In a discussion with a friend about greening our home and property, he said, "I don't do that stuff."  However, once we got talking I asked him,  "Did you not put in new windows in the last year?" to which he replied, "Yes."  Then I asked him, "Did you not just put in Energy Saver Appliances?"  to which he also answered, "Yes."  Then    I asked him why, and his answer was that he wanted to lower his costs and save energy.

Myself.. I have been doing similar things.  A couple of years ago when energy audits were just starting, I had one done on my home, and came in at 78, which is not bad for a 25 year old home.  But I found out where I was losing energy. It started out with the electrical outlets and checking the caulking.  This audit got me thinking, and so whenever I do any retrofitting I think if it will cut down on using energy.

This was the start.....from increasing my insulation to R50, insulating my hot tub, putting in a new front door, changing my gas fireplace to a more efficient model. I had dripping taps in my bathroom, now new taps; a toilet that was forever getting fixed was changed to a dual flush toilet; changing light bulbs to CFLs.

Just with these few changes I have found huge savings in my hydro and gas bills.

I have a lot more to do on my enviro bucket list, like replacing two more toilets, getting some rain barrels, getting some plants local to the area to place near my downspouts and making gardens, replacing a few windows with low-e glass or getting California shutters, possibly installing bamboo flooring or local wood floors in bedrooms.

I am getting on in life and have seen many changes along the way, and my fear is that of my grandchildren.  If we each do a little bit, hopefully this earth will be sustainable for them.

I have a list below of Low Cost, Medium Cost and High Cost items that one can do in their home. This list was from a course that I took through NAR (National Association of Realtors) on Greening.

I would love to hear your input on this subject and you can contact me at Lydia.Ingles@century21.ca


  • use CFL or LED light bulbs
  • install low flow shower heads and faucet aerators
  • start a compost pile
  • plant trees
  • insulate hot water heater
  • install a programmable thermostat
  • plant a rain garden
  • plant native plants
  • place appliances or office equipment on power strips to reduce "phantom" load
  • install motion sensors in office and other common areas to turn off lights when not in use
  • weather strip and caulk doors and windows
  • collect rainwater to water plants
  • paint with low or no VOC paint
  • replace filters
  • install water efficient bathroom fixtures
  • take advantage of day lighting
  • provide recycling bins


  • conduct an energy audit
  • tune up HVAC
  • replace carpet with no VOC style
  • replace hardwood flooring with bamboo or cork floors
  • install a tankless hot water heater
  • consider drought resistant landscaping
  • buy recycled office products and equipment
  • hire a consultant to conduct an assessment of lighting and heating and cooling systems for potential building upgrades and retrofits
  • insulate attic and other areas
  • install engineered window shading to manage heat loss or gain in commercial buildings
  • provide a bike room to encourage environmentally friendly commuting



  • buy ENERGY STAR appliances
  • replace windows with double pane, low e models
  • replace roof with reusable/recyclable materials
  • install solar photovoltaic panels
  • install a solar hot water heater
  • install a green roof
  • implement super energy efficient transformers
  • use wind turbine systems to supplement common area electricity
  • remodel kitchen or bathroom with sustainable materials and features
  • replace cabinets with sustainably harvested wood and low VOC finishes
  • implement a water reclamation system
  • consider anaerobic digesters that use food waste and soil human waste to produce methane and generate power

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