Home > Lifestyle > EnviroHealth > 21st century life Updated 07 March 2014 Load shedding is your fault too The knee-jerk response when the lights go out is to curse our friendly parastatal electricity provider, but we're all responsible for this mess. 21 (Shutterstock) ~ Related Blackout! Start A Health24 blog » Follow Health24 on Facebook » Test Are you envirohealth savvy? » Ask EnviroHealth Expert » Blood Lions: Bred for the Bullet movie trailer The amazing mountains on Pluto It's OK to rage against Eskom’s incompetencies; it lets off steam and makes us feel marginally better. It’s an understandable human response, similar to our reaction every time there’s a petrol or utility price hike. It’s always more comfortable to decide the problem lies outside ourselves, isn't it?But load-shedding is happening, and will continue to happen, not just because the powers that be are being willful, nasty and badly organized (although the latter can certainly be a factor). The larger picture is that it's happening because of our unchecked appetite for energy, and because there simply isn’t going to be enough to feed our greed. Being plunged into darkness is an inconvenience, sure – but let's also treat it as a wake-up call and take some responsibility for our part in it. There are multiple small ways to change that together save the megawatts:Harness the sunSA is blessed with sunshine – don’t let it go to waste. If you’ve got a solar water heater you’re earning your greenie points, but even if you’re not quite ready to take that step yet, there are other ways to use those free rays.The hot box: an ancient art A cheap, primitive marvel that works like a slow-cooker, but without the electricity.Block the chillGoing green often involves thinking low-tech and retro: draught excluders, or "door snakes/sausages" really work. And they're fun too.Hot, or scalding?Do you add cold to your bath/shower water? Then your geyser's thermostat probably needs to be taken down a notch.Keep your geyser cosyA geyser blanket costs a couple of hundred rand, but you'll quickly make that back, and more, on energy savings.Pool pumps are energy drainsIn households with swimming pools, the pump guzzles 11-20% of total electricity. Have a cool green laundry dayHot water is the most energy-intensive aspect of your washing-machine.Make space heating countSpace heating is second only to the geyser as the energy hog in most homes. Computers don't mind being offThey're made to be switched on and off a lot, so don't leave them running unecessarily.Fans are cooler than airconCooler in terms of energy-use, that is.Keep the sun in a jarGlowing “sun jars” and other solar-powered lights don't just earn their keep as energy helpers, they're pretty too.What's wrong with a wrinkle?Ironing is an energy-hungry, tedious activity. Some people are opting to do it much less - or not at all. Get your nightly dose of darknessMore motivation to switch off: too much artificial light at night may have negative health effects. The most recent research suggests a possible link with diabetes.Green ceilingsInsulating the ceiling in your home is an efficient way to make it warmer in winter and cooler in summer.Clean green dishwashingDo dishwashers beat manual washing energy-wise? Yes, if they’re used optimally. Olivia Rose-Innes.@ORoseInn Olivia Rose-Innes is Health24’s EnviroHealth Editor. Read more of her columns and articles or post a question to her expert forum. More in Lifestyle What does a healthy body look like on the inside? More: EnviroHealth21st century life advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 21 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... From our sponsors Keep an eye on your vision Which skin products are better, ‘medical grade’ or ‘over-the-counter’? Win 1 of 6 R5000 cash prizes Win a R2 000 Skin Renewal voucher Live healthier Exercise benefits for seniors » Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them. No relief for MS » Drug shows promise against MS in mouse study Vitamin D may slow multiple sclerosis Obesity in girls tied to higher MS risk Exercise may not lower women's risk of MS A Harvard study showed no evidence to support the idea that exercise lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis.