Simple and low-cost energy saving opportunities
While there are countless simple, low-cost opportunities to reduce energy use in your home, One Day at Home makes it easy by prioritizing these opportunities for you starting with the most important first:
Instead of just reading these, why not begin at the top and ask yourself which of these opportunities are for you? Pull out your calendar and pick one day to start implementing each of these opportunities and start saving today!
For more tips on saving energy in the home, visit B.C. Hydro's Power Smart At Home.
Turn the heat down at night and when out of the house
Half of the energy used in a typical home is just for keeping it warm. 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.
Test for drafts
If you live in a house, you can reduce home heating bills by up to 20% by getting rid of drafts and leaks around windows, doors, baseboards and attic hatches. At the same time, seal electrical outlets and switches on outside walls with foam gaskets.
Test for window and door drafts on a windy day by running a feather, strip of tissue paper or a lit incense stick along the inside edge of your windows and doors to detect air movement.
If your home is drafty, we recommend you get professional help fixing drafts properly typically costs well less than $1,000 and done professionally ensures you maintain sufficient air flow for health and safety while at the same time reducing your heating bill significantly. Start by getting an EnerGuide for Houses Evaluation to locate all the leaks and make you eligible for the ecoEnergy Retrofit Incentive.
When it comes to draft proofing your home, Natural Resource Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency provides detailed instructions on tackling this job yourself, but most people seek professional help.
Install low flow shower heads
Roughly 25% of the energy used in your home is for heating water. Showering is the biggest use of hot water in most homes. Because low-flow shower heads use 60% less hot water, the typical household of three that showers daily can save nearly $200 a year. Low-flow shower heads can be installed in minutes and cost only $10-$30. If you aren't happy with the shower quality, try a different brand as not all are created equal.
How? Visit your local hardware store and don't forget to pick up some "pipe tape" to eliminate leaks while you're there;
OR Vancouver residents can pick up water saver kits at City Hall for only $12 (retail value $30)! Kits include a shower flow-rate tester, low-flow shower head, tap aerators, and a toilet tank displacement bag. These kits can be purchased at the Vancouver City Hall at 12th and Cambie on the main floor.
Wash your clothes in cold water
Between 80 and 90% of the energy used to wash clothes is for heating the water. By switching to cold water washing, you could save up to $52/year. New detergents have been developed to work in cold water. And let's not forget that clothes washed in cold water retain their colour longer.
Switch to energy-efficient lighting
Did you know almost 90% of the energy used by a conventional light bulb (incandescent light bulb) is not even used to produce light but is wasted as heat?
1. Turn off lights when not needed.
2. 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.
3. Replace halogen torchiere lamps with compact fluorescent ones. Halogen torchiere lamps typically use 10 times more energy than a compact fluorescent one and can be a fire hazard if an object comes in contact with the bulb.
Use appliances efficiently
When buying new appliances, look for the Energy Star label to ensure you're getting one that uses energy efficiently.
Only run your dishwasher and laundry appliances with full loads.
Clothes dryers use a lot of energy. Take some time to enjoy the air, hear about your child's day while hanging your laundry out to dry. Nothing smells better than fresh sheets off the line.
Switch off computers when not in use and enable your monitor sleep mode
Computers, especially desktop computers that are more than a couple of years old, can use nearly 200 watts. Switch them off when not in use!
If you need to leave your computer on because you use it sporadically throughout the day, be sure you enable the sleep mode for your monitor. For PCs, go to the Start menu, select Settings, then choose Control Panel, click on Display, and then set the Energy Star settings under the Screen Saver tab. NOTE: A screen saver does not save your screen or energy. Put it to sleep.