Today’s society is constantly changing when it comes to the environment. The media and environmentalists often discuss ways we can change and improve our way of living to avoid damaging the environment for our children and future generations. It all starts at home! Here are some simple ways to make your home environmentally friendly:
- Install a rain barrel: Rain barrels cost between $80-$300. Some municipalities offer rain barrels for free or will offer it at a rebated price. Water barrels is a worthwhile cost because it is a outdoor water use which can be used for watering the garden and lawn. They can account for 50% of your household’s water use. To use the rain barrel, connect it to your eaves troughs to collect the rainwater. Rain barrels help reduce storm water runoff and reduce the strain on municipalities’ water systems by up to 70%.
- Replace old appliances with Energy Star-labelled: The cost of energy star appliances varies depending on where they are purchased. Energy Star labelled fridges, stoves, freezers, dishwashers, and dryers use 50% less energy than those that have been manufactured 10 or more years ago. For example, a new Energy Star mode fridge uses up to 40% less energy and cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions by 28%.
- Fix leaky faucets: The cost to fix a leaky faucet with a rubber washer is $1. To replace the faucet entirely costs around $100 for a basic faucet. Leaky faucets can waste up to 182 liters of water per week. If by chance your hot water is leaking, than you’re also wasting energy. Fixing a leaking faucet usually involves replacing the rubber washer, which can dry up and crack over time.
- Install low flow showerhead: Low flow showerheads cost around $15. It is a worthwhile investment because for example, a family of 4 can reduce their water usage by 160,000 liters a year by installing a low flow shower head, which uses up to 70% less water than a regular shower head.
- Home-energy assessment: The cost for a home-energy assessment varies by province. For example, in Ontario, your first energy audit will cost $350, but the province refunds $150. A mandatory follow-up energy audit costs $195. An energy audit takes 2 to 3 hours to complete. The purpose of the energy audit shows you where and why your house is losing energy, whether it’s your furnace, windows or insulation, with a prioritized list of energy-saving upgrades. You can reduce your energy bill by 30% or by doing easy things such as sealing around windows, pipes, and openings etc. Each upgrade comes with a specific rebate or government grant, meaning the cost of the upgrades will be much less.
- Replace your furnace filter: It costs $10 to replace a furnace filter. By replacing or cleaning your furnace filter, this will improve your furnace’s efficiency, especially during the winter.
- Install a smart meter: A smart meter tracks your energy usage by date and time. Rather than recording your electricity usage monthly, the smart meter can tell when you consumed the energy and when large appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines are run during off hours or on weekends. This will result in a smaller energy bill.
- Boost airflow in rooms: Costs as little as $30 for a booster fan. Booster fans improve airflow by up to 80%, this can moderate the temperature in your home during the hot summer and cold winter months, reducing heat and cooling costs. Air can be redirected by covering unused vents with magnetic vent covers or air deflectors.
- Landscape: Landscaping your yard with trees, shrubs, grasses, fences pose a triple threat. They not only spruce up your yard, but they reduce your heating bill by protecting your home from the wind. They also save you up to 50% on air conditioning cost by providing shade to your home in the summer.
- Switch to LED lighting: LED lighting does cost more than incandescent bulbs, but they use less energy. These will help save you money when you have your lights on for a long period of time.
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