This summer is set to be a scorcher across South Africa (thanks, global warming!), so it’s time for people across the country to start using any measure necessary to beat the heat.
That said, there is a movement sweeping the nation, and indeed the world, to do better for the planet. With drought, load shedding, and a general heightened awareness of the environment, many South Africans have already been doing their best to be off the grid or, at the very least, have back-up solutions to hand. As a result of heightened awareness, many have also become significantly more eco-conscious in general day-to-day life.
Plastic straw? No thanks, we’re all carrying metal or bamboo straws, or urging retailers and restaurants to provide alternatives. Wrapping leftovers in cling wrap? Thank goodness for the creation of beeswax wraps. Turning the hosepipe on the garden? Nope, we’re all about collecting shower water in buckets now.
But when it comes to staying cool during the long, hot days of summer, we tend to reach a point of desperation holding the fridge door open and standing in front of it for long periods, hanging out for much longer than necessary in the freezer aisle in supermarkets, or blasting energy-burning fans on full all over the house or office.
Fortunately, there are energy-efficient ways for South Africans to stay cool this summer.
Say no to a hot stove
Why stand in front of a hot stove, when you could chill around the braai. At least being outdoors, there’s likely to be at least a slight a breeze. Or how about having a picnic indoors, if the sun is beating down and it’s too hot to be outside? Skip cooking and enjoy cold meats, cheeses, salad, and the like.
Alternatively, use a microwave letting off less heat in your kitchen and using 50% less energy to heat than a conventional oven.
Remember the simple things
It’s so easy to flick a switch for a quick fix when you have a fan or air conditioner at home. Too often, we don’t think about all the options available to us. Cooling off can also be quickly, and insanely simply, achieved by switching to cooler clothes (think lighter, breathable fabrics and looser fits), opening windows, closing curtains, and turning off the lights.
Make an easy switch
Why is it that it is always when you need something most that it decides to stop working? But maybe your air conditioner deciding to give up on life is the perfect excuse to switch to a more energy-efficient solution. Or you could just make the switch anyway.
If you are going to use an air conditioner, be sure to close windows and doors to ensure the device doesn’t have to work overtime and you can cool down the desired area of your home sufficiently. Once cool, turn the device off and don’t let the heat back in. You should also check the energy rating and statistics of the air conditioner you’re looking to purchase.
Fortunately, if your budget is already stretched this festive season (as is the case for so many people) and your cash is a bit thin, online retailer Teljoy offers a range of energy-efficient air conditioners which are available through the company’s innovative rent-to-own model. You can rent electronics, home appliances and furniture on a month-to-month contract with the option to take ownership after the predetermined rental period.
Water is your friend
If you’ve ever been in a swimming pool, you’ll know that feeling when you get out of the water and even the slightest breeze feels magnificently cool on your skin. The same goes for getting out of the bath or shower in summer. Just open your bathroom window and enjoy!
As an additional plus, you can also save water by switching off the tap while you soap yourself up. This is not only so much more bearable in summer than in winter, but actually helps you cool down.
A cloth dampened with cold water also works wonders placed on your forehead, if you’re able to sit back, relax and take a break to cool down. Likewise, sleeping under a damp sheet is the oldest trick in the book for those sweltering nights in the height of summer.