In recent years, there has been a growing water crisis in South Africa – water supplies have been placed under immense pressure by climate change within the region. Experts have predicted the possible consequences of climate change to South Africa’s coasts and oceans, for instance an increased frequency of storms, a rise in the sea level but also an increase in droughts. Testament to these predictions, there has been an ongoing drought in Cape Town with 2016 being the driest year on record. Dam levels are now at 20% and we only have 100 days of water left.
Unfortunately, the pending water crisis is not the only crisis South Africa has to face: there are electricity shortages in the country. Eskom, the South African electricity public utility, initiates power cuts frequently to keep up with ever-growing demand. Because of these crises, our environmental awareness grew and Ashanti decided to take action by significantly reducing our energy and water usage and becoming an eco hostel.
In 2013, Ashanti started to recycle its waste (glasses, plastic, paper and tins) and in four years 10,406 kilograms were collected. By recycling, we hope not only to conserves the environment but also makes a difference in people’s life as it creates employment.
In November 2016, we installed four solar panels in the Ashanti Guest House and since the first of January 2017, there are also three solar panels in the Ashanti Gardens. In addition to the solar panels, we have also installed three heat pumps in Ashanti Green Point five years ago, and in Gardens in February 2016. Thanks to these installations, we reduced our energy usage significantly.
At Ashanti we encourage guests to use water sparingly. Notices at every basin and shower inform and raise awareness to the water shortage in Cape Town. What is more, in the kitchen sinks, there are bowls to catch excess water while doing the dishes.
Ashanti is currently thinking about new ways to save water and energy. In the future we would like to use grey water. Grey water is used water from baths, showers and bathroom sinks which is then reused, often for watering gardens. Using grey water has many advantages but the main advantage is that it lowers fresh water use.
Do you have suggestions to make Ashanti even more eco friendly? We would be really happy to hear it, leave us a comment below!