The world-wide problem of increasing greenhouse gas emissions has received considerable attention in recent decades. In South Africa, several factors necessitate residential energy efficiency research. These include the high levels of pollution caused by the generation of electricity with low quality coal, which is fairly readily available, the increasing consumer base since 1994, and electricity price increases of 20% per annum since 2008. This study investigates qualitative and quantitative aspects of energy efficiency strategies employed in 41 South African households from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, within the Pretoria region. Field work was conducted during 2010 and 2011. This research was conducted using a multi-phased combined experimental and ex post facto mixed methodology. Actual electricity consumption levels were recorded in all participating households, which were divided into two experimental groups, but only participants in the first experimental group participated in an interview and intervention to reduce electricity consumption. Measurements were followed by focus group sessions open to all participants. Thematic analysis was used to identify participants’ main strategies for energy efficiency, and the effectiveness of these strategies was quantified. The qualitative and quantitative findings are discussed both separately from and in conjunction with one another. Feedback was shown to be a key factor in enabling behaviour change. Needs not only for information but for guidance in its interpretation are highlighted, particularly where literacy levels are lower. Erroneous beliefs about the functioning of appliances were identified and quantified. Winter was identified as the best time to introduce an intervention and improve energy savings due to the ‘normal’ steep increase during that time. Popular and effective strategies employed in households to reduce electricity consumption were also identified. This study culminates in a theoretical model, placing the micro, meso and exo implications of residential energy efficiency in a cyclical empowerment model of environmental concern, the need for information, behaviour change and the resulting need for feedback. Suggestions for policy development and future research are made focussing specifically on the role of females in designing energy efficiency measures, measuring quality of life and not just kWhs and emphasising the importance of real-time feedback on consumption.