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Inexpensive ways to introduce green elements into your home

The term ‘green’ is not a new concept within the property market; however, with electricity pricing pressure, more and more buyers are considering energy efficiency as an important factor when searching for the ideal property.

With residential electricity tariffs increasing annually, South Africans are encouraged to find ways to reduce their household energy consumption, especially because households with higher consumption levels are charged more for the units of electricity that they use. According to Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, homeowners also stand to recoup a large percentage of the cost of installing energy efficient solutions when they sell. Adding green features can give the seller an added advantage in the market.

However, going fully green can be costly – especially within our current economy. Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, therefore suggests that homeowners start by making small changes, such as installing energy-efficient lighting, and gradually make the home more energy efficient over time. “Consistent small changes will add up and make a big difference over time,” he suggests.

Below, RE/MAX of Southern Africa suggests four small changes homeowners can make to lower their consumption and make their home more eco-friendly:

  1. Installing good ceiling insulation can lower your heating and cooling costs by as much as 40%. Be sure to install insulation with the correct R-value for the climate zone of your region (a full list of zones can be found in Annexture A of the SANS 10400-XA: 2011 regulation). An R-value is the measure of effectiveness of insulation – the higher this value, the greater the effectiveness.
  2. Replace aged window frames in order to better insulate your home and lower reliance on heating and cooling measures. High-efficiency windows are a better option than those that only just meet energy-efficiency standards.
  3. Replace all your faucets with flow-restricting fixtures. When looking at plumbing fittings, only use low-flow water fixtures. Invest in a dual-flush toilet mechanism to lower water consumption.
  4. Over time, replace all your old appliances with more energy efficient options. Appliances are graded from ‘A’ to ‘G’ to indicate the energy consumption of the product, with the letter ‘A’ indicating that it is the most energy-efficient.

“Aside from the cost factor, the reason for this is a movement towards being more environmentally conscience and reducing the household’s carbon footprint. I would encourage homeowners to consider going green simply because it is better for the environment and is the socially responsible thing to do,” Goslett concludes.

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