How the Ngewana family cut their electricity usage by 48%

The Ngewana family at their home in Cape Town. From L – R: daughter Thulisa, son Lutholuhle, mommy Bulelwa and daddy Zwelethu. PHOTO: 49M

The family accepted the My Green Home challenge to go green and their first step was to know their number, which was 41. Read the infographic below to see the savings goals the Ngewana had set for themselves and the results they achieved.


Some were sceptical that such drastic cuts could be achieved in such a short period of time, but the Ngewana family has demolished every one of those targets by a good margin.

Now, a year down the line, when asked if they were still practicing their good habits, Zwelethu, the head of the family, said they were.

“We obviously make the odd slips here and there such as leaving lights on in rooms which are not in use, but generally speaking many of the electricity-saving training we received has become a habit. We have become very conscious of how we behave and we are really tuned in to it,” he says.

Consider making use of the following behavioural and structural changes which the Ngewana family implemented to reduce their consumption:

  • Only boil as much water as you need
  • Use electricity saving appliances for cooking, and eat food which doesn’t require cooking.
  • Only iron clothes as and when you need them.
  • Reduce the geyser thermostat setting from 70 to 60 degrees
  • Shorten your shower time
  • Cut down the time that their pool pump runs from over 10 hours to just three hours for the winter
  • Consider retrofitting your house with a wide range of energy-saving equipment, such as LED lighting, a variable-speed pool pump and a closed-combustion fireplace for winter heating
  • Ceiling insulation will assist in maintaining more constant temperatures in the house by blocking out heat from the sun shining on the roof in summer to retaining the heat inside from your fireplace during winter.

“We are saving a lot and the money we are saving on the monthly electricity bill is now being channeled to other investment opportunities,” says Zwelethu.

My Green Home addressed every area of the family’s life that involved energy, water and waste.

My Green Home was funded by the German government through the South African-German Energy Programme (SAGEN). Other supporters of the project were Karebo Systems, the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) and a range of product sponsors and partner organisations.

About 49M
The 49M campaign was launched in March 2011 as a response to the country’s constrained power system. The campaign encourages individuals and corporates to lead energy smart lifestyles thereby saving the planet and their pockets. South Africans are encouraged to join the campaign by visiting to pledge their support. Go to the 49M Facebook page or tweet @49MillionSA.

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