According to Dr. Karen Surridge from the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), prioritizing energy efficiency is crucial. Adjusting both behavior and equipment can effectively manage electricity demand in homes, leading to reduced electricity bills. This approach falls under the energy industry concept known as demand-side management, where the collective efforts of households, businesses, and industries can significantly impact the support for the electricity grid.
Even if your neighbors are not actively participating in demand-side management, adopting energy-efficient habits within your household can yield substantial benefits. Surridge emphasizes the often overlooked role of lighting in energy efficiency measures. While attention is frequently given to technologies like solar geysers or solar panels, lighting plays a significant role in overall impact.
Surridge advocates for a dual focus on behavior and technology in managing lighting efficiency. Behavioral changes involve decisions to lead a more energy-efficient lifestyle, such as turning off lights in unused rooms and adjusting outside light settings to activate only when motion is detected at night. These simple practices require no financial investment but contribute to energy savings.
The equipment component involves upgrading lighting fixtures. Replacing incandescent or fluorescent lights with LEDs not only enhances the quality and quantity of light but also reduces costs. Surridge highlights that a single 60W incandescent bulb, equivalent to the power needed for two bedside lamps, can illuminate an entire house when replaced with LEDs. LEDs offer clearer, higher quality light and boast a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours, compared to the 1,000-hour lifespan of an average incandescent light.
Furthermore, LEDs are more energy-efficient, using the same amount of electricity as 12 LEDs of 5W each to match the output of one 60W incandescent bulb. This transition to LEDs presents a clear business case for households, as installing these lights and practicing energy-efficient habits can result in significant electricity savings, potentially reducing usage by at least 15% in an average suburban household. Beyond individual benefits, widespread adoption of such practices contributes to a collective reduction in electricity demand, potentially alleviating issues like load shedding.”