Energy Diet


Hi! My name is Cecilia and I am married to Mark. We live in Johannesburg,South Africa, having just moved into an old house in an established suburb in the heart of the city. We just had a baby girl, Hannah, who is now three and a half months old.

We love Jozi, and living within walking distance from 'everything' helps!

I am an architect, but am currently on maternity leave, figuring this motherhood thing out.

We are looking forward to the 360º Energy Diet. We are hoping it will incentivize us to make changes in our lifestyle for the good of our community and our health.


South Africa Participants

South Africa
Your Points Percentile:
Total Country Participants:

At Home (70%)

  • Changed thermostat
  • Changed settings on refrigerator, freezer, water heater and washer
  • Replaced at least one third of light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs
  • Disconnected electronic devices when not in use

Wild Card Items

  • Eliminated second freezer or refrigerator
  • Insulated water heater
  • Replaced appliances with green-certified products
  • Hung clothes up to dry instead of using the dryer
  • Sealed all of the windows and doors
  • My own action: switch second geyser to kitchen/2nd bathroom off, Switched pool pump to less regular cycle.

Food (50%)

  • Ate a vegetarian diet one day a week
  • Cut down on take-away meals
  • Limited daily intake of beef to 8 ounces
  • Switched to sustainable seafood

Wild Card Items

  • Started a food-based garden
  • Ate vegan or raw for a certain number of days per week
  • Bought grass-fed beef instead of conventional
  • Gave up at least one processed food
  • My own action: Buy local honey instead of imported.

Transportation (25%)

  • Drove no faster than the posted the speed limit, avoided rapid acceleration or braking
  • Removed extra weight from car, inflated tires
  • Used public transportation instead of driving
  • Reduced your planned air travel by one trip

Wild Card Items

  • Bought carbon offsets for travel
  • Carpooled or found a ride-sharing program
  • Invested in a more fuel-efficient car
  • My own action: Walk instead of drive, daily

Waste Disposal And Reduction (59%)

  • Recycled all glass, aluminum, plastic, batteries and paper
  • Eliminated advertising mail
  • Changed to paperless billing
  • Eliminated the use of plastic and paper bags

Wild Card Items

  • Began composting at home
  • Used biodegradable bags for trash or walking the dog
  • Recycled or donated old athletic shoes and clothes
  • Recycled or donated old electronics
  • My own action: Donated old clothes

Water Use (55%)

  • Gave up bottled water
  • Turned off tap when brushing teeth, scrubbing dishes
  • Shortened showering time
  • Replaced shower head with a low-flow model

Wild Card Items

  • Used xeriscaping for yard
  • Installed a rain barrel to collect water for garden, lawn and plants
  • Installed a low-flow toilet
  • My own action: Share a bathwater with rest of family!

What You Buy (83%)

  • Tallied stats for water, electricity, natural gas and gasoline use
  • Switched to organic produce
  • Switched to eco-friendly cleaning methods
  • Switched to locally made (non-produce) products where possible

Wild Card Items

  • Cut use of disposable items
  • Repaired or extended use of clothing items
  • Stopped using wrapping paper for gifts
  • Changed Printing Habits
  • Rented or borrowed instead of buying infrequently used items
Total Points: 385

This week marks the last stretch for the energy diet. Unlike other diets I imagine, it’s not exactly a big deadline looming ahead after which we get a free pass to say, run an electric kiln in our back yard and whip out the 4×4 Utility Vehicle to do Fartlek exercises from lamppost to lamppost…

The Cloth Diaper Diaries

So. I’ve been avoiding the issue and it is time to come clean. I’ve been experimenting with the cloth diapers. I am sad to say that it didn’t work for us. Here’s what went wrong: After some research into cloth diaper brands I decided to buy six diapers I saw good reviews on from the…

We have a public transport challenge in South Africa. The bus routes mainly service the few main arteries in the city, and the rest is serviced by an informal system of minibus taxis that strikes fear into the hearts of the regular car-driving public (mostly the fear is replaced by unadulterated anger and hate). Taxi…

Falling Off the Wagon

We’ve hit a couple of hiccups in our energy diet challenge since we have been traveling and spent the last week in Cape Town. While not quite a holiday (Mark is working and I am spending time with my sister), I had high hopes for us continuing in the same energy saving vein as we…

Food Review

We planted our vegetable garden with winter vegetables a few weeks before the challenge. Unfortunately it doesn’t look very inspiring. I think there are a few carrots sprouting, and something that resembles parsley (I didn’t even know we planted parsley!). Maybe it is celery. But following this weeks’ cold temperatures, I think it is probably…

Waste (Mis)management!

This week we had to review our waste management efforts. We kind of patted ourselves on the back for recycling already , but judging by this photo taken last week, we clearly haven’t been bringing our A-game. I count three items that do not belong in this picture. You? Trust me, this behaviour has been…

Our Vital Statistics

Electricity average: 35kWh/day=1065kWh/month = 12775kWh/year Water: 27Kl/ month= 324Kl / year * Petrol: 160l /month = 1920l/year** Anthracite: 15 bags of coal x 75Kg for year=1125Kg of anthracite coal /year Meat: Red meat: 4x month = 4 x 400g =1.6kgx12=19.2Kg/yr Other meat: (chicken, fish) 6-7x weekly= 11.2Kg/month =134Kg/yr Disposables Plastic bags: 3-4 bags twice a…

My name is Cecilia and I am married to Mark. We have a little three-and- a- half month old baby girl, Hannah. I am an architect, but am currently on maternity leave. We live in Johannesburg, South Africa and recently moved into an 80-year-old house in an established suburb in the heart of the city.…