As the summer season comes to a close and many activities move indoors, there's no better time to begin incorporating energy-efficient products into your home. The latest “green” products are designed to not only help the environment, but to also help you save money.
Here are some tips to help you save energy, save money, and do your part for the environment.
Reduce electricity use
- Turn off lights, TVs and other appliances when they are not needed.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). These bulbs save up to 78% on lighting costs and last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
- Use motion sensor lights for outdoor lights, and adjust the sensitivity to suit the environment.
- Install a programmable light switch to turn off lights automatically. The switch can turn lights off when no one is home during the day and turn off lights that are accidentally left on.
- Turn on the energy-saver option on your computer, and turn off the computer and all its accessories if they will not be used for a long period.
- Consider replacing your old appliances with new Energy-Star compliant devices.
- Run your washing machine using cold water. Wait for a full load of wash or use the small-load setting, and hang clothes outside to dry.
Reduce heat loss
- Turn back the furnace thermostat at night and during the day if you are not at home. Every 1°C set back can save up to 2% in energy costs.
- Consider installing a programmable thermostat, set the thermostat to 21ºC during the day and to 18ºC when you are sleeping and 15ºC when you are out.
- Clean the furnace filter monthly and replace it every three months.
- Check air vents regularly to ensure nothing is preventing the air from circulating freely.
- Check all doors leading to un-insulated and/or unheated areas such as garages, cold storage rooms and basements. Replace with insulated doors if necessary.
- Open draperies during the day on south-facing windows and let the sun heat your rooms naturally. Close your drapes and blinds during the night to reduce heat loss.
- Locate and seal any air leaks (walls, ceilings, around windows and doors, floors and basements) and avoid heating un-insulated areas such as the garage, crawlspace or attic.
- Check the weather-stripping on all windows and doors. Replace if worn or damaged.
- Keep all air registers/radiators clean and free of obstructions.
It's a simple scientific fact: heat moves toward cold. In winter, heat moves toward the windows and doors and if your home windows are not isolated properly, up to 50% of all heat inside a home could be lost. Having thermally isolated windows and a thick window covering will help reduce heat loss considerably.
Energy saving is a hot topic! Talk about it with your friends and family. Discuss and share ideas and learn about how each of you can do better. Most likely you will come up with some creative ideas that are fun and can save you up to hundreds of dollars each year. Learn about how this topic fits into broader scale environmental initiatives and the role we as energy consumers could play to save mother earth.