You could save 10-15% of your annual energy costs with these tips alone!
All tips are easy to implement and some even save you time (like replacing your lights only once every five years or so).
Each tip saves energy, and saving energy results in less greenhouse gases produced. That means a lot more breathing room for all of us!
Whether you rent or own, whether you live in a heritage house or condo tower, there are small and easy steps you can take that will make a difference. Try one, one day this week, and then another next week, and so on.
1. Lower your thermostat.
Lowering your thermostat by 3 degrees at night and while you're away from home is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to save money and make your home more energy efficient. For every 1 degree you lower your thermostat, you save 2-3% on your heating bill.
Better yet, install a programmable thermostat - it only takes half an hour. Visit your local hardware store and select an Energy Star-programmable thermostat. Glance over the instructions before leaving the store so you can ask for help if you need it.
2. Install low-flow shower heads.
Hot water accounts for a quarter of the energy used in the home, and hot showers are the main culprit.
Low-flow shower heads use 60% less hot water and pay for themselves in months. Installation takes minutes and they cost $10-$30. If you aren't happy with the shower quality, try a different brand as not all are created equal.
City of Vancouver Water Saver Kits
The City of Vancouver is offering water saver kits (retail value of $30) to Vancouver residents for only $12!
Kits include a shower flow rate tester, low flow shower head, tap aerators, and a toilet tank displacement bag. The low flow shower alone could save a family of three nearly $200/year in utility costs for heating the water.
These discounted kits can be purchased at Vancouver City Hall at 12th and Cambie on the main floor.
3. Switch to cold water washing.
Between 80 and 90% of the energy used to wash clothes is for heating the water. New detergents have been developed to work in cold water.
By switching to cold water washing, you could save up to $52/year. Plus, clothes washed in cold water retain their colour longer. For more information visit www.switchtocold.com.
4. Switch to energy efficient lighting.
Replace the five most-used standard bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent ones. They use one-sixth of the energy and last up to 10 times longer.
Beware of upright torchiere lamps, in which the light bulb is exposed at the very top of the pole. Torchiere lamps typically use 15 times more energy and can be a fire hazard if an object comes on contact with the bulb.
5. Turn it off (or teach it to turn itself off).
Turn off your computer and any lights and when not in use.
Make a game of it; charge anyone in the family 25 cents when they leave lights or the computer on.
If you use your computer intermittently throughout the day, leave it on until nighttime but be sure to enable your monitor sleep mode. For PCs, you can go to the Start menu, select Settings, then select Control Panel, click on Display, and then set the Energy Star settings under the Screen Saver tab.