power to save ENERGY

How many ways can you think of to save energy around your house?

How many ways can you think of to save energy around your house?

South Africa's recent electricity problems taught us all to think about the energy we use every day. There's never enough energy to waste. Because of the Soccer World Cup in 2010, we have to learn how to save energy so there is enough to go around when the fun begins.

Here are some tips on what you can do to save electricity - take them up today!

l We really can change the world one light bulb at a time. The key is that the more people take this step, the more we can change the world. Tell your parents about energy-efficient light bulbs called Compact Fluorescent Lamps. They are the funky looking ones that you can't see through, and they use about 80percent less electricity and last six times longer.

l Don't leave lights on when no one is in the room. If you are going to be out of the room for more than five minutes, turn the light off.

If you know of a light that everyone forgets to turn off, make a sticker or a sign to hang next to the switch that says: "Lights Out" or "Don't Forget".

l Turn off the TV when no one is watching it.

The same goes for computers, radios, stereos and games that use electricity when you're not using them. If no one is using it, turn it off. Turn off all the appliances at the power strip - that's the four- or six-plug extension cord that you plug all your electrical things into.

Some devices like cellphone chargers draw small amounts of power all the time. The best thing to do is pull them all out.

l When it's really hot and you just want to sit and chill, close all the doors to the room where you are sitting and pull the curtains. That way the sun's heat won't get into the room and you'll stay cool.

Fans use a lot less electricity than air conditioners, so use the whirly birds wherever possible.

If you do have an air conditioner, make sure you close all the doors and windows in the room where you'll be sitting chilling. That way the machine won't have to use so much energy to get the place cool.

l Wasting water wastes electricity. Why? Because the biggest use of electricity in most cities is supplying water and cleaning it up after it's been used.

If you have an old-fashioned toilet, put a brick in the tank above the seat. This will mean you use less water every time you pull the flush handle.

Drippy taps are bad, too. A tap that leaks enough water to fill a cold drink bottle every 30 minutes will waste about 8300litres of water a year.

l Another simple way to save water and energy is to take shorter showers. You'll use less hot water - and water heaters account for nearly a quarter of your home's energy use.

l Close the fridge door. Don't keep it open any longer than you need to keep all the cold air in.

To check if the door seals properly and isn't losing cool air, close the door on a R10 note and then see how easy it is to pull out. If the note slides out easily, the door is probably leaking cold air from inside.

l If your family leaves a security light on overnight, change the incandescent bulb to the compact fluorescent one. Some of them come in yellow so they won't attract bugs.

l If you buy things that can be used over and over instead of buying disposable items that are used once and then thrown away, you will save the materials used to produce them and you'll reduce the amount of landfill space we need when they are thrown away.

l When your family goes shopping, take shopping bags with you to save having to buy new ones.

Plastic bags start out as either oil or natural gas and oil and natural gas are non-renewable.l In your school ...

The energy-saving ideas you used at home can also be used in school.

Get your teacher to create a weekly "energy monitor" - someone whose job it is to make sure lights are out when there's no one in a room. He or she can also make sure that electrical machines are turned off when not being used.

Turn off the lights when you leave a room.

Replace regular light globes with energy saving lamps - they use about 25percent of the energy and last 6 to 8 times longer. - Nersa