Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, there’s a lot you can do to save your pocketbook and the planet.
On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, here are 40 simple tips you can incorporate, compiled from Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator and Allstate Insurance Company of Canada.
• In parts of Canada where time-of-use billing is in effect, shift your usage as much as possible to off-peak times: weekday evenings and weekends.
• Turn off lights, TVs and other appliances when they are not needed.
• Wash laundry in cold water. This does just as good a job, keeps your colours bright and saves lots of energy.
• Take short showers instead of baths. A five-minute shower uses about half as much water as a bath.
• Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescents, which are four times more efficient and last about eight times as long.
• Control the intensity of your incandescent bulbs with dimmer switches to save money. A bulb dimmed by 25% uses 10% less energy.
• Install motion sensors on light switches.
• Dispose of your CFL bulbs properly. You can check with the store where you purchased the bulbs to see if they recycle them or dispose of them at a hazardous-waste depot.
• Using a low-flow showerhead can save up to 15% of hot-water costs.
• Aerators on your sink faucets can reduce water use by about 10%.
• Use small appliances such as a microwave, slow cooker, electric kettle or toaster oven instead of the stove.
• Take clothes out of the dryer and fold them while they are still warm to prevent wrinkling; your iron uses a lot of energy.
• Shower and run your dishwasher, washer and dryer early in the morning or late at night.
• Try setting your dishwasher to start after 10 p.m. when off-peak prices begin. If your dishwasher has a timer, use it.
• Consider a home energy audit to find out how energy efficient your home is and what would be the best way to spend your home-improvement dollars.
• Proper maintenance of your air conditioner can increase its efficiency by about 5%.
• Replace the air filters that keep dust out of the duct system — usually every three months for most models.
• Check the SEER number (an energy-efficiency rating) of an air conditioner before you buy one. An energy-efficient air conditioner may be more expensive but it could pay for itself during its lifetime.
• Get your air conditioner tuned up on a regular basis. You can clean the outside compressor yourself with a hose, removing debris that impedes air flow.
• Following instructions and safety precautions from your air conditioner’s manufacturer, you can also clean the grilles and fan blades, clean and lubricate the fan motor and clean the coil fins.
• Reduce the time your air conditioner is on.
• Raise the thermostat by 1 C and lower your electricity bill up to 5%.
• Open windows at night and use fans to blow in cool air.
• During the day, close your windows and draw the curtains closed to keep out the sun’s heat.
• Use fans to cool your room. You can cool the main floor of a house by using a fan to blow cool air up from the basement.
• Winter is over, so there is no need for the ski rack on your car. Save money and fuel by making your car as aerodynamic as possible.
• A tree or shrub that shades your central air conditioner can improve its efficiency by up to 10%.
• Planting trees around your home’s east, west and south sides shields it from summer sun.
• Since up to 25% of heat loss is through windows, plastic window covers can help reduce drafts. They can be purchased at most hardware stores.
• Keep curtains open during the day to allow the sun’s heat into your home.
• Put removable temporary caulking on the inside of your windows that you can peel off in the spring.
• Reduce the temperature on your thermostat when you’re not at home and overnight. A programmable thermostat can be set to change the temperature automatically.
• If you have forced-air heating in your home, give your furnace a break by having ducts cleaned regularly and checked for leaks. Leaky air ducts can cause distribution losses of up to 30%.
• Use the sun for more than vitamin D. Solar panels provide clean electricity – even during the winter. Look into grants from the government; they exist for those who want to incorporate solar energy into their home design.
• Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket or covering. You can reduce standby heat losses by 25- 45%, which works out to be about 4-9% of your water heating costs.
• Opting to take a bike instead of a car for all your local travels can have the same effect on greenhouse gasses as planting up to 170 trees. What’s more, when you ride your bike to work, you can skip your cardio workout at the gym.
• Lingering residues from ingredients in conventional cleaners, such as ammonia and glycol ethers, can dissolve and leave behind harmful and irritating vapours. Some products, such as toilet cleaners, go directly into our water systems. Consider making your own cleaning products or purchasing ones without harsh chemicals.
• For cleaning products you do buy, be sure they have full ingredient disclosure and are dye-free and fragrance-free.
• Instead of buying water in plastic bottles, choose a refillable glass or metal bottle to take with you wherever you go.
• Share some environmentally friendly tips with a friend…or two.
(article taken from http://homeandgarden.homes-extra.ca)
Green ECO Products
1929 Bredin Road
Kelowna, BC V1Y 7S9