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Fri, Jan 9th - 6:39AM

Tips for saving energy and money
Tips for saving energy and money - National Resource Council

One of the biggest untapped sources of energy we have is the energy we waste. Using energy more wisely yields huge benefits for all Canadians:

Dollar savings
Energy supplies go further
Reduced emissions
Improved air quality and environment
Conserving energy at home
Our homes use a lot of energy and are responsible for a large portion of our air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Canadian homeowners use power to run their computers and televisions, as well as other appliances that run on gas or electricity, like fridges, stoves and furnaces. The following list of energy-saving ideas lets you see how you can make a difference by conserving energy in your home.

Use energy-efficient products/appliances
You have choices about saving energy when you shop for your home. ENERGY STAR®-qualified products and appliances use less energy than conventional models and give you years of energy savings.

Lighting: Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

ENERGY STAR® CFLs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. It's a good idea to use CFLs for outdoor lighting and for your porch, kitchen and family room - all of the places where you spend most of your time!

One 100 watt incandescent bulb produces the same amount of light as two 60 watt bulbs and uses less energy.

If everyone in Canada switched just one bulb in their home to a CFL, Canada would save over $73 million in energy costs that year.

Holiday Lighting: During the holidays, replacing five strings of traditional incandescent lights on a Christmas tree with LED lights would save about $7 that year alone!

Showers: An energy efficient shower head or flow controller reduces energy costs without affecting water pressure.

A low flow shower head saves as much as 60 percent of the water used by a conventional fixture.

Refrigerators: Your refrigerator accounts for 11 percent of your household's total energy consumption, so buying an energy efficient model makes good sense.

Today's energy efficient refrigerators use 50 percent less energy than models made 10 years ago. Look for an ENERGY STAR®-qualified model to be sure of your refrigerator's efficiency. You might also consider retiring that older, second refrigerator - or at least unplugging it when it is not really needed.

Clothes Washers: A water level control or a small load basket helps you save water when washing smaller loads.

Front loading clothes washers use about 40 percent less water per load and 50 percent less energy than top loading models. Look for an ENERGY STAR®-qualified model and wash in cold water whenever possible to generate further savings.

Dryers: A dryer with a sensor that turns the machine off automatically when clothes are dry helps save energy.

You will get the most out of your clothes dryer if you clean the filter before every load.

Freezers: A freezer that is too big for your needs wastes energy and money. A rule of thumb is to allow 130 litres of freezer capacity per person. Chest freezers are more energy efficient than upright models: cold air stays in better when the door is opened.

Dishwashers: Today's dishwashers are about 95 percent more energy efficient than those bought in 1972 your old one may be costing you more money than buying a new one.

Using a dishwasher saves energy: five minutes of pre rinsing dishes under the tap can use up to 115 litres of water. Look for an ENERGY STAR®-qualified model for the greatest energy savings.

Toilets: A low-flow toilet uses 6 litres or less of water and can save up to 10 litres per flush.

Microwaves: You can save up to 50 percent of your cooking energy costs by using a microwave oven instead of a conventional oven.

Microwave ovens cook food faster than conventional ovens because the energy goes directly into heating the food, not the oven or utensils.

Electric Kettles: Energy is saved when you boil water in an electric kettle instead of on the stove element.

Air Conditioners: An air conditioner works just like a refrigerator. It takes heat from the space that is being cooled and transfers it to another place.

Setting the thermostat of your room air conditioner at 26°C (79°F) provides the most comfort for the least cost.

Energy-efficient Furnace: Few household items provide as significant an energy savings, and return on investment, than an energy-efficient furnace. You can save up to 25 percent of your home-heating costs in just one year and reduce your household GHGs at the same time. Within seven years, you'll have recovered the initial cost of your new furnace too. When buying an energy-efficient furnace, look for a model with an energy-efficient fan motor that can save 20 to 50 percent of the electricity needed to power a continuously operating fan motor.

Fireplaces: If you have an open fireplace that is rarely used, consider sealing it with a removable blockage system. Kits are available at hardware stores and building supply outlets.

Insulation and Caulking: The cost of improving the airtightness of your home is low compared with the subsequent fuel savings and increased comfort. There are many insulation and caulking products suitable for the job.

Silicone caulking is ideal for metal, glass, glazed tile and plastic surfaces because it sticks, flexes and does not shrink over time. Acrylic latex caulking is a general purpose sealant that sticks best to porous materials like wood and concrete.

Consider having a professional help you reduce your home heating needs by up to 20 percent by eliminating drafts and leaks around the foundation, attic hatches, window air conditioners, doors, plumbing stacks, attic penetrations such as pot lights, and exterior penetrations such as the dryer exhaust, water pipes, and electrical and cable connections.

Weatherstripping: Weatherstripping prevents air from leaking through gaps around doors and the moving parts of windows.

Weatherstrip doors with a durable material that withstands traffic but is flexible enough to adapt to changes caused by varying temperatures. Replace worn weatherstripping periodically — it does not last forever.

Storm Doors: You can improve ventilation and increase the comfort of your home during the summer with the use of storm doors with screens.

Thermostats: Lowering the thermostat setting at bedtime and before leaving the house reduces your energy bills without affecting your comfort.

By lowering your thermostat, you can save two percent on your heating bill for every 1°C (2°F) it is lowered. Install and use a programmable electronic thermostat (available for both central and baseboard heating systems) and use its features that allow you to drop the temperature at night or when you are away. For the most energy- efficient thermostat, look for one with the ENERGY STAR® label.

Water Pipes: Insulate at least the first two metres (approximately six feet) of metal water pipes (hot and cold) from the water heater, as well as any pipes running through unheated spaces.

Home Electronics: Your home electronics and computers have many energy-saving features. ENERGY STAR®-qualified equipment are already rated so you can understand the energy savings associated with their use, but you can make a difference too by using power-saving standby settings. Better yet, turn your office equipment off completely when they won't be in use for extended periods. Many people believe that personal computers last longer if they are never turned off. This myth dates back to the days of older mainframe computers. And don't forget to turn out the lights when you leave!

Unplug chargers for cell phones and other small electronics when you are not charging anything. They draw power even when the equipment is not charging.
Conserving energy in the yard
Consider a low maintenance lawn that requires less water by:

reducing the size of your lawn;
selecting plant material such as native grasses, shrubs and trees;
using rain barrels to collect rain water and roof drainage;
mulching to reduce evaporative losses around shrubs and trees;
planting trees and shrubs in your yard to shield your home from the wind; and
planting deciduous trees on the south side of your house to provide summer shade.
Conserving energy at work
Energy-saving options abound in your workplace. Just like at home, you can ensure that your office equipment always converts to standby mode when not in use, or you can turn everything off completely at the power bar. If you have an office with a window, natural light may well provide enough illumination for at least part of your work day.

And think about the paper you could save if you conducted more of your business by e-mail and resisted the urge to print, photocopy or fax materials. Recycled paper is a great choice too when you are developing draft documents, taking notes or sending internal mail.

Conserving energy on the road
Transportation accounts for about one quarter of Canada’s GHG emissions and is a major contributor to smog in our urban areas. Add to that the reality of rising gasoline prices and you have an excellent reason to tune up your driving habits to save money and fuel and to improve the air we breathe. Check out these tips you can take on the road.

Avoid aggressive driving. Quick starts, hard stops and rapid acceleration can increase fuel consumption by up to 35 percent.

Drive at the posted speed limit. Reducing your cruising speed from 120 to 100 kilometres per hour will decrease fuel consumption by about 20 percent.

Avoid needless idling. Idling your vehicle for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than it would take to restart your engine.

Drive only when you need to. Leave your vehicle at home whenever possible by walking, biking, in line skating, carpooling or taking the bus to nearby locations.

Plan ahead. If you have to drive, plan the most fuel efficient route in advance.

Use your vehicle’s air conditioner sparingly. Using your air conditioner in stop and go traffic can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent. Try opening the windows or fresh air vents to cool your vehicle.

Measure the inflation level of your tires once a month. If just one tire is under inflated by 56 kilopascals (8 pounds per square inch), it can increase your vehicle’s fuel consumption by 4 percent.

Use cruise control. On dry, flat, wide open highways, cruise control improves your fuel efficiency by helping you maintain a steady speed.

Maintain your vehicle properly. A poorly maintained vehicle consumes more fuel and produces higher levels of emissions. It also requires expensive repairs and has a low resale value.

For more energy-saving tips or more information on the Government of Canada’s ecoENERGY Initiatives, visit

Check your local gas and electric utility for other energy-efficiency information and programs.

For more information, media may contact:

Kathleen Olson
Acting Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada

Ghyslain Charron
Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
(613) 992-4447

Inquiries from the general public - please call:
Telephone 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232)

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Comment (4)

Fri, Jan 9th - 6:25AM

Mike Holmes and The Home Inspector
Mike Holmes, from Holmes on Homes, had an interesting show on TV the other night. Typical situation, older couple had purchased an older home that had had a lot of work done on it but did have a Home Inspection prior to purchasing. The estimated cost at the end of the show was $100,000.00 in repairs and upgrades. These people had no experience in home owning or renovations and placed all their trust in the Home Inspector. Too bad they didn’t spend any time checking out his qualifications, they would have probably found he was one of the latest people to jump into the “lucrative” home inspection industry with little of no training.

The visible signs that were missed were poor electrical installations, poor plumbing venting and drains, smell of sewage, smell of mold in basement. The furnace was on it last legs and the water from the sump pump was running back into the house. The house had had a lot of renovations done and apparently no permits had been taken out, indicating a handy man had probably done most of the work.

Once the proper inspection started taking place the visual clues led to further investigation which necessitated the removal of drywall and carpet to expose even more problems. The electrical in the house ended up being totally redone with some of the wiring exhibiting charring which could have caused a fire at any time. The hot water tank and furnace were exhausting into the chimney which was totally open on the first floor allowing dangerous gases to enter the home and could have even caused death. The basement plumbing had to be completely redone and vented. An abandoned open well was discovered in the front yard which had to be filled in. The carpet, when raised, was covered in mold and one area of the house had thousands of carpenter ants living in the basement wall.

Obviously this home inspector was poorly trained and probably had no prior experience in home building or renovation. There are factory workers in our area who have taken part-time night courses and are now promoting themselves as professional home inspectors. As always CAVEAT EMPTOR –BUYER BEWARE

The home owner has to bear some responsibility here as they have to ensure that the people they hire are in fact qualified and experienced enough to perform the work required. Unfortunately in this case it was only the home owner who paid the price, but that is result of having an un-regulated industry where anyone can promote themselves as a professional

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