eco-friendly summer solutions
We all know how to conserve energy during the winter months, but how do we keep up the good work now that summer is here? Rayne Neave, Eco Exhibit Managing Director, tells us how we can keep our homes eco-friendly when the weather turns warm. Keep Cool Like winter, we have to think of insulation in summer too. Insulation helps to regulate heat transference, keeping a home warm in winter and cool in summer. If you haven’t got insulation in your ceilings, it's worth having this seen to. For houses with large glass facades, a simple retrofit is to have solar control film or automated solar blinds installed. This also helps to manage the heat transference and will hopefully reduce the need to use air-conditioning in summer and heaters in winter. Solarscreen supply transparent roller shades that filter out heat rays and control UV rays. Installing these shades protects furniture and carpets from fading by 98%. Additionally, Solarscreen offers window tinting film which can be used for buildings and cars. It greatly increases glass resistance to shattering, reduces heat penetration by up to 55% and controls UV penetration up to 98%. Save Water Water scarcity becomes a concern during summer so be water-wise. There are wonderful water saving devices on the market now that can be installed within your home without much difficulty. Grohe offers showerheads which are water efficient. They provide fast and precise flow and temperature control which reduces water and energy consumption. Another supplier for showerheads is Hansgrohe. Their showerhead system uses a combination of air and water which results in the use of less water, energy and CO2. Installing a small domestic grey water system will allow you to use waste water from the shower and bath to water your garden. Rainwater harvesting is worth doing through all the seasons as even a small rain tank will reduce your demand on municipal water. Green Your Home EASYGRASSE, a supplier of artificial grass, offers customers the opportunity of having green grass throughout the year, regardless of the season. It is a great conserver of water with no weeding, mowing or fertilising required. This alternative is easy to maintain and will give you the affect of a beautifully mowed lawn. If you like natural lawn I would recommend you use slow-release, organic fertilisers. Most lawn and garden outlets stock a variety of organic fertilisers available to suit any pocket. If you love gardening, start incorporating plants that are indigenous to your area and are able to adjust to local climatic conditions. Invest in an indoor composter, this will reduce food wastage and create natural compost for the garden. Filling your office or home with flowers and plants instead of using synthetic air freshener is a natural way of getting rid of unpleasant odours, but keep in mind that some plants can remove up to 87% of indoor air within 24 hours. Eco Entertaining Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a cost-effective and eco-friendly activity that you and your family can do together. This will allow you to whip up some garden fresh produce that require little or no cooking energy. For the Sunday braai perhaps consider using lump brands of charcoal made from invasive tree species, or harvested from sustainably managed forests, instead of briquettes as these may contain coal dust or other additives as binders. Eco Exhibit is a permanent exhibition space at Northgate Estate in Cape Town. It features South African companies operating in the commercial and residential construction industries who manufacturer and market eco–friendly and environmentally beneficial materials. For more information visit ecoexhibit.co.za.