My dad was always telling my brother and I to make sure that we turned the lights off when we weren’t in the room, or to only use the lights when it was dark enough outside that it made it difficult to see without the lights on. Sure enough, we didn’t listen, and instead left a trail of rooms with lights on throughout the house during most afternoons. Not only were we bad with leaving the lights on, but we would leave windows on, crank the air conditioning when it wasn’t really needed, and left the TV on when we weren’t watching it. As you can see, we weren’t very energy efficient.
Now that I am a father with three boys of my own however, I see why dad would get so upset about us leaving the lights on. The cost of powering a typical home is significantly more than it was back in the day, even when you account for inflation, so I completely understand why it’s important to not be wasteful with regards to energy, even if we’re just looking at it from a cost savings perspective.
The good news is there are now a ton of ways that you can save on your energy bill, and while turning off the lights and tv when they’re not being used will always remain a staple way to save on energy, there are now ways to help lower the cost and mitigate waste when the kids happen to not listen!
Best Ways to Save While Being Energy & Cost Efficient
Luckily we live in a time when companies have developed many materials and products that help us save money, such as tiles and laminate. Through energy efficiency, we have changed the way that we consume energy while both saving cash as well as contributing to lessening the burden on our energy systems. There are literally hundred of ways that you can contribute to the savings, from very simple dad inspired habits, to upgrading the products and materials your home uses. Many modern home and office renovations incorporate the use of porcelain tiles, paint and other materials to improve the look of rooms easily. Although these types of materials are primarily used as decor, they are a great choice to bring new life to a room without taking up a large portion of a renovation budget. These savings can be passed on to more expensive energy efficient implementations. While there are many to choose from, let’s take a look at a few of the most popular!
Cheap and Easy
Let’s start by looking at what’s likely the easiest and cheapest form of saving money when it comes to your energy bill. It seems as though dad was really onto something. Assuming you have 10 incandescent bulbs on when they’re not needed every day, this will add up to $24 a year – for only 10 light bulbs! This doesn’t include the TV, computers, radios, Air Conditioning, cell phone chargers or any other gadgets or appliances that don’t need to be plugged in or turned on at all times. When grouped together, all of these items will suck up energy that you’re not really even using, which is essentially throwing money away. I’m not sure about you, but I’m not a fan of that. Turning things off and even unplugging them is easy and about as cheap a cost savings tactic as you can get.
Replace the Lightbulbs with LED
I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for the moment and assume that you do need to have those 10 lights on every day. By switching to high efficiency LED bulbs, you’ll save $19 a year. Plus, LEDs last much longer than the average incandescent bulb, meaning you don’t need to replace them nearly as often. I imagine dad wouldn’t have minded as much had these been around back then.
Lower Your Thermostat
In the winter months, heating your home can account for 30% of your energy costs. For every degree above 20 degrees celsius, you can expect to up your energy bill by as much as 10%. This is why they say it’s important to ensure your home is properly insulated and to ensure you have minimal leakage at windows and doors. You don’t want that precious heat you’re paying for escaping without having really done its job, which is keeping your home warm when it’s cold outside. If you have invested in ensuring your home is properly insulated, you should feel quite comfortable at 20 degrees. If you want to save a little more, why not put a sweater on or a blanket while you watch tv?
Use Cold Water When Washing Your Clothes
While it’s great that there are now high efficiency washer and dryers available for purchase, not everyone can afford them, or their current machines are still working fine. Perhaps you have plans to upgrade to the new high efficiency ones when your current setup dies. Until then, why not consider washing your clothes in cold water? Doing so can save you around $120 a year.
Use the Right Settings on Your Appliances
If you’re like me, you use most of your appliances with the mindset that if it’s on, it’s working. Most new appliances however come with different settings for different situations. For example, I just learned that my dishwasher has an economy cycle which uses a lower water temperature as well as 3 litres less water per wash. We have a pretty big family and usually use our dishwasher every day – that adds up to a lot of savings!
Grants and Other Government Incentives
If you’re willing to put in the work to upgrade many appliances and household necessities that power your home, there are several government incentives and programs in place that you can take advantage of, such as:
- Ministry of Energy’s Searchable Incentives Guide
- Save on Energy Coupons
- Up to $650 savings for Heating and cooling incentives
Gone are the days of dad needing to constantly remind us to try to help him save some cash on his energy bill – we now have the tools, the knowledge and the mindset to do this for the sake of our wallets and the environment!