to promote learning about sustainable living in South Africa. Located in the Lynedoch EcoVillagenear Stellenbosch, the SI focuses on combining practice with theory in a way that integrates ecology and equity in support ofa sustainable South Africa, with special reference to reducing and eradicating poverty. The SI has built a name for itself throughits Master’s Programme in Sustainable Development Planning and Management, which comprises a Postgraduate Diploma inSustainable Development and a Master of Philosophy Degree in Sustainable Development, in partnership with the School ofPublic Leadership at Stellenbosch University.Photography of House Indhul (KwaZulu-Natal) supplied by Dennis Guichard, and photography of House Bezuidenhout(Cape Town) supplied by Danie Nel. Both homes are featured in Earthworks Magazine (www.earthworksmagazine.co.za).Natural pool images supplied by www.ecopoolsonline.com.Neither Nedbank Limited nor any of its employees, consultants, contractors or subcontractors (‘Nedbank’) make any warranty, expressor implied, or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the content of this guide, or for any thirdparty’s use of or for the results of any use of, any information, apparatus, product or process disclosed in this guide. Reference in thisguide to any specific view or opinion, commercial product, process or service under any tradename, or of a manufacturer or otherwise,does not necessarily constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation or favouring of such by Nedbank.Nedbank 135 Rivonia Campus, 135 Rivonia Road, Sandown, Sandton, 2196, South Africa; PO Box 1144, Johannesburg, 2000,South Africa; www.nedbank.co.zaNedbank Limited Reg No 1951/000009/06. Authorised financial services and registered credit provider (NCRCP16).
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NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDEP01 EDITION 1YOUR HOMEAND THE ENVIRONMENTA home is a sanctuary. It’s where youspend most of your day. But whether you’recooking, cleaning, entertaining or relaxing,it can be difficult to connect the simplechoices you make in your home with theirenvironmental implications.South Africa is facing numerous environmentalchallenges, from climate change to pollution andresource depletion. Like you, many homeowners arechoosing to take action to ensure that their homescontribute towards solutions for a better future,rather than adding to the problem.In this section we will connect your simple choiceswith our country’s environmental challenges bylooking at four key areas: energy, water, waste andecosystem health.
EnergyP02 NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDEEDITION1Coal-fired power stations have made South Africa the highestgreenhouse gas emitter per person on the continent and oneof the highest in the world.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDEP03 EDITION 1OTHERNUCLEAR ENERGYCOALSOUTH AFRICA’S ELECTRICITY SUPPLY:COAL 90%, NUCLEAR ENERGY 5%WHY BE CONCERNED ABOUT ENERGY?Most homes in South Africa use electricity foreverything from cooking and cleaning to refrigerating,heating, drying and entertainment. In fact, buildingsconsume nearly 60% of the world’s electricity. 1 Theaverage medium-to-high-income South African homeuses 29% of electricity for water heating, 23% forspace heating, 21% for cooking and 10% for lighting. 2However, the way electricity is generated can havea significant environmental impact. This is particularlytrue in a country such as South Africa, whoseelectricity grid is heavily reliant on coal and nuclearenergy to generate electricity.Coal provides almost 90% of the country’s primaryenergy, but burning coal to generate electricityreleases CO 2, among other pollutants.Coal-fired power stations have made South Africathe highest greenhouse gas emitter per person onthe continent and one of the highest in the world.The country’s energy sector is responsible for about90% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. 3 Theseemissions are contributing to climate change, which iscausing an increase in extreme weather events, droughtand famine, rising sea levels and the decline of plantand animal species. In addition, electricity generationfrom coal requires the mining of a non-renewableresource, which is also degrading the environment.It also uses vast amounts of water, with approximately1,35 litres of water required to produce 1 kWh ofelectricity 4 (which excludes the water needed to extractthe coal in the first place). Nuclear energy contributes5% of South Africa’s electricity supply. Although itproduces lower greenhouse gas emissions than coal,its low-level nuclear waste remains dangerously toxicto humans and ecosystems for thousands of years,while high-level nuclear waste is radioactive for over100 000 years. South Africa’s low-level waste isburied underground in Namaqualand and high-levelwaste remains stored within the Koeberg nuclearpower plant near Cape Town. 5 As yet there are nosafe, affordable methods of disposing of nuclearwaste for such long periods.In recent years the demand for grid electricity hasalmost outstripped supply, which has resulted in rapidlyincreasing prices. The cost is likely to continue to risefor many more years, unless there is a significantshift towards renewable energy and away from coaland nuclear energy. Coal and nuclear energy bothrequire materials to be mined from the earth andtransported to the power plant for conversion intoelectricity. This means that both forms of energy areheavily dependent on these resources and transport1 Rode, P, Burdett, R and Soares Gonçalves, JC. 2011. Buildings: investing in energy and resource efficiency. In Towards a Green Economy – Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication. United Nations Environment Programme.p339. 2 Green Building Council South Africa. 2011. Technical Manual Green Star SA – Multi-unit Residential Design & As Built Version 1. p112. 3 Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. 2007. People – Planet – Prosperity: A Framework forSustainable Development in South Africa. Pretoria: South African Government. 4 Eskom. 2011. Eskom Factor Report 2011: Environmental Footprint. Available at www.eskomfactor.co.za/eskom-factor-environmental.php. 5 Eskom. 2013. Eskom FactSheet: Nuclear Waste. Available at www.eskom.co.za/content/NU_0002NuclearWasteRev5.pdf.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDEP04 EDITION 1systems, and are therefore highly vulnerable to increasesin the price of oil and other commodities. Certain formsof renewable energy, such as wind and solar energy, donot require material inputs to be transported to siteson an ongoing basis for electricity to be generated, andtheir increasing popularity and efficiency are likely tomake them more cost-effective to install in the future.To find out which household activities require themost electricity, and where you could save, try oneof Eskom’s energy calculators at www.eskomidm.co.za/calculators. For more detail, a home energymonitor provides live information on your householdconsumption throughout the day.WHAT SHOULD WE AIM TO ACHIEVE?The ultimate goal is to have all energy needs met byclean, efficient, affordable and accessible sources ofenergy. Making South Africa’s energy system moresustainable will require a combination of improvingefficiencies in the generation, transmission and usageof electricity, and shifting away from coal and nuclearenergy towards clean, renewable alternatives.Households have an important role to play in reducingtheir demand for grid electricity (particularly duringpeak electricity demand periods) and substitutingsunlight, gas or other renewable-energy sourceswhere appropriate. As the price of grid electricityrises, it will become more affordable and popularfor households to generate their own electricitythrough renewable-energy systems. In addition,South Africa may follow other parts of the world thatallow homeowners to earn an income from sellingclean electricity back to the grid.To find out how you can reduce your use of nonrenewableenergy and transition to renewableenergysources you must look out for the iconthroughout this booklet.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P05 EDITION 1Global water consumption has risen almost tenfold since 1900, and watersupply capacity is now being reached in many parts of the world.1900 2013
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P06 EDITION 1WHY BE CONCERNED ABOUT WATER?Global water consumption has risen almost tenfoldsince 1900 and water supply capacity is now beingreached in many parts of the world. 6 South Africa’sfreshwater supply is particularly vulnerable becauseof its location in a region with low and unreliablerainfall. Annual rains are often not enough to replenishthe dams and other sources of fresh water thatsupply our taps between rainy seasons. Climatechange is likely to bring about a combination of risingtemperatures and reduced or more erratic rainfall,placing further pressure on already constrained watersupplies – particularly to the west of the country.Most of South Africa’s available water sources arealready fully utilised and there are limited optionsavailable for increasing water supply.While water supply limits are being reached,South Africa’s demand for fresh water is increasing.Previously unserviced communities are gainingaccess to piped water for the first time, and risingincome levels increase the demand for swimmingpools, green lawns and other water-reliant luxuries.It is estimated that 11 of the country’s 19 watercatchment areas will not be able to supply enough waterto meet demand by 2025. 7 As supply runs short anddemand grows, water prices are beginning to rise,tracking energy prices higher. Alternative sources ofwater, such as desalination, are highly energy-intensiveand expensive, so shifting behaviour to minimise waterwastage and achieve more from the country’s remainingwater resources is crucially important.Another threat to South Africa’s limited freshwatersupplies is contamination by human activities andwastes. Most homeowners do not think about whathappens to their sewage once it is flushed away.However, in many parts of the country impropermanagement of wastewater causes these wastes toleak from pipes or overflow from treatment facilities,polluting freshwater sources. A recent report onthe country’s wastewater treatment works foundthat 44% of those monitored were categorised asbeing ‘high risk’ or ‘critical risk’, while only 26% wereconsidered to operate within desirable parameters. 8Water bodies are further polluted by the runoff ofoil and other pollutants from roads and driveways,chemical fertilisers and pesticides from gardens, andsalts and chlorine from pool backwash water.WHAT SHOULD WE AIM TO ACHIEVE?The ultimate goal for fresh water is to make the best useof every drop. This means that wastage is minimised,pollution is eradicated and ecosystems are allowedto continue to provide water-filtering services.Nature can clean water at a much lower cost thanmechanised treatment works! Every household –particularly in higher-income brackets – should savewater. We can do this by reducing water leaks andwastage, improving water use efficiency and reusinglower grades of water, such as grey water and poolbackwash water, for non-potable purposes.To find out how you can help save our precious waterresources look out for the icon throughout this booklet.To find out which household activities use the mostwater and where you can save you can conduct a wateraudit using the spreadsheet at www.capetown.gov.za/en/KeepSavingWater/Pages/Doyourwateraudit.aspx.6 Green Building Council South Africa. 2011. Technical Manual Green Star SA – Multi-unit Residential Design & As Built Version 1. p187. 7 Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. 2004. National Water Resources Strategy. Departmentof Water Affairs and Forestry, Pretoria. 8 Department of Water Affairs. 2012. Green Drop Progress Report 2012: South African Waste Water Quality Management Performance. Available at www.ewisa.co.za/misc/BLUE_GREENDROPRE-PORT/GreenDrop2012/GreenDrop2012_Intro_Background.pdf.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P07 EDITION 1WasteWHY BE CONCERNED ABOUT WASTE?To make any product requires natural resources.For example, we derive wood and paper productsfrom trees, plastics from crude oil and fabric fromcrops such as cotton. The problem is that we areconsuming these natural resources at a rate 50%faster than the earth can produce them. 9Extracting these natural resources and processing,packaging and transporting them require energy,which is where the second problem arises. Electricityand transport are still based mainly on the burningof fossil fuels, a process that is emitting carbondioxide at a rate faster than the atmosphere, sea,soil and vegetation can absorb it. This excess CO 2 iscontributing to global warming. 10 A third problem isthat most extraction and manufacturing processesalso discharge pollutants into our water, soil and air,threatening human and ecosystem health.Finally, waste from every stage of the production processis usually sent to landfills, which in South Africa are fillingup much faster than the population is growing. 11 We arefast running out of cheap, accessible landfill space.9 WWF. 2012. Living Planet Report 2012. Available at www.awsassets.panda.org/downloads/1_lpr_2012_online_full_size_single_pages_final_120516.pdf. 10 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2007. Climate Change 2007. Geneva: UnitedNations Environment Programme. 11 City of Cape Town. 2011. Smart Living Handbook. Available at www.capetown.gov.za/en/EnvironmentalResourceManagement/Documents/Smart_Living_Handbook_Eng_FULL%20VERSION_4thEd_2011-05.pdf.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P08 EDITION 1In addition, landfills pollute groundwater and the airand are hazardous to human and ecosystem health.As it decomposes, organic waste from landfills emitsmethane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent thanCO 2 in its contribution to global warming.Though a few areas in South Africa have theirrecycling materials collected by the municipality,most of us put our rubbish on the kerb each week tobe taken to a dumpsite or landfill, where it is buried.Dumping our waste instead of reusing or recyclingit means that we are not using our natural resourcesefficiently. Instead, we are putting extra pressure onecosystems to deliver new natural resources, at a ratebeyond their ability to rejuvenate or absorb harmfulemissions. However, we can reduce our waste byeliminating, reusing, recycling or composting it.Reducing the waste going to a landfill helps us to:• save dwindling natural resources;• reduce degradation of ecosystems;• reduce energy use and resulting CO 2 emissions;• reduce pollution;• reduce landfill space and methane emissions;• free up organic waste for compost to returnvaluable nutrients to the soil; and• save money.WHAT SHOULD WE AIM TO ACHIEVE?The ultimate goal is to have no waste at all, whereevery output is an input for another productionprocess. Nature cycles inputs such as these on adaily basis and leaves no waste, as the by-productsof one system feed another. We too can achievezero waste through good design and innovativesystems. Materials and products can be designed tobe 100% recyclable, with no loss of quality, or 100%compostable and nourishing for the soil. 12To find out how you can reduce the impact of yourhousehold waste on the environment look out forthe icon throughout this booklet.12 Braungart, M and McDonough, W. 2008. Cradle to Cradle: Re-making the way we make things. London: Vintage Books.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P09 EDITION 1Ecosystemhealth
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDEP10 EDITION 1EcologySocietyWHY BE CONCERNED ABOUTECOSYSTEM HEALTH?We rely on ecosystems for our survival. Besidesproviding us with natural resources, such as water,food, timber, plant fibres, metals and minerals,ecosystems perform vital services. These servicesinclude moderating air temperatures, regulatingdisease and the climate, supporting nutrientformation and pollination of crops, purifying waterand providing for recreation. Scientists and naturalresourceeconomists have tried to calculate thefinancial value of some of these services if we had toprovide them ourselves, and the costs run into billionsof rands. Yet we are able to enjoy these ecosystemservices for free, so long as the ecosystems providingthe services are healthy.However, because of various factors, SouthAfrica’s ecosystems are being rapidly degraded.Overexploitation of resources and species, urbansprawl, climate change, invasive alien speciesand pollution of land, water and air are the mainculprits.A recent report assessed 132 countries and rankedthem according to the Environmental PerformanceIndex (EPI). South Africa was ranked 128th andwas recognised as one of the countries with thefastest rate of environmental decline. 13 From a globalperspective, the United Nations (UN) MillenniumEcosystem Assessment confirmed that 60% ofthe ecosystems on which human systems dependfor survival are degraded. 14 In other words, we areusing natural resources at a rate much faster thanecosystems are able to produce them or processour waste. 15 While the outlook for our ecosystemsis bleak, the issues they face are a consequence ofhuman behaviour. This means that, by changing ourbehaviour, we can change their future (and ours)for the better.To reduce our negative impact on ecosystems we can:• find out which natural resources and species arethreatened or in decline and try to conserve them;• avoid using non-renewable resources, such asfossil fuels and their by-products;• support high-density urban development (egmulti-storey city apartments) rather than urbansprawl (eg golf estates);• save energy, be more energy-efficient, andtransition to renewable energy;• remove alien invasive species and replace themwith indigenous varieties; and• stop littering, pouring toxic chemicals down ourdrains and supporting polluting companies.WHAT SHOULD WE AIM TO ACHIEVE?Our vision should be healthy ecosystems that areeasily able to support biodiversity and provide theirvital services for humans and all other living things.We must therefore prioritise the restoration ofdegraded ecosystems, switch to using renewableresources and reuse them as many times as possiblebefore returning them to ecosystems in a form thatwill nourish rather than pollute.To find out how you can contribute to ecosystemhealth look out for the icon throughoutthis booklet.EconomyThe notion of sustainable development stemsfrom the basic understanding that economies areirrelevant without people and that people cannotexist without food, water and ecosystem servicesfrom the natural environment.60OF THE ECOSYSTEMS ON% WHICH HUMAN SYSTEMSDEPEND FOR SURVIVALARE DEGRADED. 1513 Yale University and Columbia University. 2012. Environmental Performance Index and Pilot Trend Performance Index. Available at www.epi.yale.edu/sites/default/files/downloads/Summary_Final-%20OnlineV3_1.pdf. 14 United Nations. 2005.Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. New York: United Nations. 15 WWF. 2012. Living Planet Report 2012. Available at www.awsassets.panda.org/downloads/1_lpr_2012_online_full_size_single_pages_final_120516.pdf.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P11 EDITION 1Everything counts when it comes to making a shift towards a greener lifestyle.Whether you choose to install a solar geyser or simply make use of a geyserblanket, these changes will have a positive effect. From recycling to using earthfriendlyproducts, your decision to create an energy-efficient home will lessenyour impact on the environment. Remember, every little bit helps; recycling justone glass bottle saves enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours.Water heatingGeyser thermostat settings‰Many geysers are set at uncomfortably high temperatures, and we waste alot of water and electricity trying to reach a suitable temperature from the tapor shower. We can easily avoid this by resetting the geyser temperature onthe thermostat. Geysers should not be set above 60 °C, but are often set to ascalding 65 °C or more all year round. It is estimated that for every 1 °C bywhich your geyser temperature is reduced, you could save roughly 10% ofyour water-heating costs.Geyser timers‰ ‰ ‰Many geysers are left on 24 hours a day, which wastes energy and adds to peakelectricity demand. By installing a timer to switch the geyser on for an houror so before you typically need hot water you can save significant amounts ofelectricity. Set your geyser timer to run outside of the 17:00 to 21:00 period toreduce your household’s contribution to peak electricity demand. This will reducethe need for South Africa to build additional power plants. Always remember toswitch the geyser off when leaving the house for two days or more.GREENINGYOUR HOMEYou can also achieve similar savings by switching the geyser on and off manually.This doesn’t damage the thermostat any more than if you leave it on constantly,nor does switching the geyser on and off use more electricity.Geyser insulation ‰ ‰If you have an electric geyser in your home, insulation can help to keep thegeyser warm for longer. This reduces the amount of water and electricity wastedwhen you wait for water to reach an ideal temperature from the tap or shower.You should wrap your geyser tightly in the geyser blanket and install lagging onthe hot-water pipe for at least the first two metres from where it leaves yourgeyser. Both of these products should be available at your local hardware storeand are relatively simple to install.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P12 EDITION 1Solar water heaters ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰Approximately 29% of the average energyconsumption by middle-to-upper-income householdsis used to heat water in an electric geyser. Using analternative to an electric geyser is therefore one ofthe most significant ways in which you can save onelectricity.Solar water heaters have only been used in SouthAfrica since the 1970s, but they are gaining popularityas an alternative to electric geysers, as electricityprices and new building regulations have encouragedhomeowners to invest in energy saving.With South Africa’s abundant sunshine, using devicesthat harness the sun’s heat can save 25% to 40% ofthe electricity used by conventional geysers, whichmeans that a solar water heater can pay itself off inunder five years. Solar water heaters are available ina variety of shapes and forms that impact on theircost, aesthetics and energy efficiency.The main choices that will need to be made are:• Passive or active? Passive systems take advantageof hot water’s tendency to rise above cold water,allowing natural circulation of water without anelectric pump. These systems require that the tankbe placed above the collector plate, typically on theroof. Active systems use a little more electricity tocirculate the water by pump, but allow for the tankto be concealed below the roof. Both systems canhave an electrical element as a backup for timeswhen the sun is not strong enough to achieve therequired water temperature.• Flat plate or evacuated tube? A flat-plate systemcollects the sun’s heat through a weatherproof box witha glass cover, while an evacuated-tube system doesso through a series of parallel glass tubes. Evacuatedtubesystems are designed for colder climates andtypically achieve higher water temperatures thanflat-plate systems do. Flat-plate systems are suitablefor most areas in South Africa.Not all buildings are suited to solar water heating. Thisis due to shading, orientation and other factors, so it isworthwhile consulting an expert to determine your home’ssuitability before you invest in a solar water heater.Visit www.eskomidm.co.za to find out more aboutEskom rebates on water heaters.Heat pumps ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰Water can be heated through the extraction ofwarmth from the air by means of a heat pump,which uses 50% to 70% less electricity than atraditional electric geyser. A heat pump resemblesa small air-conditioning unit attached to theexterior of the building and is typically connectedto a geyser inside. As heat pumps do not requireroof space or direct sunlight, they are easier toincorporate into the design of buildings than solarwater heaters. However, their overall life cyclecosts make them more expensive than solar waterheaters for household applications. 16A heat pump’s ability to heat water is limited bythe temperature of the surrounding air, so it typicallydraws a small amount of electricity each day toraise temperatures to desired levels.Visit www.eskomidm.co.za to find out more aboutEskom rebates on heat pumps.16 SEED. 2008. Heat Pump/Solar Water Heater Comparison. Available at www.cityenergy.org.za/files/resources/seed%20updates/SWH%20Heat%20Pump%20comparison.pdf.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P13 EDITION 1CookingEnergy-efficient cookingMaking the following changes can help you to saveelectricity without having to invest in new appliances:• Match your pot or pan size to the size of thestoveplate. This ensures that the plate is notwasting energy by heating up the air around thepot. Similarly, avoid using a pot or pan that is toolarge for the plate.• When you use the stove or oven, turn the heat off slightly before the food is ready to allow the‰heat remaining in the pot, stove plate or oven tofinish cooking the food.• Use a kettle to heat water. It requires only half ofthe electricity as boiling water on the stove. Ensurethat you don’t boil more water than is needed, thatthe element is always covered, and that the kettle isturned off when it starts to boil.• When you cook legumes, such as beans and lentils,let them soak overnight to soften up first and saveon cooking time.• Regularly check that the rubber seal on your ovenis intact. Perished seals can allow heat to escape,which results in increased electricity usage.• As a general rule, use the smallest appliance thatyou can for your cooking needs to save on energyand always check the energy efficiency ratings.• Defrost frozen food overnight by leaving it in thefridge rather than using a microwave to defrost it.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDEP14 EDITION 1Induction cookers use almost 50% lesselectricity than conventional electric stoves do.Hot boxes ‰Hot boxes are a great way to save energy when you arecooking foods such as stews, soups or rice, which needconstant low heat over a long period of time. A hot boxconsists of a box and lid made of cushions filled withpolystyrene pieces, within which a cooking pot can beplaced. The pot needs to be brought to the boil, and onceit is placed inside the closed hot box, the heat is retainedwithin the box and the food continues to cook withoutneeding any more energy. The food cooks in roughly thesame amount of time as when one cooks on the stove,yet this can save up to 60% of cooking costs. Note thathot boxes are not suited to all types of cooking, so pleaseread the instructions carefully.Gas stoves‰ ‰17Using electricity for cooking is highly inefficient –energy is lost when heat is converted to electricity andback to heat again. Using a direct fuel, such as LPG orbiogas, is much more thermally efficient and helps toreduce peak demand for electricity. Gas is well knownto be the preferred cooking fuel for top chefs becauseof the precision with which the heat can be controlled,and this further helps to save energy by reducing thewasteful preheating and after-heating associated withconventional electric stoves.Although South Africa does not supply piped gasto households, portable LPG tanks are widelyavailable. Built-in gas stove tops or free-standingring burners can be relatively easily retrofitted tokitchens where a suitable and safe location for thetanks exists nearby. In areas where biogas digesterscan be installed to capture gas from wastewater,low-pressure gas ring burners can be connected toallow one to cook with a free and renewable sourceof energy not derived from fossil fuels.Induction cookers‰ ‰ ‰Conventional electric stoves waste a lot of energyheating up a stove plate to heat a cooking vessel fromthe outside. Induction cookers use electricity to poweran electromagnet, which transfers energy directly tothe vessel for it to heat the contents, saving up to 50%of electricity use when compared to a conventionalelectric stove.As the outside of the vessel does not heat up,induction cookers are safer to use than conventionalelectric stoves. They also heat up quicker and aremore precise, as the amount of heat being generatedcan be instantaneously adjusted, as when one cookswith gas.One possible drawback is that pots and pans need tobe made of ferrous metals, such as iron or steel (andnot aluminium or copper), for the electromagnet towork. Therefore, users will need to ensure that theyhave appropriate cookware. Induction cookers arerelatively new to South Africa, but an increasing rangeof portable and built-in options is now available atmajor appliance retailers.17 This is based on the cost for the cheapest two-plate countertop gas cooker.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P16 EDITION 1Washing machines‰ ‰ ‰ ‰Many will be relieved to know that using a washing machine is far more water- andenergy-efficient than washing clothes by hand. When you buy a new machine,choose the correct size for your needs and the most efficient one you can afford,bearing in mind the electricity and water costs you will save years into the future.LaundryThe average top-loader uses around 180 litres of water per load, while a front-loader useshalf or less. The most efficient washing machines are front-loaders, 18 have an energyrating of A+ under the European labelling system or an ‘Energy Star’ mark of approval,and use a maximum of 90 litres of water or less per load. A label of AAA means thatthree different functions of the machine (such as energy consumption, wash qualityand spin-drying) are each rated ‘A’.Only run your washing machine when it is full (not overloaded), set it to a cold washand spin-dry on your lowest setting (if at all). Use only the minimum amount ofwashing powder and softener necessary. To protect human and ecosystem healthyou should ensure that these products are non-toxic and biodegradable and do notcontain phosphates (see the section called ‘Cleaning products' on page 25), andnever release dirty washing water into the stormwater system.CHOOSE AN A-RATEDWASHING-MACHINE ORTUMBLE DRYERMore efficientABCDEFGLess efficientClothes drying‰As far as possible, use the free energy of the sun and wind to dry your clothes outside.In winter this means you will need to plan your washing according to the weather report.You could also benefit from your home’s trapped heat by setting up a drying rack inside.If you absolutely have to use a tumble dryer, choose the most energy-efficient one youcan afford.Prior to using the dryer, remove as much of the water from the clothes as possibleby wringing them out by hand or using a short spin cycle on the washing machine.To conserve energy you should always make sure that the lint filter is clean. Thereare also small, portable clothes dryers available that use less space and electricity –these can be used to dry essential items.18 City of Cape Town. 2011. Smart Living Handbook. Available at www.capetown.gov.za/en/EnvironmentalResourceManagement/Documents/Smart_Living_Handbook_Eng_FULL%20VERSION_4thEd_2011-05.pdf.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P17 EDITION 1TO THE TOP –TOO MUCHDishwashingFILLING YOUR SINKHALFWAY –STILL TOO MUCHJUST A FEWCENTIMETRES –PERFECTDishwashing by hand‰If you keep the basin water to only a few centimetresdeep, washing by hand can be the most water- andenergy-efficient for small loads of dishes. Fill the secondbasin or a tub to a shallow level with water for rinsing –don’t leave the tap running. Washing items in the orderfrom least dirty (glasses) to most dirty (pots and pans)helps to keep your water cleaner for longer. Rememberto use non-toxic, biodegradable and phosphate-freedishwashing liquid to protect our water resources andthe ecosystems that depend on them.Dishwashing machines‰ ‰ ‰ ‰If you regularly need to wash large loads, using adishwasher can be more water- and energy-efficientthan washing dishes by hand. Choose a dishwasherwith an energy rating of A or A+ that uses 20 litres ofwater or less per cycle (older models use an averageof 30 to 53 litres). Make sure it is properly loadedand completely full before switching it on and useeconomy wash settings or short cycles.Skip the drying cycle and let the dishes dry naturallyby leaving the dishwasher door open once the rinsecycle has ended. Once again, remember to useecologically-friendly dishwasher powder and skip therinse aid altogether – most dishwasher powders aresufficient on their own.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDEP18 EDITION 1Space heatingand cooling
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P19 EDITION 1Ceiling insulationOne of the most important ways in which to managethe temperatures in your home better is to insulateyour ceilings. Ceilings and good roof insulation cankeep a home 5 ˚C warmer in winter and 10 ˚C cooler insummer when compared to homes without insulation.Since 2011 it has been compulsory for all newbuildings in South Africa to have insulation installed toa certain standard depending on its location. However,insulation can be added relatively easily to existinghomes too. Insulation comes in many forms, includingblanket-style strips that are rolled out between therafters, silver foil or polystyrene boards that act asceiling and insulation combined.While some insulation options are hazardous tohuman health and the environment, there are anumber of affordable and sustainable optionsavailable. These include an option where cellulosefibre composed of recycled newspapers is pumpedinto the ceiling cavity and forms a thick layer whenit settles on top of the ceiling boards.For more information see www.eskom.co.za/c/article/78/conserving-electricity/.Draft-proofing‰‰ ‰ ‰ ‰20Many homes are difficult to heat or cool because ofdrafts entering from outside through gaps in windowsand doors. Adhesive foam sealing tape in variouswidths is available at most hardware stores andcan be adhered to the edges of doors and windowsto close gaps and make your home more airtight.Specially designed draft-excluder strips are availableto block gaps at the bottom of doors while allowingthem to open and close easily. Alternatively, a longthin beanbag called a draft ‘snake’ or ‘sausage’ can be19positioned to prevent drafts from entering underneathyour door.For more information see www.eskom.co.za/c/article/78/conserving-electricity/.Space-heating tipsThere are a number of options available for heatingindoor spaces, but many of them require a great dealof electricity. Underfloor heating is one of the mostenergy-wasteful ways of heating a space and shouldbe avoided if you are trying to save energy. You canuse the following tips to keep your home warmer formore days of the year, reducing the amount of timeyou need to use extra heating:• Keep curtains, blinds and shutters open during theday – especially where direct sunlight enters yourhome. Close all curtains when the sun goes downto retain as much heat as possible.• When heating or cooling a space, it is advisable tomake the space as small as comfortably possible byclosing windows and both internal and external doors.• Instead of heating a room, rather wear warmerclothes and use a hot-water bottle or a blanket tokeep warm when sitting or sleeping.For more information see www.eskom.co.za/c/article/78/conserving-electricity/.Closed fireplaces‰‰ ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰One of the most environmentally friendly ways ofheating internal spaces is to burn a sustainable fuelin a fuel-efficient closed fireplace. Open fireplaceslose a great deal of heat up the chimney, and therelease of smoke and fumes into the house can behazardous to one’s health. Closed fireplaces have adoor, and modern designs maximise the release ofheat from the fuel into the room while minimising theloss of heat up the chimney. Depending on the design,these fireplaces can be set into the wall or hung onthe wall or they can stand alone. They can use a rangeof sustainable fuels, including sustainably harvestedwood, untreated waste wood or pellets made fromwaste wood or sawdust. Some of the more advancedunits can also be used to heat household water.Space-cooling tips‰Air conditioning requires a great deal of electricity andshould be a last resort for cooling an interior space. Forexample, a window air conditioner uses about 500 to1 500 watts, compared to a floor fan, which uses onlyabout 100 watts on the highest speed, and a ceilingfan, which uses only about 15 to 95 watts depending onspeed and size.Here are some alternative tips to keep your house cool inwarm weather:• Block the entry of direct sunlight into your home byclosing curtains, blinds and shutters as required.Light-coloured curtains and blinds are best forpreventing heat from entering the home, as theyreflect rather than absorb light and heat.• During hot weather you can open windows or doorsat night to flush out the hot air, and remember toopen windows or doors on more than one side of aspace to allow for cross-ventilation. Open the highestwindows in the house (eg upstairs windows and roofwindows) to allow the rising heat to escape swiftly.• If you only need to cool a small area (for a fewpeople who aren’t moving around too much, forexample when watching television), use a fan tocreate a breeze rather than an air conditioner.• If you have an air conditioner and you absolutelyneed to use it, ensure that the thermostat is set nomore than 10 ˚C below the outside temperature.Also remember to minimise the area to be cooledby closing doors and windows.19 This is based on the cost for the self-installation of the cheapest blanket-style insulation in a 75 m 2 dwelling. 20 Up to 35 metres of sealing tape can currently be purchased for R200.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDEP20 EDITION 1CFLs use up to 80% less energy thanincandescent light bulbs, and they last up to sixtimes longer. Used CFLs should be taken to arecycling facility. Some stores also have recyclingbins for this purpose.LightingOccupancy sensors detectmovement in the room and switchon the lights automatically.Natural light‰Use natural light in your home as far as possible. Notonly does this reduce electricity usage, but health,wellbeing and productivity are also promoted whenwe are able to see the natural passing of time. Duringthe day you should ensure that curtains and blindsare open before you resort to switching on artificiallights, and position desks and other work areas to takeadvantage of natural light.Consider installing a skylight or sun pipe to allowdaylight into dark passages or rooms (see the sectioncalled ‘Natural light’ under ‘Home renovations’).A sun pipe is a type of solar tube installed betweenyour ceiling and the roof to let in daylight. Someversions are made of flexible reflective material toallow for light to be reflected around corners. It ishighly efficient and relatively inexpensive to install.Energy-efficient bulbs‰Replace incandescent bulbs with compactfluorescent light (CFL) bulbs or more expensivelight-emitting diodes (LEDs).Compared to an incandescent bulb:• CFLs use 80% less electricity and last up to10 times longer.• LEDs use 90% less electricity and last up to25 times longer.As a general guideline, a 60 watt incandescent bulbemits roughly the same amount of light as a 13 to 15watt CFL or a 6 to 8 watt LED.Both CFLs and LEDs are available in a variety of whites,including a soft warm white, so you don’t have tosettle for that ‘clinical’ look. CFLs come in a widerange of fittings, so make a note of the size and typeof your old bulb or take it along with you to ensurethat you purchase the correct replacement. LEDscan replace most halogen bulbs used in recessedspotlights; again it may be best to take your old bulbwith you to ensure you buy the right fitting.When disposing of CFLs, make sure that you don’tadd them to your kerbside garbage, as they containsmall quantities of toxic mercury that can be releasedwhen the bulbs are shattered. Rather take themto specialised dropoff points, some of which areconveniently located at major supermarkets. LEDs donot contain mercury or toxic chemicals, but shouldbe recycled at e-waste dropoff points.Task lighting‰ ‰Avoid lighting up a whole room if you are only usingpart of it. Make use of functional or task lighting,such as a desk lamp or side lamp. These lamps canbe fitted with CFLs or LEDs to help you reduce yourelectricity use even further.Occupancy sensors‰ ‰ ‰If you or your family members frequently forgetto turn off non-essential lights, installing occupancysensors might be the perfect solution. These work onthe same principle as outdoor security lights – theydetect movement in the room and switch on the lightsautomatically. If no movement has been detected fora preselected time, the lights are switched off.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDEP21 EDITION 1ToiletsReducing toilet flush capacityToilet flushing is one of the biggest wastes of freshwater, yet it has become a norm to which most ofthe world aspires and is unlikely to be replaced anytime soon. Standard South African toilets use nine ormore litres of fresh drinking water to remove humanwastes, yet in many cases the same result could beachieved with much less water.A simple way to reduce the amount of water requiredfor each flush is to adjust the height of the float in thecistern so that the water in the cistern refills to a lowerlevel after each flush. Alternatively, some of the volumeof the water in the cistern can be displaced through theinstallation of a brick or closed two-litre bottle filledwith water in a corner that does not affect the toiletmechanisms. Some new toilets have cisterns as smallas six litres, and it is worth considering a smaller cisternwhen purchasing a new toilet as a means of conserving‰water. Nedbank worked with the organisation DryPlanet to produce ‘Future Flush’, its own version ofa water-saving device that fits in the toilet cistern.Dual-flush and multi-flush mechanismsMany modern toilets have a two-button or dual-flushmechanism that allows one to choose between a fullflush for solids and a half flush for liquids. Multi-flushsystems have a handle-flushing mechanism, butonly release water for as long as you hold down thehandle, ensuring that you do not use all the water inthe cistern for each flush.When installing a new toilet, consider one with a dualflushor multi-flush mechanism. If your toilet alreadyhas one of these installed, it is important to educateits users on how to use it to save water when flushing.Alternatively, if you already have a conventional handleflushingmechanism installed, remember to lift thehandle after enough water has been released into thebowl. This means that the whole cistern does not needto be refilled after every flush.‰ ‰ Grey-water toilets ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰For a more substantial investment in water savingthere are systems available in South Africa that allowfor grey-water reuse. This means that water from theshower, washing machine, basins and bath can becollected, partially treated and supplied to the toiletcistern for flushing. Considering that 20% to 70% ofhousehold water use is for toilet flushing, 21 reusinggrey water to flush toilets is one of the best ways toreduce household freshwater demand. Although theplumbing requirements can be challenging and it isnot always possible to convert an existing toilet to agrey-water system, flushing with grey water allowsfor money to be saved throughout the year becauseit reduces water and sewage bills.Two-button or dual-flush mechanismsallow one to choose between a full flushfor solids and a half flush for liquids.21 City of Cape Town. 2007. Smart Living Handbook. Cape Town: City of Cape Town. p85.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDEP22 EDITION 1Showeringand bathingBy replacing wastefulshower heads with watersavingones, you canconserve electricity as wellas water.Water- and energy-saving bathing tips‰Water is essential for keeping clean, but smallchanges can help to reduce your use of hot water,saving both water and electricity:• A five-minute shower uses 38 to 60 litres of water(depending on the efficiency of the shower head),while a conventional bath can use 150 to 200 litresof water. To save water you could have a shortshower (five minutes or less) instead of a bath.• If you are wasting water waiting for the showeror bath water to heat up, collect it in a bucket orsimilar container for use in the garden or for toiletflushing rather than letting it run down the drain.• Turn taps off properly to ensure that they do notdrip and replace the washer on any taps thatcontinue dripping. A leaking tap can waste aroundone litre of water per hour.• Ensure that everyone in your home knows whereyour master water shutoff valve is located. Thiscould save litres of water and prevent damage toyour home should a pipe burst.• If you have a solar water heater, ensure that youshower at the end of the day when the water is stillhot from the sun rather than in the morning, whenadditional electricity may be required to increasethe water temperature.Water-saving fittingsA well-designed shower head allows for a comfortableshower without needlessly wasting water. Wastefulshower heads release 15 litres or more of waterper minute, while more efficient low-flow showerheads release about nine to 10 litres per minute atfull power. A simple test of your current shower headwould be to see how long it takes to fill a two-litrejug – if it takes 12 seconds or less at full power it iswasting water.When less hot water is used per shower, less coldwater is released into the geyser to replace it, sowater-saving shower heads can help to conserveelectricity as well as water. Similarly, tap aerators helpto reduce the amount of water used in hand basins byadding air to the flow of water. Many modern tapscome with aerators, but they can also be retrofittedto some existing taps.Sit tubs‰ ‰ ‰‰As a general rule, shower whenever possible –a large amount of water and energy is needed to filla bathtub. The amount of water and energy used tofill a bath is largely due to its size and although SouthAfrican homeowners tend to install full-length bathsaveraging 1,6 to 1,9 metres in length, there are shorteroptions available that allow for a relaxing bath usingless water.If you are installing or replacing a bath, considerinstalling a 'sit tub' as an alternative. These baths arearound 1,1 to 1,2 metres in length. While you probablywon’t be able to stretch your legs fully, they requireless than half the volume of water for bathing thana full-length bathtub would.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P23 EDITION 1Waste disposalDisposing of general household wasteSeparating your household waste into recyclablesand non-recyclables is an easy and impactful changeto make. Buy or allocate a second bin, box or bag foryour recyclables and place it near your usual dustbinfor convenience. Various dropoff points will have aslightly different list of what you can and can’t recycle.However, most places accept paper, cardboard,glass, aluminium cans and plastics. Where plasticsare concerned, the ones that can be recycled usuallyhave a Poly-logo – a number in a triangle – stampedunderneath the container. Numbers 1, 2 and 5 arethe most commonly recycled.‰Remember to wash out old food containers beforeputting them in the recycle bin to avoid bad odoursand pests. Also try to get into the habit of buyingproducts in containers that you know can be recycled.This will further reduce your waste going to a landfill.For a list of dropoff points in your area visit www.awsassets.wwf.org.za/downloads/recyclearea_2.pdf.Disposing of food waste‰ to ‰ ‰Composting your food waste saves landfill space andreduces greenhouse gas emissions, while addingthe compost to your pots or garden helps to createnutritious soil for healthy plants.Here are three ways to compost your food waste:• Garden composter ‰There is a variety of pre-made composters to suit yourspace, including enclosed ones that can beturned easily by hand. Buying a large ready-madebin from a garden centre can be expensive,but you can make your own at very low cost byreusing waste material. A 1 m x 1 m x 1 m containeris usually sufficient, but for a larger family withmore food waste two containers might be best.When the first is full, leave the waste to break down
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P24 EDITION 1while while you you fill fill up up the the second. One side of thecontainershould be be removable for for easy access to the compost.Cover Cover the the top top of of the the container to to keep keep the the compostfrom from becoming too too wet wet or or dry dry and and prevent rodentsor or other other scavengers from finding their way in. Addinglayers of of dry dry material, such as as grass cuttings or torn-upnewspapers in in between the the food waste, will prevent preentthe the heap heap from from becoming too wet. Remember to turnthe the compost every every month or or so so using using a spade a spade or orpitchfork. The The compost is ready is ready when when it is it dark is dark and andsoil-like, a a process that takes approximately three tosix six months depending on on the season.See www.wwf.org.za/act_now/green_living/at_home/make_your_own_compost/ for moreinformation.‰ ‰• Bokashi binA Bokashi bin is a useful option for smaller homesor apartments where a compost heap is impossible.Layers of food waste are alternated with a thin layerof Bokashi ‘bran’ containing microorganisms thatferment the waste and speed up the compostingprocess to between one and two weeks.The bin itself has three main components: an outerbucket, a smaller inner bucket with holes at thebottom and a tap for draining off the liquid waste.This ‘compost tea’ can be sprayed directly ontoplants as a liquid fertiliser, but must be diluted withwater in a ratio of 1:100. Once full, the waste can bedug into soil and covered with a layer of topsoil oradded to a compost heap. Used correctly, a Bokashibin will not smell and can be kept indoors.‰• Worm farmFood waste can also be broken down by specialcomposting earthworms, the most common typeused being ‘red wrigglers’. A worm farm can bemade from a variety of waste items, such as oldtyres or bathtubs, or bought from garden centresor other retailers.The most common shop-bought version consists ofat least three stackable containers. Organic wasteis put into the top container; once the worms havecomposted it, the container is moved to the middleposition and fresh organic waste is put into the topcontainer. The top and middle container have holesthat allow worms to access a fresh batch of organicwaste once they’ve eaten and processed the oldbatch. The bottom container captures the liquid runoffor ‘worm tea’ and has a tap system similar to theBokashi bin described above.‘Worm tea’ can also be sprayed directly onto plantsas a liquid feed, but must be diluted with water in aratio of 1:10. The compost made by worms (calledvermicompost) is the most nutritionally rich of the threemethods described above and can radically improve soilfertility. This is because earthworms actually multiplythe amount of nutrients found in the food waste as itpasses through their digestive tract and present themin a form readily absorbable by plants. 22See www.wwf.org.za/act_now/green_living/at_home/make_your_own_wormbin/ for more information.Disposing of garden wasteGarden waste you obtained from pruning plants,raking up fallen leaves or mowing the lawn can beadded to the compost heap described above. Largeprunings or those from woody-stemmed plants orbranches will need to be cut up into smaller piecesbefore being added to the compost.Grass cuttings can also be used as mulch aroundcertain plants to keep the soil moist and to addnitrogen. Some branches could be used as tree stakesor to construct garden fences or screens. Gardenwaste can take between six months and two years tobreak down fully before it can be used as compost orfertiliser replacement.Disposing of large household itemsBefore you throw out large items, such as old appliancesor furniture, consider whether the item can be fixed orrefurbished for a new look. Repainting an old desk, fixinga broken washing machine or re-covering an old couchcould prevent waste and save you money – and give youa certain creative satisfaction at the same time.‰‰If you are still committed to getting rid of the item,remember that one person’s trash is another person’streasure. Rather than dump it, try to sell it secondhandor give it away to a needy person or cause. Advertisein the classifieds section of a newspaper or onlinethrough free websites. Or sell the item yourselfat a local market or car boot sale and enjoy thecamaraderie of these public spaces. Alternatively,ask a junk collection company to remove and sellthe item for you.Disposing of electronic wasteElectronic waste such as old laptops, cellphones,TVs and fridges contains valuable componentsand metals that can be extracted and reused. Ifyou cannot repair the item or sell it, take it to ane-waste dropoff point rather than sending it to alandfill. Besides losing valuable resources, bydumping the item you could contaminate land andgroundwater with the toxic chemicals often presentin electronic waste.Many e-waste centres fix old computers and donatethem to schools and other organisations that canbenefit from more affordable technology. Findyour nearest dropoff point through the e-WasteAssociation of South Africa (eWASA) website atwww.ewasa.org/recycling/recycling.html.Disposing of hazardous waste‰‰Besides e-waste, there are some items thatshould not go to a landfill and need to be handledseparately. These include batteries, CFLs, motor oil,chemical cleaning products and insecticides. Theyare considered hazardous, as they are flammable,corrosive, toxic, explosive, or harmful to the skin orrespiratory system.Several major supermarkets in South Africa offer adropoff point for CFLs and batteries, while the ROSEFoundation (www.rosefoundation.co.za) collects andrecycles used motor oil. Where chemical cleaningproducts and insecticides are concerned, there is nosafe disposal method. Rather use non-toxic, organicand biodegradable versions.22 Murphy, M. 2010. Beginner’s Guide to Earthworm Farming. Penguin Books: Johannesburg.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P25 EDITION 1CleaningproductsMost household cleaning products containingredients that are toxic or hazardous to human andecosystem health. Avoid products with ingredientswhose names start or end in ammonia, ethanol,glycol, ethylene, phenol, chlorine, dioxane, hydroxideor naphthalene. Unfortunately these ingredients arenot always on the label: if you aren’t sure, rather don’tpurchase the product. Also avoid products containingphosphates. High levels of phosphates from theuse of conventional soaps, shampoos, laundry anddishwasher powder (as well as chemical fertiliser)are contributing to a rapid increase of algal blooms inSouth Africa’s rivers and dams, reducing the amountof dissolved oxygen in the water and destroyingspecies and their habitats.The good news is that there are several brands oflocally made, non-toxic and biodegradable cleaningproducts. These can be found in your local supermarketand health store, your neighbourhood market andonline. Alternatively, you can make your own cleaningproducts using natural and effective ingredients, suchas lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda.See www.wwf.org.za/act_now/green_living/at_home/eco_friendly_cleaning/ for more information.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P26 EDITION 1Pest controlControlling household pests‰Using toxic chemicals and poisons in your hometo control pests can be harmful to human and pethealth if they are ingested. It also creates hazardouswaste that is impossible to dispose of safely. Pestscan be controlled in an ecofriendly manner as follows:• Avoid infestation by cleaning dishes and countersafter every meal, sealing up potential entry points,emptying your dustbin regularly and ensuring thatfresh produce is not left on the counter too long.• Spray cockroach hideouts with a mixture of equalparts tea tree oil, rosemary oil and citronella oil, orplace catnip strategically.• Get rid of flies by placing about three tablespoonsof dried cloves in a bowl and sprinkling them withcitronella or peppermint oil, clove oil and lavender oil.• Repel mosquitoes by burning citronella oil, lemongrass,tea tree oil, peppermint oil or lavender oil.• To prevent fishmoths you can place citronella,lavender, cedarwood or peppermint oil ontocotton wool balls and place these in cupboardsand drawers, repeating every few weeks.• Drop peppermint oil onto countertops, walls andskirting boards to keep ants away.See http://www.eartheasy.com/grow_nat_pest_cntrl.htm#e for more information on natural pest control.Controlling garden pests‰Chemical-based pesticides, herbicides andinsecticides are poisons containing toxic ingredientsthat kill indiscriminately. This means that beneficialcreatures are also removed from your garden’secosystem. These include bees, which are essential forpollination, and birds, which eat pesky insects. Thepoisons eventually find their way into water sources,destroying aquatic life and making the treatment ofdrinking water even more resource-intensive.The first ecofriendly step in pest control in yourgarden is to ensure healthy soil. Healthy soil makesfor strong and healthy plants, which are moreresistant to pests and disease. Composting your foodand garden waste and adding it to your garden helpto increase soil fertility. The second step is to usecompanion planting techniques, where plants such asmarigolds are planted close to herbs and vegetablesto attract pests away from them. Companion plantingcan also be used to attract beneficial predators toyour garden. These two steps can go a long waytowards reducing damage from pests by supportinga self-regulating ecosystem.If pests still manage to gain a foothold try naturalpest control techniques, for example those found atwww.heartheasy.com/grow_nat_pest_cntrl.htm#e.If all else fails, ask your local garden centre for adviceon biological controls.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P27 EDITION 1Indigenous plants‰Growing indigenous plants is a great way to attractlocal biodiversity to your garden. Indigenous plantsalso tend to use an amount of water that can beeasily sustained by the local environment. Forexample, fynbos, which is indigenous to the WesternCape, is by nature waterwise and so suitable for thedrier climate. Exotic plants (such as pine trees) tendto require copious amounts of water and can also beinvasive, destroying native species by encroaching ontheir habitat or changing the soil type. This is why itis crucial to know which plant species are invasivealiens in your region and remove them before youreplace them with indigenous varieties.To find out which are invasive alien species visitwww.sanbi.org/information/infobases/invasivealien-plant-alert.Lawns‰ ‰Gardeningand landscapingLawns are water-hungry spaces that require regularmaintenance, and are costly in terms of energy, moneyand time. Consider replacing your kikuyu lawnwith indigenous and waterwise buffalo grass orfynkweek (couch grass). Water in the early morninghours or in the evening when temperatures arecooler to minimise water loss through evaporation.Use organic compost rather than chemical fertilisers,as these pollute water sources and are energyintensiveto produce. Even better, replace your lawnaltogether with low-lying indigenous vegetation ormeadow-style grasses, which are just as aestheticallypleasing and support biodiversity while requiring farless maintenance. Meadows help to keep the feelingof openness and provide an inviting play space forchildren and pets.Food gardening‰Growing your own organic herbs, fruit and vegetablescan be a very satisfying hobby. It also providesother significant benefits, such as saving money,reducing carbon emissions related to artificialfertilisers, pesticides and food transport and, ofcourse, improving access to healthy food.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P28 EDITION 1Food gardens can be tailored to suit virtually any livingsituation: you don’t need to have your own piece ofground or even lots of space. Fresh produce can begrown in containers on a balcony or rooftop. Verticalgardens, which make use of trellises, brackets orshelves with rows of pots, are another space-savingoption. If none of these suits you, consider renting aspace in an allotment garden nearby and enjoy thecommunity aspect of growing food alongside others.IrrigationWatering your garden with a hose or irrigation systemconnected to the water mains uses far more potablewater than necessary. Reusing potable water orcapturing rainwater saves the energy required to treatwater to drinking quality and pump it to your home. Italso avoids the wasting of water through leaks in thewater supply system.Using grey water and harvesting rainwater aretherefore two ways in which you can reduce yourusage of potable water, while still giving your gardenthe hydration it needs.‰• Drip irrigation systemThe only part of a plant that needs water is theroots, and any water left on stems, leaves andflowers simply evaporates. Unlike a traditionalirrigation system, which wastes water by sprayingeverything within a certain radius, a drip irrigationsystem waters plants at the soil level just abovethe roots, or waters the roots directly.A medium to large garden would benefit froma piped system, which could be installed byprofessionals or purchased from a garden centre.If you have a small garden, you could skip pipesand instead reuse plastic water bottles with holespunched in the sides and bottom, buried next to theplant’s roots with the bottle’s neck exposed. Theplant can then be watered by hand or you can hosethe water directly into the bottle, with no waste ofwater due to evaporation.• Grey-water systemGrey water is water that has been used in one or twoapplications, but is still of sufficient quality to use foranother purpose, usually toilet flushing or irrigation.For example, water from your hand basins, washingmachine, bath or shower can be redirected into yourtoilet or onto your lawn instead of being wasteddown the drain.Grey-water systems can be installed by professionalsor you could install one yourself. The price variesaccording to the size of the system. Local suppliershave reported a payoff period of three years as aresult of reduced water and sewage bills. 23 If you areusing grey water in your garden, remember to usenon-toxic, biodegradable soap products (seethe section called ‘Cleaning products’ onpage 25) or you could damage your plants andcontaminate local water sources.• Rainwater harvestingCapturing rainwater off your roof (or by meansof permeable paving – see below) is another wayto save potable water. The rainwater is directedinto a tank, which can be placed abovegroundout of sight or buried. The optimum tank sizedepends on the roof catchment area and can be assmall as 260 litres or up to 27 000 litres for largeproperties. 24Harvested rainwater can be used to flush toiletsor water vegetable gardens, plant beds and lawns.Again, there are several reputable local companiesthat can install rainwater harvesting systems, or youcould try to install one yourself.Outdoor hard surfaces‰ ‰ ‰ ‰‰ ‰ ‰‰ ‰The overuse of hard surfaces, such as concrete andasphalt, in urban and suburban areas means that stormwater is prevented from filtering through the soil andrecharging underground water sources, called aquifers.Also, the pollutants that are usually removed from thestorm water when it passes through the soil end uppolluting rivers.Instead of laying concrete or solid brick pavers for youroutdoor entertainment area, use permeable optionssuch as gravel or bark chips or raised wooden deckingthat allows water to pass between the slats. Permeablebrick pavers are also an option and are particularlyuseful for high-traffic areas, such as driveways orparking areas. They can even be used in conjunctionwith a built-in rainwater harvesting system thatcollects the runoff from underneath the pavers.23 Grey Water Systems. 2013. Available at www.greywater.co.za/costs.htm. 24 Water Rhapsody. 2013. Available at www.savingwater.co.za/2011/06/01/09/harvest-rainwater-and-use-it-in-the-home/.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P29 EDITION 1Swimming pool
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P30 EDITION 1This natural pool includes a planted area whereaquatic plants clean and purify the water.Swimming pool pumpsPool pumps and filtering systems can contributeto as much as 11% of a household’s electricityconsumption. The following tips can help you to saveelectricity when maintaining your pool:• If your pool pump and filtering system is currentlyrunning for more than six hours per day, ratheradjust it to operate on two cycles per day totallingsix hours. If this is insufficient, try increasing thefiltering time by increments of 30 minutes until thewater remains clear and chemically balanced.• During winter reduce your pool pump time toaround three hours per day or consider turning it offfor a few days at a time.• Set your pool pump to run outside of the 17:00 to21:00 period to reduce your household’scontribution to peak energy demand.• Clean your pool filters regularly, but make sure youdon’t dispose of your backwash water into thestormwater system.Swimming pool covers‰‰ ‰ ‰ ‰One of the greatest losses of water from a swimmingpool occurs as a result of evaporation when the sunwarms the surface of the water. Covering your pool orpart of it when it is not in use can reduce the amountof water lost to evaporation by up to 80% and cutthe amount of electricity required for cleaning andheating. Those with heated pools can reduce the costof energy required to heat the pool by up to 80% bycovering it when it is not in use. 25 Impervious poolcovers prevent heated surface water from escapinginto the atmosphere as water vapour and help tokeep pools clean by acting as barriers against dirtand leaves. This means that the pool does not haveto be topped up as often and the filter does notneed to run as often or as long. All you really needis a sheet of floating plastic to cover a pool, but forsafety and aesthetic reasons it is worth having acover professionally fitted. There are a number ofdifferent designs and materials on the market, butthe most important requirement is that it does notallow water vapour to escape. A pool net will notsuffice for this purpose.Reusing swimming pool backwash water‰ ‰ ‰ ‰Swimming pools with granular or sand filtersneed to be backwashed regularly so that the dirt,bacteria, chemicals and other pollutants can beflushed from the filter. These substances areharmful to aquatic ecosystems and human health.It is now a legal requirement that discardedbackwash water must be disposed of into thesewage system for further treatment, instead ofinto stormwater systems that lead directly to riversand the sea. Many pools are not set up to caterfor the disposal of backwash water into the sewer,and arrangements need to be made to allow forthis in compliance with the law. As an alternative,systems are available in South Africa that allow forbackwash water to be stored and treated on thepremises so that it can be reused for non-potablepurposes. This saves fresh water and reducespressure on overburdened sewage systems.Natural pools‰ ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰South Africa has approximately 650 000 swimmingpools containing 32,5 billion litres of our country’sscarce freshwater resources. In addition to losinga lot of this water to evaporation, swimming poolsrequire a great deal of energy to clean. Also, thechemicals or salts they use to keep the water clearare energy-intensive to produce and can polluteaquatic ecosystems.Natural pools use ecosystems to purify and cleanpool water, eliminating the need for chemicals andmaking the water more pleasant and healthier toswim in. Water is pumped between the swimmingarea and a constructed indigenous wetland, whereaquatic plants act as filters to remove and dissolvenutrients in the water before it is returned to thedeeper swimming area. The planted filtrationzone can be integrated with the pool (separatedfrom the swimming zone with a wall beneaththe water surface) or be situated elsewhere inthe garden. A wide range of attractive designscan be accommodated. The water in the pool isenvironmentally friendly and is safe to use inyour garden if required as it does not contain saltor chemicals.Some swimming pools can be retrofitted to operateas natural pools. It can, however, be difficult toachieve the right ecosystem balance to keep thewater clear. Rather consult a natural-pool specialistthan trying to do this yourself.25 The advantages of swimming-pool covers. 2013. Available at www.poolcoverssa.co.za/advantages.htm.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P31 EDITION 1HomerenovationsOrientationWhen planning a new home or the addition ofa new room, try to ensure that it faces north orhas some north-facing windows. In the southernhemisphere, north-facing buildings enjoy morehours of natural light and are warmer than buildingsorientated otherwise. This is called ‘passive solardesign' and it can reduce the need for artificiallighting and heating at no additional cost. Such asimple shift can save you a considerable amountof energy and money in the long run. For moreinformation on passive solar design visitwww.passivesolar.sustainablesources.com/.VentilationA well-ventilated home is essential for health andcomfort. Air conditioners and fans are often used toimprove ventilation, but they are energy-intensive andshould be a last resort. When building or renovating,there are several things you can do to ensure goodventilation, depending on the design. Demolishinga passage wall to create an open-plan home allowsfor better air movement and increases natural light.Installing windows on two sides of a room (even if oneset of windows is small and set high up in the wall forprivacy) allows for cross-ventilation. There is also thewhirlybird, which pipes fresh air into your home usingthe power of the wind. It is installed on your roof andconnected to the room below by means of a simpleduct. The vents of the whirlybird can be opened,closed or set anywhere in between by hand.Natural lightDesigning your home to take advantage of naturallight not only saves you a considerable amount ofenergy, but also helps to create a space that peopleenjoy being in. As mentioned under ‘Lighting’, naturallight actually improves people’s health, wellbeing andproductivity. The optimum design for natural lightwould include a portfolio of interventions, including
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDE P32 EDITION 1a north-facing orientation, large windows or glassedareas, with skylights and/or comparatively cheapersun pipes or daylight tubes for darker rooms orpassageways (see the section called ‘Natural light’under ‘Lighting’).Open-plan homes also enjoy far more natural lightand are more conducive to socialising with friendsand family than those in which the living areas areseparated. Knocking out unnecessary interior walls – ifstructurally possible – is relatively inexpensive comparedto other building costs and could vastly improve the lookof your home as well as your lifestyle.Building materialsWherever possible, reuse existing materials, such asbricks, wood, windows and fittings, rather than buyingnew ones. This is a form of recycling that helps toavoid extra pressure on already overexploited naturalresources. Secondhand materials are also muchcheaper and can be sourced through classified advertsonline or from building and demolition companies.If virgin materials must be used, choose locally madeones with low embodied energy – those that donot require a lot of energy to extract, manufacture,package and transport. Some materials with highembodied energy, such as cement and concrete, canbe used more efficiently when industrial waste orrecycled aggregate are added to the mix.Besides choosing local products and those withlow embodied energy, bear in mind the material’sdurability and ability to be reused. Although steel,for example, has high embodied energy, it is adurable material and won’t need to be replacednearly as often as timber – so the total embodiedenergy over time might be higher for woodproducts. However, the mining of the mineralsrequired for steel is far more ecologicallydestructive than the felling of timber.Clearly, choosing the most sustainable material isnot an exact science. There will be compromises andmuch depends on the intended use of the material.Nevertheless, look for secondhand materials. If thereare none, choose materials that are local, durableand reusable and have low embodied energy. Finally,remember to sell or donate your own used buildingmaterials that you don’t need or send them to anappropriate recycler.PaintsMost paints are made from the by-products of oil –a finite resource. Oil production is said to have peakedand is now in decline because of decreasing reserves. 26Both oil-based and water-based paints also emitvolatile organic compounds (VOCs) throughout thepaint’s lifetime that negatively affect human health.Cleaning paintbrushes, rollers and paint trays of oil-basedpaint requires chemical solvents that are highly pollutingto water sources – especially when they are poured intostormwater drains.Water-based paints contain fewer petroleumproducts and toxic ingredients, but are stillpolluting. While water-based paints with low VOCsare available from most hardware stores and arepreferable to solvent-based options, they still partlyrely on declining oil resources.However, paints and varnishes made from plantoils are a better option and natural gum-basedturpentine can be used to clean the brushes.These paints and varnishes emit zero VOCs, are notpolluting and are available in custom-made coloursfrom independent local producers. 27For more information on green building design andrenovation in South Africa visit the Green BuildingCouncil’s website at www.gbcsa.org.za.26 International Energy Agency. 2008. 2008 World Energy Outlook. Available at www.worldenergyoutlook.org/media/weowebsite/2008-1994/weo2008.pdf. 27 Pro Nature Paints. 2013. Available at www.pronature.co.za.
NEDBANKGREENLIVING GUIDEP33 EDITION 1GlossaryAlien invasive speciesSpecies of plants not native to the area that havethe potential to outcompete native species and alterindigenous ecosystems.Allotment gardenA parcel of a larger plot of land that is rented out toindividuals or families for growing fruit and vegetables.AquifersPermeable rock that can contain or transmitgroundwater.BiodegradableCapable of being decomposed by bacteria or otherliving organisms.CFLsCompact fluorescent lights, which use 80% lesselectricity and last 10 times longer than incandescentbulbs.CisternA tank, situated above a toilet bowl, used to storethe water for flushing the toilet.Closed fireplaceA fireplace with a door (or doors) attached to thefront to prevent excess heat loss.Collector plateA rectangular plate with a glass surface thattransfers heat from the sun to water in a solarwater-heating system.CondenserA series of thin tubes on the back of a refrigeratorthat release heat extracted from the refrigeratorinto the room.Drip irrigationA system of irrigation that waters plants at the soillevel just above the roots or delivers water directly tothe roots.Electric geyserA water-heating system that uses heat derivedfrom electricity.Embodied energyThe total energy required to extract, manufacture,package and transport an item.Geyser blanketA layer of insulation customised to fit around a geyserto prevent the loss of heat.Greenhouse gas emissionsAtmospheric gases that contribute to globalwarming or climate change, including carbondioxide (CO 2 ), methane (CH 4 ), nitrous oxide (NO 2 )and water vapour.Grey waterWater that has been used in an application, but is stillof sufficient quality to be reused for another purpose,eg water from hand basins, washing machines orshowers used for toilet flushing.Hazardous wasteWaste that is flammable, corrosive, toxic, explosive,or harmful to human or ecosystem health.LaggingInsulation used to prevent the loss of heat, in this casefrom hot-water pipes.LPGLiquefied petroleum gas – a flammable mixture ofhydrocarbon gases derived from petroleum and usedas a cooking or heating fuel.Passive solar designAn approach to building design that makes best use ofthe sun, shade and prevailing winds to heat and coolliving spaces instead of using electricity.Peak electricity demandThe time of day and year when total demand forelectricity is at its highest, typically during winterevenings when more heating and lighting are required.A country’s power systems need to be designed tomeet peak demand and avoid blackouts, so shiftingelectricity usage to non-peak times helps to slowthe rise in peak demand and can reduce the need foradditional power plants to be built.Permeable pavingPaving options such as specially designed brickpavers, gravel, bark chips or raised wooden deckingthat allows water to pass into the soil.PhosphatesInorganic compounds containing phosphorus presentin personal and household cleaning products andfertilisers, contributing to algal blooms in rivers anddams and degrading water quality and habitats.Potable waterWater that is treated or purified to drinking quality.ThermostatA device that automatically regulates temperatureor that activates or deactivates a device (egan electrical heating element) when a certaintemperature is reached.Vertical gardensGardens designed to make use of vertical rather thanhorizontal space through the use of trellises, shelvesor other options.VOCsVolatile organic compounds – some of which aredangerous to human health because of compoundinglong-term effects.WattageThe operating power of an electrical appliance,expressed in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW).