“Going green” has been a popular buzzword for the past couple of years, as businesses and households all over the world make changes to benefit the environment and reduce their carbon footprint. While living an eco-friendly lifestyle might sound like a massive undertaking, making gradual changes to your day-to-day routine can be quite simple, and can potentially have an enormous impact.
Here are our top 10 tips for going green at home!
1. Use energy star products
ENERGY STAR® products meet strict technical specifications for energy performance, and are typically in the top 15 to 30% of their class. Because they use less energy, these products also lessen greenhouse gas emissions, helping to reduce the impact on the environment
2. Change lightbulbs
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs could potentially last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs, while consuming about 75% less energy. Unlike incandescent bulbs, CFLs convert most of the energy they use into light rather than heat. However, incandescent light bulbs must be recycled properly. On a landfill they are potentially bad to the environment because they contain mercury.
LED lightning doesn’t contain mercury; it lasts up to 25 times longer and uses up to 75% less energy than standard incandescent lightning. In Ontario, you can even get incentives if you change to LED lightning, have a look at saveonenergy.ca.
3. Reusable products
Many of the products we use every day go to waste, when we can be using reusable products instead. For starters, eliminating the use of plastic water bottles or disposable bags in favor of reusable bottles and bags can potentially make a big difference to your ecological footprint.
4. Pay bills online
Using less paper is getting easier with the amount of information we have available on our computers and smartphones. File your taxes electronically to cut back on paper usage and, where possible, request to receive and pay your bills online instead of through the mail. Consider canceling your newspaper or magazine subscription and reading the news online instead.
5. Schedule a home energy audit
An energy assessment or a home energy audit will provide you with information on where you can save money on your energy bills. This service will let you know if your energy dollars are leaking through the windows, or even out your front door. A whole house energy assessment can give you all these answers and more.
6. Fix leaky faucets
Household water consumption is on the rise, while concerns about water shortages in the near future continue to circulate. Stemming the flow of water is as easy as fixing a leaky faucet or toilet. A dripping faucet could potentially waste more than 250 liters of water per day, and a leaky toilet more than 700 liters per day. You can also save money by fixing leaks, as a leak of one drip per second could potentially cost as much as $1 per month.
7. Make use of windows and skylights
Instead of opening windows here and there, have windows open on both sides of your home, including the side that’s receiving wind that day. Setting a fan in the downwind windows to draw out warm air faster also boosts airflow and cooling.
8. Turn off standby power
Eliminate lost power by identifying which appliances and electronics are using power when in the off positions, and putting them on a power strip with an off button. You can also purchase a “smart power strip”, which work to reduce your power usage by automatically shutting down power to products that go into standby mode.
9. Upgrade your HVAC system
Making an upgrade to your HVAC system, especially if your equipment is more than 10 years old can save you a bundle on your energy bills. There are many different types of equipment all with differing efficiency ratings. Running high efficient equipment using a smart thermostat can save you hundreds of dollars per year. But don't stop there, regular system maintenance will ensure your equipment is running at peak efficiency for the duration of it's lifespan.
10. Upgrade your insulation
Adding insulation to prevent leaky, windows, and doors can potentially improve your home’s energy draw significantly. If redoing your insulation isn’t in your budget, try thermal shades, which can block the sun in the summer and retain heat in the winter, or even something as low tech as a draft guard on your outside doors.
For information on how you can save money through your HVAC system this year,