The Home Environment

The Environment in Peril
Can We Make a Difference?The Home EnvironmentHeating and Cooling

► A full 50% of all the energy goes to one thing in your home; heating or cooling it!  

► Trim home heating costs by up to 6% by lowering your thermostat by 3°C / 35°F at night and when no one’s at home. 

► Install a programmable thermostat to automatically change the temperature of your home at night or when you’re away. Programmable thermostats will automatically lower the heat or air conditioning at night and raise them again in the morning, which can save you $100 a year on your energy bill.  And if you have one, use it!   Three-quarters of people who have programmable thermostats don’t use them at all.

► Leave the air conditioning a few degrees warmer so it runs less often. 

► Keep woodstoves and fireplaces well maintained.

► Older heating and cooling systems are a third less efficient than the new systems. 

► Clean vents, close unused vents. Just these simple things will save 10 percent of energy use.

► Follow professional advice on how to check filters monthly. These tips can save money from more serious repairs down the road as well as insure cleaner air. 

► Instead of turning up the heat in your home, wear more clothes, which will save 1,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $250 per year.

► Switch to double pane windows, which keep more heat inside your home so you use less energy. Save 10,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide and over $400 per year.

► Insulate your home, water heater and pipes. 

► Have air conditioning systems checked in the Spring and heating systems checked in the Fall.

► Plant trees as a natural way to insulate your home.  Shade provided by trees can also reduce your air conditioning bill by 10 to 15%.   And, a single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime.

► Get a home energy audit. Many utilities offer free home energy audits to find where your home is poorly insulated or energy inefficient. You can save up to 30% off your energy bill and 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. 

► Make sure windows and doors are sealed. Again, this will dramatically improve your household fuel efficiency.

► Using ceiling fans, instead of AC, can reduce your cooling costs by more than half. 

► Use a fan instead of air conditioning.

► Use an EPA-approved wood burning stove or fireplace insert.

► Don’t smoke. If someone must smoke, send them outdoors.

► Don’t heat your home with a gas cooking stove.

Water Heaters

► Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket. You’ll save 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple action.

► Switch to a “tankless” water heater.  Your water will be heated as you use it rather than keeping a tank of hot water. Save 300 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $390 per year.

► Turn water heater regular heating temperature to 49 degrees Celsius / 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which can save another 550 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. And, hot-water costs go down by as much as 50 percent.

► Install a timer on your water heater to turn off at night and just before you wake up in the morning.

► Turn off the water heater when on vacation.

Lighting

► Change all incandescent light bulbs to fluorescent.  A 15–watt compact fluorescent bulb produces the same amount of light as a 60–watt incandescent bulb.  Remember that there are two price tags: what you pay at the register and what you pay in energy costs to over the bulb’s lifetime. So you may pay more up front, but you will actually save hundreds of dollars in your household budget over the long term because of their long life. If every household in the U.S. replaced a burned-out bulb with an energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent bulb, the cumulative effect is enormous. It would prevent more than 13 billion pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere – which is like taking more than a million cars off the road for an entire year.  CFLs also last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, use two-thirds less energy, and give off 70 percent less heat.

► Dim lights, when you can and bring natural sunlight into your home, when it is feasible.

The Yard

► Use a push or electric lawn mower.

► Avoid using leaf blowers and other types of equipment that raise a lot of dust. Try using a rake or broom.

► Grow plants native to your area in your garden Gardens are a major water user, soaking up to 35 per cent of total household water use in some areas. Planting a water-wise garden using native plants is one of the most practical ways to save water and money. Not only do native plants provide good habitat and food sources for birds and other organisms, they are generally adapted to the climate, so require less water than exotic plant species.

► Do not use chemicals in your yard.  Many would not spray or use toxic chemicals in their home but liberally use them in their yards, not thinking of the obvious.  What you use in your yard gets tracked right back into your home by you, your pets, your friends, and worse, your kids!  Plus it all gets off gassed into the biosphere or washed away into the water system.  

Other Energy Savings

► Turn off electronic devices you’re not using.

► Unplug electronics from the wall when you’re not using them. Even when turned off, things like hairdryers, cell phone chargers and televisions use energy. In fact, the energy used to keep display clocks lit and memory chips working accounts for 5 percent of total domestic energy consumption and spews 18 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year!

► Switch to green power.  In many areas, you can switch to energy generated by clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar. A good place to start to figure out what’s available in your area is the Green Power Network.

► Reuse materials like paper bags and boxes when you can. 

► Recycle paper, plastic, glass bottles, cardboard and aluminum cans. (This conserves energy and reduces production emissions.)  You can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide a year by recycling half of the waste your household generates.  Earth 911 Recycling Centers, Water Pollution and Conservation  



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