Over the last few weeks, we have spent a significant amount of time discussing the future of sustainability when it comes to building new housing and entire communities and cities. It’s interesting to look down the road and see what the architects and designers of today have in mind for the cities of tomorrow, but it’s also important to look at the little things you can do right now in order to save water and energy in your home. That said, here are a few tips for lowering your monthly bills and having a smaller impact on the environment.
Harness the power of the sun
In a recent post about solar power, we listed a number of reasons why you should make the switch to this kind of energy. But you don’t always need to have solar panels to benefit from the sun’s heat. It’s really as simple as opening curtains and blinds that face south, east, and west, ensuring that the sun can shine through to heat your home. Then when the sun is no longer shining through those windows, close the curtains or blinds to keep the heat in. Even in the winter, the sun can be enough to keep your home warm, assuming you have the proper exposure.
Make sure there is minimal air leakage
All the air you’re pumping into your home, cold or hot, needs to stay in your home to be effective. If air is leaking out of your home, it might as well be loonies and toonies squeezing through those cracks. The easiest way to ensure air tightness is to examine all your windows and doors to see if there are any cracks or open spaces. If you find any, seal them with caulk. Even the smallest openings can allow for a significant amount of air to escape, causing your cooling or heating system to work extra hard. If you find any serious issues, you may have to hire a contractor to fix the problem.
Replace your lights
Are all the lightbulbs in your home energy-efficient bulbs? Probably not! You may like the light an incandescent bulb casts, but it is not the most efficient kind of bulb. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and light-emitting diode lamps (LED) both have their advantages and disadvantages, but the advantage that matters the most is that they last longer and are way more efficient.
ENERGY STAR appliances at The Mod'rn by Adi Development Group
Upgrade your appliances
If you don’t have ENERGY STAR appliances, you should consider making the investment. If an appliance is ENERGY STAR qualified, it means it’s 20% more efficient than standard. When major appliances that are used frequently (or even constantly like your fridge) are more efficient, your energy bills are more affordable. Going out and purchasing all new appliances isn’t cheap, but if you have the money set aside, it would be worth it in the long run, and you can always take appliances with you when you move. Also, a lot of builders and developers have been including ENERGY STAR appliances in their new homes or condos.
Maintain your fridge
As mentioned above, it’s not always a realistic option to just go out and buy all new appliances, and even if you do end up buying a new ENERGY STAR fridge, it’s still very important to perform regular maintenance on it. A few things you can do to keep your fridge in tip top shape is avoid leaving the door open for long periods of time, clean the evaporator coils on the back at least once a year, make sure the door closes firmly, and avoid allowing your freezer to build up ice by defrosting it occasionally.
Use your washer and dryer more efficiently
These two appliances can also be purchased as ENERGY STAR qualified, and whether you can afford to do so or not, you should be using your washer and dryer as efficiently as possible. In order to make your laundry habits more efficient, you should make sure you always have a full load, use cold water most of the time unless hot water is necessary, hang clothes to dry when/if possible, and always clear the lint trap in your dryer.
Don’t forget to turn off lights and electronics
It goes without saying that you should turn off the lights in a room when the room is not in use. What a lot of people aren’t aware of is that many electronics, like a television, still consume power when they are turned off; it’s not a lot of power, but if you have enough appliances, the cost will add up over the course of a year. This energy is often referred to as phantom electricity, phantom load, vampire power, vampire draw, and simply leaking electricity. The solution? Use power bars whenever possible so that you can turn off and unplug many electronics at once.
We hope these 7 easy tips for saving energy and water help you cut down your monthly bills and make you feel better about lowering your environmental impact on your community and city. If you have any other tips to share (we know there are many), then share them with us on Facebook and Twitter!