Save some money while saving planet

April 23rd 2012
Save some money while saving planet

Earth Day is one of the largest, most celebrated environmental events worldwide. You can reduce your impact on the environment by reducing energy usage in the home. Energy efficiency upgrades decrease greenhouse gas and other air emissions, which helps create healthier communities.

Here are a few simple changes you can make to use our resources more efficiently:

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. At the same time, seal electrical outlets and switches on outside walls with foam gaskets; on inside walls, use childproof plugs or combination cover plates.

Install a programmable thermostat to reduce home heating at night and when away. For every 1°C (2°F) you lower your thermostat, you save 2 per cent on your heating bill. A reduction of 3°C (5°F) at night and when you are away during the day provides optimal savings.

Install a ceiling fan - change the direction of the fan to push warm air down in the winter. This especially benefits houses with electric baseboards or high cathedral ceilings. Use fans as your first line of defence against summer heat.

Keep your furnace well maintained and change or clean furnace filters every couple of months. Dirty air filters block airflow and can damage the heat exchanger

When purchasing furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, windows, doors, and major appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR ® symbol.

Upgrade your insulation in walls, the basement and attic. Insulating your basement walls and attic can reduce your energy bill by as much as 30%.

Take a quick shower instead of a bath. A five-minute shower, for instance, uses up to 50% less hot water than a bath. Avoid running the tap while shaving, brushing your teeth or doing dishes. Partially fill the sink with water and stop about 80% of that clean water from going down the drain - along with your money.

Capture rainwater for your garden. The water you use for your lawn does not have to come from a tap. A cistern or a rain barrel will capture and store rainwater for irrigation. Make sure your barrel is covered with a tight-fitting lid or screen to keep disease-carrying mosquitoes from breeding there. Water your garden or lawn early in the morning, after the dew has dried, to reduce losses due to evaporation. More than half of the water applied to lawns and gardens can be lost due to evaporation or run-off because of over-watering

In the Laundry Room - Wash and rinse in cold water, use cold water detergent. Washing in warm rather than hot water uses 50% less energy. Also, avoid over-drying clothes. Clothes should dry in 40 to 60 minutes. Better yet, hang clothes outdoors to dry when the weather permits. If you are buying a new dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor. It will turn off automatically when clothes are dry.

Lighting - Install outdoor automatic timers. You will not have to remember to turn your outdoor lights on in the evening and off during the day. Installing a timer can cut your outdoor lighting energy use by up to half. Or use motion detectors that switch on automatically when people move close to them and switch off after a few minutes.

Use more efficient light bulbs. By replacing your standard bulbs in your home with ENERGY Star ® - qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs, you can reduce your significantly reduce the energy used to light your home.

Recycle all recyclable materials

LightRecycle - Compact Fluroescent Lights

BC residents are able to drop off your burnt-out household fluorescent lights and tubes at LightRecycle drop-off locations across BC. Compact fluorescents (or "CFLs") are energy-efficient lights commonly recognized by their spiral or twist shape; but they can also be shaped as loops, or covered by a bulb-shaped glass cover. You can take your CFLs to London Drugs, some Canadian Tire Locations, and some Home Hardware Locations. To find the drop-off location nearest you visit

SWITCH THE STAT - Thermostat Collection Program

Switch the Stat is a thermostat replacement and collection program delivered in partnership with heating and cooling contractors/wholesalers in British Columbia. An older thermostat can contain approximately 2.5-10 grams of mercury and it only takes one gram of mercury to contaminate an eight-hectare lake to the point where the fish in that lake are inedible for a full year. If you would like to drop off your mercury-containing thermostat to make sure it's disposed of responsibly visit

Battery Recycling - Call2Recycle

Batteries are found in cell phones, laptop computers, cordless power tools, remote controls, digital cameras, toys and more. Hundreds of millions of batteries and cell phones are retired each year, and often, they end up in the notorious "junk" drawer or worse - in the trash - because consumers are unsure how to dispose of them.

The Call2Recycle ® program provides an easy solution that keeps batteries out of landfills and protects natural resources. Do your part on Earth Day and every day by dropping off used batteries and cell phones for recycling at retail locations, including The Home Depot, The Source, Canadian Tire, London Drugs and Staples.

Visit for more information on this program. Battery recycling is a quick and easy way to make a big difference in our environment.