Our Environment

From a conservation perspective, Kanonberg is indeed unique.
Being part of the conservation seam of the adjacent Tygerberg Nature Reserve, Kanonberg offers spectacular views over the mountains of the Boland. In addition, the Tygerberg Nature Reserve can be experienced first-hand, with sightings of antelope and scarce bird species a special bonus.

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Save water in your kitchen
  • Ensure washing machines or dishwashers have a full load before running them.
  • Rinse glasses, cutlery and vegetables in a basin of water, rather than under a running tap, and reuse the water for pot plants or in the garden.
  • Rinse water can be reused for the next cycle of washing up before being discarded.
  • Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge so that you don’t run lukewarm water down the drain when waiting for it to cool.
  • Run tap water into a bottle when waiting for it to heat up.
  • Thaw frozen foods in the fridge, sunlight or microwave rather than placing them under running water.
  • Microwave, steam or use a pressure cooker to cook vegetables. This retains more of the flavour and uses less water than boiling.
Save water in your bathroom
  • Close the tap when brushing your teeth. This saves up to 20 litres per month. Use a mug of water to rinse your toothbrush.
  • Plug the sink when shaving rather than rinsing your razor under running water. This saves up to 45 litres per month.
  • A half-filled bath uses about 113 litres, a 5-minute shower uses about 56 litres. Shower rather than bath, if you have to bath make it a shallow one or share it.
  • Reuse bath water in your garden.
  • Install a new water-saving toilet or put a clean, sealed plastic container filled with sand in the toilet cistern. This could save you up to 7 300 litres each year.
  • A toilet leak can waste up to 30 litres an hour – check if your toilet is leaking by adding a few drops of food dye to the cistern. If the colour seeps into the bowl, you have a leak, which should be fixed as soon as possible.
  • Install a water-saving shower head, take shorter showers, don’t run the water at full force and turn off the shower when soaping or shaving.
Save water throughout your home
  • Ensure all taps are fully closed – a dripping tap at 1 drip per second wastes up to 30 litres a day – that is equivalent to 10 000 litres a year.
  • Replace tap washers regularly and fit tap aerators to restrict and spread the flow. This saves water yet feels like you are using the same amount of water.
    Ensure your plumbing system is regularly checked for leaks and engage a plumber when necessary.
Save water in your garden
  • Water your garden before 10:00 or after 16:00, and only when necessary.
  • Re-use your bath and sink water to water plants and lawns. Professional greywater recycling systems are also available for purchase.
  • If you have an overflow pipe that drips into the garden, place a bucket beneath the drips and use the saved water to water pot plants.
  • Mulching flowerbeds keeps down the weeds and holds moisture in the soil for longer.
  • Use a mulching lawn mower that allows clippings to be finely cut and blown back into the lawn.
  • Don’t mow lawns below 4 cm in length, as this reduces root depth and lawns are more likely to burn in summer.
  • Use a trigger nozzle with automatic shut-off on your hose when you wash your car, and use short bursts of water – this can save up to 300 litres each time. Or, to save even more water wash your vehicle using a bucket of water.
  • Use a trigger nozzle with automatic shut-off on your hose when you water your garden.
  • Check and maintain your irrigation system regularly, to ensure no water is running to waste, or that paved areas are being watered.
  • Adjust your irrigation system for the season and switch it off during rainy weather – even if it is borehole or wellpoint water.
  • Watering the garden less frequently, but deeper (for longer) encourages a deeper root system, which results in stronger plants. This practice can make water-wise plants out of most established plants.
  • Consider buying alternative solutions.Save water in industries, businesses and schools
  • Automatic flushing urinals are the ultimate water wasters. If they cannot be replaced immediately, turn off the water after hours and over weekends – schools doing this have saved up to R5 000 on their annual water bill.
  • Flush valves should flush for just two to four seconds and urinals for six to eight seconds.
  • Regular maintenance of toilet fittings will save unnecessarily flushed water.
  • Ensure your plumbing systems are regularly checked for leaks.
  • Use a broom to sweep forecourts and other paved areas. Do not use a hose for this purpose.
  • Potable water must not be used to dampen building sand or other building material to prevent it from being blown away.

Currently over 90% of our energy in South Africa comes from non-renewable resources like coal, oil and gas that will eventually run out. The less energy we use, the longer these resources will last and a lower demand for energy will have beneficial effects on the environment.

Top 10 Tips :

Turn geyser temperature down to 60o Celsius
Maintaining the temperature at 60oC uses less electricity (energy) than maintaining a temperature of 70oC. Works best when geyser and pipes are insulated. Don’t drop it below 60oC for health reasons. In most cases, the thermostat is located in the little cover over the electrical element of the geyser. Switch off the electricity circuit at the mains, undo the cover, and then turn down the thermostat using a screw driver. Or hire a plumber to help you (for safety reasons, make sure you tell those in the house that you are switching off the electricity for this purpose).

Use less hot water
For example shower instead of bath, and take shorter showers. Only fill the kettle as much as you need it. Wash a full load of dishes, rather than one dish at a time. Use cold water where possible for laundry washing.

Switch off equipment when not in use
Turn appliances off at the wall plug, rather than leaving them on standby as this can still draw about 20% or more of normal electricity use. (Examples are TVs, music systems, computers, phone chargers etc.) Also turn the geyser off when you go on holiday.

Reduce pool pump operating hours
If you have a pool with a cleaning system pump, reduce its operating hours to the minimum e.g. 6 hours a day. Clean filters regularly, and consider a pool cover and turning off the pump at times in winter.

Reduce excessive heating or cooling
Space heating in winter is a big power ‘guzzler’, and the same for summer cooling for those homes with cooling systems. Use localised equipment rather than central air-conditioning or heating systems, and only heat or cool occupied rooms. The room temperature should not be more than 10 degrees (Celsius) more or less than the outside/ ambient temperature. Fan or oil heaters with thermostats are best, and avoid under-floor heating. In summer use a fan rather than air-conditioning. But rather than use equipment at all, the best ‘no cost’ saving options are things like wearing warmer clothing and using blankets in winter or opening the windows in summer.

Install an efficient shower head
Cape Town water bylaws limit shower flow rates to no more than 10 litres per minute. To test this at home, hold a bucket under the showerhead for 12 seconds. Measure the amount of water within the bucket with a measuring jug. If there is more than 2 litres then your showerhead is inefficient. A good, modern product will save both water and electricity without compromising your shower experience, and the saving usually pays back the investment within a few weeks or months.

Insulate the geyser
A geyser ‘blanket’ maximises heat retention. Check heat loss first using a basic ‘hand test’. If the geyser is warm then it’s losing heat and needs better insulation. Particularly necessary for older geysers. Appoint a good installer or do a thorough job yourself, and check the insulation is still in place after a few days/ weeks because installation isn’t always straightforward and can come undone. Also insulate the water pipes leading from the geyser for the first 3 metres.

Install efficient lighting
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) use 75% less power than old incandescent bulbs, and last much longer. Note that CFLs contain small amounts of harmful chemicals, so please dispose of them safely. Best is to take them to safe ‘drop off’ points e.g. at retailers like Woolworths or Pick n Pay. New ‘light-emitting diodes’, or LEDs, are even more efficient than CFLs, and last 130 times longer than CFL bulbs. They have limited applications in homes at this stage, but are ideal replacements for halogen down-lighting. They save the most, and although they may be currently expensive the cost is coming down as the technology develops. Of course, switching off lights in unoccupied rooms is also an obvious way to save.

Install a solar water heater
This can save the most electricity of all. It typically saves about two thirds of water heating cost, but this varies and it should be installed with a timer for the best possible saving. With rising electricity tariffs, along with an Eskom rebate, the payback period is now no more than 5 years. Install a heat pump as an alternative, if a solar water heater is not possible. Heat pumps can achieve similar savings but they are a new technology for homes, so they are not well tested yet and may require more maintenance than a solar water heater.

Insulate the ceiling/roof
A ceiling and good roof insulation can keep the home 5 degrees (Celsius) warmer in winter, and 10 degrees cooler in summer. More comfortable indoor temperatures mean less need for electrical heating and cooling, with savings of about 75% for adding both a ceiling and insulation, or 25% for just adding insulation (if there is already a ceiling). Insulating other parts of the house also helps (e.g. stopping heat loss through windows or under doors), but the highest savings are from roof insulation.

More tips on how to save energy:

  • Buy energy-efficient light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use 80% less electricity than ordinary light bulbs and last up to 8 times longer.
  • Use low energy lamps and energy-efficient spotlights for exterior lighting.
  • Buy energy-efficient appliances or gas appliances.
  • Physically turn off appliance switches or at the wall (e.g. a TV or Hi-Fi), instead of leaving them on stand-by (they still use electricity otherwise).
  • Make one-pot meals and keep lids on pots.
  • Bring foods to the boil quickly on the “high” setting, then turn the heat down to “simmer” to finish cooking.
  • Keep the oven door completely closed until food is cooked (use the oven light to check food instead). Every time the door is opened, the oven temperature drops, and the heat must be replaced.
  • Cold water short wash cycles and rinse-only cycles on dishwashers and washing machines are designed for energy and water conservation.
  • Thick frost on chilling panels reduces a fridge and freezer’s cooling ability. If you do not have a frost-free model, defrost your fridge or freezer when frost is between 0.6 cm and 1.3 cm thick.
  • Empty, switch off and clean your fridge before going on a long holiday.
  • Defrost food in the fridge instead of the microwave oven as it is more economical.

Did you know?

  • Leaving a computer monitor on overnight wastes as much energy as making 800 A4 photocopies!
  • Lighting an empty meeting room overnight can waste enough energy to make 1000 cups of tea!
  • TVs, DVDs and video machines left on ‘Stand-By’ continue to use at least half the amount of electricity they use when they are turned on!
  • Overfilling an electric kettle can waste enough energy to run a TV set for 26 hours!
  • Recycling 1 ton of paper (400 reams) saves 15 trees, 2.5 barrels of oil, 4132kWh of electricity, 2.26m3 of landfill space, 31319 gallons of water and prevents 26.8kg of air pollutants from reaching the atmosphere!
  • Making paper from recycled fibres uses 70% less energy than from virgin fibres!

Birds

  • Hadeda IbisKwevoel

Also known as Kwêvoël in Afrikaans because of the unmistakable, loud call.
We often see them in pairs or groups looking for insects, worms, larvae and even crabs, lizards and small fish!

Interesting fact: 

Good for you:

  • If you often see many Hadedas on your lawn it might mean you have a worm problem. Hadedas will also snack on the snails that eat your plants.

Snakes

  • Cape Cobra (Naja nivea)Cobra

Also known as “Geelslang, Koperkapel and Bruinkapel.”

Identification:

  • Cape Cobras come in a large variety of colour from light brown to golden brown (copper) to black.
  • Adults are between 1.2m and 1.8m and it should be remembered that juveniles are as venomous as the adults.
  • They have smooth scales and broad heads which distinguishable from the body.
  • They expand their hoods when threatened.

The Cape Cobra will not attack anything for no reason.  The need their venom for hunting and in some instances will even give a “dry bite”.  Bites to humans are usually when they are surprised, cornered and/or mistaken for non-venomous snakes.Cape Cobras have been mistaken for mole snakes.  Follow this link to help tell them apart: http://www.capesnakeconservation.com/cape-cobra-vs-mole-snake/

They not often seen in Kanonberg but there are have been sightings.  This may occur in summer when it is very dry and hot they may move closer in an attempt to find water or shelter from the extreme heat in a shaded area.

Interesting facts: 

  • The Cape Cobra is is most venous Cobra in Africa.
  • They don’t hibernate in winter although their less active
  • They live 12-20 years
  • They have been known to raid weaver nests

Good for you:

  • The Cape Cobra’s diet consists mainly of rodents (rats and mice) so killing them without discretion will lead to a boom in the population of rats and mice in the area.

Snake Removal Services (any cost is for the resident’s account).

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