There are many good reasons for adopting green practices, and whether you’re trying to reduce your impact on the environment, or looking to save a little money on your energy bills, there are several simple ways to get a little greener. In this Oaken Blog feature, we’ll look at tips to help you save on your water usage and electrical costs, and even some ways you can get greener outside as well.
Reduce water usage
It’s easy to take water for granted when you’ve always been able to simply turn on the tap for an endless supply of clean water. Not everyone in Canada, however, is so fortunate, and in many parts of the world, safe drinking water is in critically short supply.
Reducing your water usage can not only help conserve a crucial resource but if you’re hooked up to a municipal water source, finding clever ways to cut back on the amount of water used in your household will even save you money.
Low-flow water fixtures
If you’re renovating your bathroom and are installing a new toilet, consider installing one that uses less water with each flush. Also, consider changing out your shower head with a low-flow unit. This simple and inexpensive modification can dramatically reduce the amount of water used and the latest models include various settings that provide a range of options including massage and rain shower functions.
Wash a full load
When it comes to washing your clothes or your dishes, it you should hold off until you have a full load. After all, it takes the same amount of water for your clothes or dishwasher to operate whether you’re washing a full or partial load.
Save on electricity costs
Operating your washing machine or dishwasher at full capacity can also help you save on your electrical bill. Here are some additional hydro-saving tips that are very easy to implement.
Turn off unnecessary lights and electronics
While modern LED lights are much more efficient than old-style incandescent bulbs (you have made the switch to LED, haven’t you?), it’s still a good policy to switch off lights when you leave a room. It’s also a good idea to put electronics like televisions and computers on power bars so that you can power them off completely when not in use. You may be surprised to know that when you turn off your television and other electronic devices, many simply go into “stand-by” mode and still draw energy.
Keep your fridge coils clean
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give the outside of your fridge much thought but you should periodically clean the back and underside of your fridge. This is where the condenser coils are located on most fridges and if there is a lot of dust on the coils, your fridge will have to work harder – and use more energy –to maintain its cool.
Be sure to check the owner’s manual to see how to properly clean and maintain your refrigerator.
Save on heating
For those living in colder climates, heating is one of the costliest uses of energy for most homeowners. Doors and windows are typically the main sources of heat loss in older homes and upgrading to modern thermal doors and windows can be very expensive. Having said that, there are some low-priced things you can do now to address older doors and windows.
Replace worn weatherstripping
Even if your doors are relatively well insulated, the seals around the thresholds and door jambs can break down over time resulting in cold draughts that leave you reaching for the thermostat. Replacing old weather stripping around your doors is a low-cost fix to help keep the cold air out and the warm air in.
Install window kits
Another cheap workaround for old, non-thermal windows is to install a window kit. These are available at most hardware stores and consist of clear shrink-wrap film that provides a seal over the entire window.
The downside to this is that, depending on the quality of the film, your window may appear cloudy. However, this is a small price to pay to help get you through the worst of the winter months more comfortably.
A programmable thermostat makes it possible for you to set up times for your heat or air conditioning to turn on automatically. This means you can set your heating and cooling systems to come on just as you arrive home from work or just before you get up each morning thereby reducing the amount of energy you use when away or while sleeping. Programmable thermostats are an easy do-it-yourself install and can provide a significant saving on your utility bills.
Go green outside as well
There are lots of little things you can do outside as well particularly when it comes to your garden. For instance, composting your food scraps not only saves a lot of waste from going to the landfill, but also provides valuable nutrients to help your garden.
You might want to also look at installing a rain barrel for your downspouts. By collecting rainwater run-off from your roof and storing it for later use, you’ll reduce the amount of water diverted from the drinking supply when watering your garden.
Small things lead to big changes
It’s surprising how a few small changes like the ones listed here can make a big difference. These relatively simple things are easy to implement but, together, they can play a big part in a greener lifestyle.