Matthew Walton puts his house in order

Matthew Walton loves his Diep River home – a spacious property with a historical farmhouse style house tucked away in the dense suburb. Matthew has a keen interest in environmental issues and in late 2003 decided it was time to put his own house in order!

Matthew performed a household audit, looking at the energy and water use. The audit considered whether the same water and energy service could be supplied more effciently – without changing the family’s quality of life. The audit led to some important changes.


Nine conventional incandescent light bulbs (60 and 100 watt) were replaced with compact fuorescent bulbs (9 and 11 watt). This included two outdoor lights. He installed a geyser timer. This was programmed to turn on early in the morning, ensuring hot water for the family on waking, was off throughout most of the day and turned on again in time for the family’s evening bath time.

A second, old geyser was found in the ceiling. This geyser was no longer being used. It was still on, however, losing heat and wasting electricity by reheating itself throughout the day and night. This geyser was switched off. The Walton family were provided with a Hot Box to reduce their cooking costs.


He installed a low-flow shower head. This reduced the flow of water through the nozzle, while retaining the pressure. The shower felt just as good! A hippo flush bag was installed in the guest toilet and a multi-flush system was installed in the three family toilets.Tap aerators were put on the kitchen taps.

Before the changes the household electricity bill stood at an average of 3 122 kWh a month. This was costing the family R1 217,00 each month. Making these changes cost R738,00. A month after the changes the Walton’s electricity bill had come down to 1 794 kWh – a saving of 1 327 kWh every month. Their monthly bill was now R700,00, saving some R500,00/month for the family. With this saving the family paid off the cost of the changes within six weeks.

The Walton’s water usage before the changes stood at a monthly average of 40,5 kl, costing about R400,00/month. Making the changes cost the Walton family R1 385,00, the majority of this being for the installation of the three multi-flush systems. A month after the changes the Walton’s water usage had come down to 26,9 kl – a saving of 13,5 kl of water every month. Their monthly bill was now
approximately R270,00 – a saving of some R130,00/month for the family. With this saving the family paid off the cost of the changes within 10 months.

source: SMART Living Handbook

Get practical:

Heating your water
Keeping your house warm

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