Energy Diet


Alberton (just outside Johannesburg, South Africa) has been my home for 38 years. Mariette is my wife of 7 years and we have a gorgeous 19-month-old girl, Jayme. Let's not ignore the English Bulldog (Maya) and Boston Terrier (Chino). I work in the hygiene & cleaning industry with an active drive to go green. Besides spending time with my family, I also enjoy mountain biking.


South Africa Participants

South Africa
Your Points Percentile:
Total Country Participants:

At Home (83%)

  • 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: Installed timer to regulate geyser operating times

Food (72%)

  • 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

Transportation (55%)

  • 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

Waste Disposal And Reduction (50%)

  • 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

Water Use (80%)

  • 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

What You Buy (62%)

  • 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: 445

Make a Difference

So the energy diet is nearing the end, and in the 8 weeks I’ve managed to complete a number of tasks showing that I can make a difference and reduce my energy usage and more importantly, wastage. The initial score at the start of the diet was 235 points and that has now moved up…

Local Is Lekker

To non-South Africans, “Local is Lekker” is a common phrase meaning the things close to home are often the best. Lekker (adjective) actually means delicious, but is also used to describe something as nice, cool, awesome and many more similar descriptions. The best sounding English word that sounds like lekker is lacquer (as in lacquer…

Watered Down

Water, probably the most precious resource known to man and something we cannot live without for many days, yet one of the most wasted.   Xeriscaping, according to Wikipedia, refers to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation. I never knew that word existed until I…

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Waste Disposal and Reduction was officially the area that I’ve scored the least in when I started this diet. Waste Disposal for many South Africans is as simple as putting it all in one wheelie bin and let the municipal rubbish removal service take care of the rest. Why would I want to separate the…

Someone Call Me a Cab

Transportation At the start of my 360° Energy Diet, this was my second highest scoring category, yet it could be the lowest score at the end of the diet due mainly to restrictions in a public transport system in Gauteng, at least in the area that I live in. I own a Toyota Verso 1.6S,…

Beefing Up My Diet Efforts

Food Just the thought of food and my mouth starts to water. I cannot think of anything else in this world that is as diverse as food, even though there are essentially only eight different food groups (dairy, fats & oils, fruit, grains or carbohydrates, meat or protein, sweets, vegetables and water). It’s the way…

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Just as I started the 360° Energy Diet last week, a heat wave hits us for 4 days. Johannesburg experienced its hottest recorded temperatures, ever, for the month of October – 33.4°C (92.1°F). While it’s great for a tan, it’s not great for energy bills as our air conditioner was used for 2-3 hours every…

Shedding Light on the Energy Bills

My name is Gerald, Mariëtte is my loving wife and Jayme is our precious little angel (daughter), who is quickly approaching 20 months of age. Rounding out the family are our two dogs, Maya (English bulldog) and Chino (Boston terrier). I’m the supply chain manager at a company providing hygiene, deep clean & pest control…