Energy efficient homes: 12 tips for saving energy (and money)
Tips for an energy efficient home
You probably already know that energy efficient homes offer both benefits of helping the environment and saving you money – a win-win in our books! Of course, there are smart investments you can make (especially if you’re currently renovating), but turning your existing home into a lean energy machine doesn’t have to cost a lot. Whether you decide to invest in home upgrades that will save you money and energy in the long run or pick up some energy-efficient habits, we love that you’re going green. Check out these 12 ways to have an eco-friendlier house.

Energy saving habits

  1. Turn lights off when you’re not in a room. It might not seem like much, but when you leave a room, be sure to also turn off the light.

  2. Take advantage of sunlight. In line with the tip above, why use lights when you don’t have to? Try to stick with using natural sunlight for as much of the day as you can. If you’re renovating or building a home, think about placing your windows in a spot that will maximize the amount of light in a room (for example, in general, a southern facing window will get the most light).

  3. Stop phantom power. Did you know that plugged-in devices continue to use power even if that device isn’t in use? This is referred to as phantom (or standby) power and can add up to 10% of your home’s energy use.1 To fight phantom power, it’s as simple as unplugging devices that aren’t in use (such as kettles or coffee makers). But, if you don’t want to be unplugging all the time, you can use power bars to turn off your devices when not needed (or you can pick a smart power bar with a timer or app-controlled automatic shutoff).

  4. Wash in cold water. On top of only doing full loads of laundry, going with the cold water setting can actually provide energy savings of up to 90%.2

  5. Air dry when possible. This goes for both clothes and dishes. Speaking to your dishwasher specifically, skipping the dry cycle and going with air-dry can cut energy use by as much as 15%.2

  6. Keep it clean. Don’t forget to clean or replace the filters for your heating and air conditioning systems, as well as your appliances as needed. Blocked filters can make these items less efficient.

  7. Pick the ideal temperature. Of course you want to be comfortable in your home all year long, but if you have to put on a sweatshirt in the summer, your house might be too cool. During the summer, set your AC between 24°C and 25°C when you’re home to help stay comfy and save on energy, but adjust it to 28°C when you’re out for extra energy savings.3 As for the winter, set your thermostat between 20°C and 22°C while at home and between 17°C and 19°C at night and when you’re away.3

  8. Also, to ensure that you’re not over or under heating or cooling your home, make sure your thermostat is located in the right place. You don’t want to place your thermostat where there’s a lot of temperature change, such as near vents, windows or doors, or near devices that radiate heat.4 These locations could cause false readings and result in your system turning on when it doesn’t actually need to (aka wasting energy). Instead, try to install your thermostat in a room that you frequently use and make sure it’s unobstructed by household items.4

    Home upgrades that can save you energy

    1. Smart home thermostat. In addition to selecting the right temperature and putting your thermostat in the right place, going with a smart thermostat can help save you energy and money. You’ll be able to monitor and adjust your heating and cooling right from your mobile device and, even more convenient, when you’re not at home. A smart home thermostat can even teach you how to be more energy efficient as it learns your habits and preferences, meaning more savings for you.

    2. Energy efficient appliances. When appliance shopping, pay attention to the EnerGuide label and look out for those appliances that are Energy Star certified. To ensure you’re making the most informed choice when it comes to efficiency, learn how to read an EnerGuide label before you head out to the store.

    3. Updating windows. Similar to appliances, if you’re shopping for windows, look out for Energy Star certified windows. Although energy efficient windows can cost more up front, they can end up saving you an average of 8% on your monthly energy bills.5 No matter how energy efficient your windows are, it’s also essential that they’re installed correctly so they can operate properly, which includes preventing drafts.

    4. If you’re not quite ready to make the investment into new windows, weather stripping windows (as well as doors) can help to stop drafts and energy loss.

    5. LED light bulbs. This type of light bulb uses 75% less energy, is recyclable and can last more than 25,000 hours (that’s equivalent to 22-30 years of average household use) – plus, use it with a dimmer for even more energy savings.6

    6. Strategic landscaping. Good landscaping doesn’t just improve your home’s curb appeal. By planting the following, it can also help to lower your heating and cooling costs:7
      • Deciduous trees (reduce solar heat gain in the summer, but allow sunlight to come through in the winter).
      • Coniferous trees, shrubs and perennials (can block your house from cold gusts of wind and add exterior insulation for your home).
      • Vines (can also help provide a source of shade).

        Did you know? You may be eligible for financial incentives or programs to help you achieve your energy efficient goals. Check out which financial incentives or programs are available in your province.

        If you want to learn more about how your home currently uses energy and how you can improve your energy usage, invest in an EnerGuide home evaluation.

        TIP: See if your home policy includes Green coverage enhancement. This additional coverage can cover the cost to upgrade to environmentally friendly and energy efficient materials, products and methods of reconstruction up to a stated limit in the event of an insured claim.

        It’s important to do all that we can to help the environment. The number of ways you can make your home energy efficient aren’t limited to those listed above, so find what works best for you and your lifestyle and start saving energy today.

        Protect your home and the things you love most. 1 Did you know that your home's devices and appliances, when plugged in, continue to draw power even when they are off? 2 Your Guide to Appliance Savings 3 Low-cost ways to save energy at home 4 The best thermostat placement for energy efficiencyOpen in a new window 5 Buying Guide: What to look for when buying new windowsOpen in a new window 6 Lighting Your Home 7 Your Guide to Landscaping Savings