It’s almost Earth Day and while I enjoy joining efforts on this particular date, I prefer to use it as a reminder for what I should really be doing every day of the year. There are countless little ways we can make painless changes that amount to big differences.
Here are just a few quick and easy changes you can make to save energy (and money!) in your own home:
- Get rid of the phantom energy load in your home by unplugging all electronics that are not currently in use. They drain energy even when unused, driving up your hydro bill.
- Save big energy using tasks, such as laundry, for evenings and weekends when you’ll pay a lower rate for hydro. Try to avoid small laundry loads and save energy by only doing full loads. Only use cold water for your laundry – new cold water detergents ensure that the wash will still be just as effective.
- When the weather’s warm avoid the dryer and hang your clothes outside. When you use the dryer, make sure you empty the lint tray each time.
- Only run your dishwasher when you have a full load and adjust the settings to air dry.
- Install a programmable thermostat as a properly set thermostat can reduce your energy cost by 10 percent. During the warmer months, use a ceiling fan or an open window to cool off rather than immediately defaulting to your air conditioner. In the summer, close your blinds to keep the heat out and your home cooler during the day.
- Use a slow cooker whenever possible. Despite the longer cook times it actually uses significantly less energy. When using your oven, use the light rather than opening the oven door to check on food and prevent heat from escaping. Use pots with tight fitting lids so your food will cook faster.
- Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator to reduce food waste and also cool your fridge.
- Use an automatic shut-off kettle.
- Turn off the screen saver on your computer and instead turn off your monitor if you’re going to be away for 20 minutes or more.
- Take a shower rather than a bath, and be sure to keep it quick!
- Install low-flow toilets – you’ll use less water as well the energy used to pump water and you may even be eligible for a government tax credit.
- Use solar-powered outdoor lights to eliminate energy usage and eliminate the hassle of plugs and wiring.
- Whenever you upgrade or replace appliances, be sure to switch to Energy Star certified models.