There are so many ways you can make your home more Eco-Friendly and many are free!  

ENERGY

  • Your appliances need a tune-up on a regular basis: Clean all filters and coils on fans, furnace, fridge and stove.  An easy reminder is to do it in the spring and fall when you change your clocks.
  • Clean/replace the filter on your furnace or heat pump every month.
  • Draw your window coverings to help warm your home in the winter and cool it in the summer.
  • Adjust your thermostat:
     In the winter each 1 degree C lower saves 2% on your heating bill. Also lower the temperature by 3 C when you sleep or are away during the day or on holidays for even more savings.
    > If you're chilled, put on a sweater rather than raise the temp.

      In the summer  save money on Air Conditioning costs by cooling your home to only 25/26 C instead
      of the low 20's. Each degree below 26 will noticeably increase your electricity use.

  • Use area rugs on cold floors: If your feet are cold, your body will feel cold.
  • Install ceiling fans and use them to supplement, or even as an alternative to, air conditioning. In the winter reverse the direction of the fan to push warm air down to enhance your heating system.
  • Use energy efficient compact florescent bulbs.
  • Don't leave the lights on where you don't need them, and use dimmer switches to lower the ambient lighting when not needed for tasks.
  • Keep light fixtures clean - a cleaner bulb is brighter.
  • When using the stove, be sure to put lids on pots in order to keep the heat in the pot - and lower your energy usage and costs.
  • Don't use a bigger pot that you need: Match it to the right size element
  • Turn off the oven just before finishing - the oven will remain hot long enough to complete the job.
  • Use an electric kettle to boil water - the stove is less efficient
  • Microwave ovens use up to 75% less energy, so when possible use a microwave instead of the stove or oven.
  • Computers - use a laptop rather than desk top for energy efficiency. With a desktop - shut off the computer screen when not in use as 60% of the power used by a computer is the monitor!

WATER

  • Do not let the water run continuously when brushing your teeth, shaving or even doing the dishes.
  • Wash clothes in cold water
  • Run the dishwasher only when it's full and use the air-dry setting.
  • Install water saving showerheads.
  • Fix that leaking faucet, hose or dripping toilet: It is startling how much water is wasted from a simple drip.

REDUCE, RE-USE, RECYCLE

  • Avoid paper plates and napkins and save 'oodles' of trash.
  • Use reusable cloths and rags instead of paper towels.
  • Instead of using chemical and paper towels to wash your windows, try 125 ml vinegar mixed with 1 L water and a squeegee:  Believe me, this works faster and gives a streak free finish!
  • Buy products with little or no packaging: e.g. buy the larger yogurt container and serve portions from it or buy form the bulk stores/departments
  • Buy local produce as much as possible. Not only does this provide fresher food and help the local economy, it saves on the energy spent transporting goods from great distances.
  • Have a garage sale to help recycle your unwanted items:  Someone's trash is another's treasure.
  • Use eco friendly cleaning and personal hygiene products.
  • Use the recycle bin for used paper, plastics and cans e.g. newspapers, envelopes, computer output, product packaging.
    NOTE: most Condo's provide a recycle room: It 's handy and EcoFriendly - when used!
  • Use the flip side of discarded printer output for other draft or personal-use purposes.

RENOVATING:

Yes it is costly, but there are often grants available from both the Federal and Provincial governments for 'green' home improvements that will help defray some of the cost.

  • Furnace (EnergyStar 90% AFUE or better)
  • Furnace (EnergyStar 92% AFUE or better with DC variable speed motor)
  • Attic Insulation (Improve R12 to R50)
  • Insulating 20% of walls
  • Insulating 100% of walls (adding R9 or more)
  • Insulate Basement $100
  • Replace Doors/Windows
  • Ground source Heat Pump
  • Solar Domestic Hot Water system

The Process:

1. Have a pre audit done by an NRCan Certified energy auditor.

2. Complete your renovations and improvements.

3. Have a post audit done.

The EnergyStar auditor will remit your file for EnergyStar grants and matching provincial grants.

Visit http://www.ecoaction.gc.ca and www.energy.gov.on.ca to learn more.

Some Toronto Auditors:

AmeriSpec of Canada 1-866-284-6010

Green$aver 416-203-3106

Pro Home & Building Inspections Inc 416-651-7778

For more green renovation ideas visit www.EvolutionGreen.com