South Africans are generally – and genuinely – interested in saving electricity. This is the view of Alexander Haw, group sustainability manager of Massmart.
Massmart is one of the more than 100 businesses that have pledged their support for the 49M campaign, thus demonstrating commitment to the global agenda for energy efficiency and to playing a proactive role in contributing to energy saving across South Africa.
At a local level, Haw said, the company has really been encouraged by customer demand for energy efficient and alternative energy products, particularly solar lights, gas heaters and energy efficient lamps.
Speaking on energy-guzzling appliances, Haw says that typically, geysers and heaters are the most significant users of energy. “However, dishwashers, stoves and lights can also contribute significantly to household energy consumption.
His advice to consumers is that when purchasing products – particularly major appliances – customers should pay attention to energy rating labels and, as far as possible, try to purchase those that come with high-efficiency ratings.
But people also worry about how long it takes to recoup the money invested into these appliances, and whether the saving is worth the effort.
“Calculating the payback period on appliances and energy efficient products can be challenging because behaviour and usage patterns vary significantly from household to household, but every customer will definitely see the savings over time if most appliances are energy efficient. Moreover, electricity tariffs differ by region and this will also have an impact on how quickly the investment is recouped.
For example, savings can be achieved by simply replacing a single 40W incandescent bulb with a 7W energy saver which can save as much as 36000 WH of electricity a year,” he says. An induction stove is also 25% more energy-efficient than conventional stovetops.
Massmart recommends that customers adopt a two-pronged approach. Firstly, tackle the most affordable items such as household and security lights and then pay attention when replacing and investing in major household appliances, says Haw.
“Wherever possible, try to minimise non-essential energy use by purchasing solar powered garden and security lights of which a wide variety are currently on offer in stores.
Most retailers now carry a wide range of energy efficient appliances and products ranging from A+++ rated refrigerator to solar lights, solar geysers, household energy consumption meters and household energy management apps. Apart from the fact that it will be kinder towards the environment, energy efficient appliances will also save, where applicable, on water consumption, of which we are now experiencing a shortage,” he says.