These days people are looking for all kinds of ways to put the power back into their own hands and do what they can to be more energy efficient. Why not start with your own home? Making a few small changes can reduce your energy bills while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Here are a few easy ways to make your home more energy efficient at a low-cost.
1) Update Lighting
Canadians spend about $300-million a year on light bulbs*. Check if you have any of the older types of light bulbs in your home, such as Incandescent Bulbs, which were phased out in 2014. These traditional bulbs are using more energy than you might think while not producing as much light. In fact, 90% of the energy used is given off as heat, while the remaining 10% produced light. Switching over to light-emitting diodes (LEDs,) compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs,) and halogen bulbs is the right choice. They can last longer and consume approximately 70% less energy.
2) Unplug Chargers
Who else is guilty of leaving your phone charger plugged in 24/7? I know I am! There's a term for this I recently discovered to be called "vampire power," which is the amount of power a device uses in standby mode when you aren't using it. A couple of chargers probably won't be making too much of a noticeable difference, but collectively they can be responsible for 10% of your energy bill.
3) Cold-water Laundry
Hot water use can account for 20% of an average 3-4 person family's annual energy bill*. Running your machine on warm or hot water is one of the most common costs of energy in a household. Switching to cold water will not just use less power and money, but your clothes will be as clean. You can even look into detergents specially designed for cold water washes.
4) Insulate Windows and Doors
Have you noticed any drafts coming from your windows? How many times have you heard your parents say, "we're not heating the outdoors!" A simple fix is sealing any gaps or cracks in your drywall or adding weatherstripping around the frames. During our cold Canadian winters, you might be letting out a lot of your heat, which makes your heating bill rise. If you are in the market for new windows, check out models that promote energy efficiency.
5) Smart Thermostat
I thought I'd throw in one example of the number of different smart technology that can be implemented in your home. Some of these thermostats come at a reasonable price and can make a significant difference in the way you heat your home. They can manage your energy use by learning your preferences and schedule, then automatically adjusting the temperature to the right setting. Don't have this confused with Programmable Thermostats, which can adjust the temperature accordingly, but they're timed to a series of programmed settings for different times of the day. With Smart Thermostats, most are designed with Wi-Fi technology that lets you control your heat from anywhere. So, the next time you go away for a weekend and wonder if you turned the heat down before you left, you could make the change from a phone, tablet, you name it!
These are just a few of the ways you can make your home more energy-efficient. If each of us made only one of these changes, we could impact the environment, our community, and your power bill.
About the Author
Sarah Arsenault has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Communications and Journalism. She has five years in the Communications field, with a focus in Marketing. She’s responsible for getting blogs like this one onto your screen for you to read, and to engage the community about clean energy through the use of promotional material, website, and social media.