By using energy more efficiently at home, you can reduce your emissions and lower your energy bills. To reduce your carbon footprint why not make your next home improvement project or purchase a greener one.
Have a professional energy efficiency assessment (audit) done to determine the best course of action.
Reduce drafts and heat loss from your doors, windows, and attic hatch with weather stripping. In older homes, drafts can account for 30-40 per cent of total heat loss. Insulate you home and apply sealant or caulking around doorframes and windows to prevent warm air from leaking out in the winter and hot air from getting in during the summer.
When purchasing furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, windows, doors, and major appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR® symbol. They are competitively priced and there may be rebate incentives available when you purchase them.
Replace an incandescent light bulb with a compact florescent one.
Install a programmable thermostat and lower your thermostat a few degrees at night or when you’re not home during the day.
If you are planning an addition or renovation, take advantage of daylight with larger, energy efficient windows or consider Solatubes, which are more effective than skylights.
Turn off or unplug electrical devices from the wall when not in use. Keep in mind that even when turned off, items such as battery chargers and electronic devices use energy.
Use cold or warm water when washing clothes. Most of the energy used to wash clothes is wasted on heating the water. Use a clothesline instead of a dryer when possible.
Switching to low-flow toilets, showerheads and faucets will save you several gallons of water. Caroma’s Dual Flush toilet allows you to select a short flush (three litres) or long flush (six litres) and performs well in comparison to the 6-litre and 13-litre toilets. If you are using an older 20-litre toilet, install a good quality water saving device like the “Water Wizard” They are easy to install and save 1 gallon of water per flush. Water Wizards are available through the HouseSmart Referral Network by calling 1-888-288-8806 or Click Here to Order Online.
Consider a tankless hot water heater which provides instant hot water, uses less energy and can last over 20-years. For more information an tankless hot water heaters go to www.astravan.com.
Run your dishwasher when it’s full, and use the air dry setting rather than drying them with heat.
Cut down on outdoor water usage by choosing drought-tolerant plants.
Indoor air quality can be improved by using materials that are made with low chemical emissions. Look for low or no-VOC paints and finishes, which are now available through most major paint manufacturers, including Cloverdale Paint.
Choose products and systems that are moisture resistant to help prevent contaminants, bacteria and mold growth in your home.
Recycle all recyclable materials
Check with your municipality for composting programs. You can compost fruits, vegetables, tea bags and coffee grounds, as well as leaf and yard waste. Compost makes valuable fertilizer and reduces the amount of waste in landfills.
Use sustainable materials from renewable or recycled materials. From cork flooring, Roxul rock wool insulation to alternative wood products, these products are more widely available through your local building supply stores.
Search out materials that have been repaired, restored or saved from another renovation project. Shop at your local antique dealers and swap meets. The Habitat for Humanity ReStores have quality used and surplus building materials and proceeds from ReStores help fund the construction of Habitat houses within the community.
Choose high quality, durable products that will last longer – and are less likely to end up in the landfill.
Recycle your clutter: Keep appliances, paints, building products, electronics and batteries out of the landfills. Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp: www.call2recycle.org
Web addresses to organizations that recycle used items
Habitat for Humanity ReStores: Accept quality used building materials www.habitat.ca
Electronic waste such as old computers and televisions are now accepted at collection sites depending on where you live. In BC, Encorp Return-It depots accept electronics such as computers and TV’s. Go to www.encorp.ca and in Alberta www.albertarecycling.ca. Contact your municipal office for similar programs in other provinces.