Do-it-Yourself Solutions

Looking for some simple solutions to reduce energy consumption and your households’ contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

Here are a few tips:

  • Change incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent; they’ll last 10 times longer and often use 70 per cent less energy tan equivalent incandescent bulbs.
  • Reduce hot water use; install low-flow showerheads, which can reduce the total amount of water used for showering by about 30 per cent. Fix leaky taps; at a rate of one drip per second, you’re wasting 720 litres per month or 16 hot baths! When washing clothes, wash in warm water instead of hot (cutting hot water consumption by 50 per cent) and rinse in cold. Install aerators on kitchen and bathroom taps, reducing both hot and cold water usage. When using the dishwasher, select the short, light or economy cycle when dish soil is light.
  • Insulate hot water pipes that pass through unheated areas or service washing machines with insulation at least 13mm thick. Snap-on insulation is available at most hardware stores; long tubes slit lengthwise that snap over the piping and then are glued shut for easy installation and immediate energy savings. Note that hot water tank temperature should be between 120 and 125 degrees F; lower can create the danger of bacterial growth that can cause illness; higher means a risk of scalding.
  • Ensure kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working by holding a tissue to the fan while it’s on; if it holds on, the fan is removing old, stale air; if it falls or barely holds on, the fan may need cleaning or replacement. Always turn on exhaust fans when showering and cooking and leave running for 20 to 30 minutes afterwards and ensure fans are ducted outside, not into the attic.
  • Do not place furniture or items directly against exterior walls, leave a two to three inch gap to allow air flow.
  • Maintain temperatures above 15o C in all rooms to reduce condensation and mould problems.
  • Do not hang clothes to dry indoors or keep it to a minimum, when it’s required, hang in the bathroom and turn on the bath fan periodically.