Think Green to Save Green on Energy Bills
Picture dollar bills slipping out the window of your home. Pretty wasteful right? However, that is precisely what happens when you are not mindful of adopting energy efficient behaviours at home. Simply by making small changes to energy usage, and by being vigilant, you can keep more money in your wallet (and give Mother Nature a hand at the same time).
While a decadent soak in the tub is at times a well-deserved guilty pleasure, for the purposes of getting clean while saving money, a shower is the way to go. Showering generally is much quicker than having a bath. You also use less water and less power- so you use less money too!
Shut them Off
Although an obvious one would be to shut off lights in rooms that are not in use, a surprising number of people leave lights on thinking “I’ll be back in just a minute.” Plain and simple, only turn lights on when you need them in the immediate moment.
Switch your laundry to the cold water cycle. While you may still need to use warm or even hot water for stubborn stains or heavily soiled clothes and linens, cold water washing is amazingly effective at getting laundry clean and cutting down your energy bill. There are now a number of cold-water specific detergents that aid the effectiveness of the process.
Wash dishes by Hand
Although it is super-convenient to load up the dishwasher and press a button, it also is a huge drain on the wallet. Electing to fill the sink and wash dishes by hand is a move that will make a serious dent in your energy bill.
Again, it only makes sense to use energy when you need it. Why would you heat or cool your home when no one is there? By programming your temperature, you can control when heating and/or air conditioning comes on, and ensure that you not wasting expensive energy during periods when no one is home.
By the same token, turn your air conditioning up by a degree or two in the summer, and your heat down a couple of degrees in the winter. It may not seem like a lot (i.e. the difference between wearing a sweater or not), but can make a difference in energy costs.
Fill er’ up
Do you have extra fridges or freezers in your home to store extra food? Make sure that they are filled up while you are using them. Running an entire extra fridge simply to keep a few items cool and for convenience’s sake is a big-time money waster.
Make sure windows and doors are well sealed, so that the heat (or the cool air, depending on the season), is inside where it should be. After all, it isn’t up to you to heat/cool the great outdoors!
Here is a case where spending money to save money makes sense. If you are shopping for appliances, pick those that have a higher ENERGY STAR® rating (visit http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/residential/7901 for more information about how appliances are rated, and how much money you can expect to save). ENERGY STAR® appliance ratings essentially ensure energy efficiency, and while can be more expensive to purchase in the short term, stand to save you much more money in the long term.
Watch the Clock
Depending on where you live, energy is assigned premiums during peak use hours. Try to schedule high energy-use activities during the low period (often in the early evening, through the night).
Clean the Furnace
Make a habit of changing your furnace filter on a regular basis. A dirty filter can block a significant amount of heat, making your furnace work harder, and your bill higher.