Winter in South Africa: Staying warm the eco-friendly way

The last week brought a sudden and severe burst of winter for South Africa. Icy winds, heavy rainfalls and snow in quite some volumes swept over the country.  With heavy snowfalls, authorities were forced to close a number of major roads, leaving travelers and commuters stranded in icy weather.  Life in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Lesotho, Free State and even some parts of the arid Northern Cape were disrupted by snowfall.

More cold weather and low temperatures are predicted, thus consider these tips for staying warm the sustainable way:

Sustainable heating

Fireplace and wood:

Be sure to use only exotic wood for your fireplace or stove and not any indigenous or protected trees.   Check with your supplier where they source their wood from, and whether it complies with sustainable practices.  Be wary of artificial logs or petroleum-based products which may negatively impact on your health and the health of your family.

Warm the green way:

Opt for low-energy ways of staying warm such as low-energy consumption electrical blankets or hot water bottles.  Only switch on heating and or electrical blankets when they are needed.  Avoid heating your entire residence and rather only warm up the rooms that you use regularly.

Insulation

Insulate geysers and water pipes to prevent heat loss and save energy.  Insulating geysers and water pipes also mean that water will be conserved as the time of running the tap for hot water will reduced.

A fairly simple way to keep warm air indoors is to close all unnecessary windows and doors.  By limiting the incoming cold air the need for artificial heating of indoor environments will be reduced.

Face the sun

South Africa is blessed with sunshine – thus, beat the winter chills by making the most of sunny winter days.  Shift your living and working spaces to allow maximum warming from the sun.  Not only will your heating bill be lower, but lighting levels will also be improved.

Solar heaters is another excellent option for South African homes. Consider  installing a small unit that will cover your household needs.

Wholesome soups

Support your local farmer’s market or other local produce, buy local vegetables and stew up wholesome soups.  Buying local produce often means less packaging material and reduced waste, reduced long distance product transport and a fresher and healthier product for the consumer.

Get some exercise

Walk instead of driving for errands in your immediate surroundings, or walking your dog in the morning or evenings will have you feeling warmer and less inclined to switch on the electronic heaters.

With these tips, your household environment will be warmer and you will be contributing to a more sustainable environment.

Photo credits: some rights reserved by tomylees, steve took it and dbz885 via flickr.

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Filed under Environmental news: South Africa & Africa

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