Greener By The Minute: Easy Conservation Tips


Here are some great, super easy ways to conserve energy in your home!


Throughout the House
In the Kitchen
In the Bathroom
Home appliances
Insulation and Heating

Throughout the House

Dust off your bulbs

  • Clean light fixtures of any dust or dirt, to keep bulbs glowing bright.

Replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights

  • Compact fluorescent bulbs last longer, use less energy, and can save money from your lighting bill; however, because CFL bulbs contain a minute amount of mercury, they should not be thrown in the garbage. CFL bulbs must be disposed of appropriately as hazardous waste. Check with your local municipality for disposal options.

Remove your window air conditioner in the winter

  • Removing your window air conditioner and closing the window during the winter will prevent cold drafts from entering your home. If you’re unable to remove the unit, consider purchasing an indoor or outdoor air conditioner cover made of tough plastic.

Use area rugs on cold floors

  • Keeping your feet warm will make your body feel warm too.

Keep the air moving

  • Use low energy fans to keep the air moving. Moving air cools your skin.

Install motion detectors

  • Motion detectors are easy solutions for reducing unnecessary lighting.

Use LED lights for the holidays

  • Seasonal LED lights are about 85% more efficient than standard incandescent lights.

Take advantage of your blinds and drapes

  • In the winter, open your blinds during the day to allow sunlight to heat your home, then close them at night to minimize heat loss. In the summer, keep them closed during the day to block out the heat.

Add layers

  • Putting on another layer of clothing is an easy alternative to adjusting your thermostat when the temperature dips. An extra blanket at night will help as well.

Make energy saving a family affair

  • A little dinner table education can go a long way to saving energy around the home. Get the kids involved by challenging them to name three things they’ve done today to save energy, from turning off the TV set sooner to shutting off lights when they leave the room.

Join the peaksaver program

  • If your local utility offers it, consider joining the peaksaver program to help reduce strain on the electricity grid during peak hours. Learn more about the program and its availability in your area at:

Consider a home energy audit

  • Home energy audits can show you how to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. To look up a qualified energy advisor in your area, visit the Natural Resources Canada site here.


In the Kitchen

Pick the right element

  • To maximize energy usage when stove cooking, match the size of the pan or pot to the appropriate heating range.

Conserve energy with residual heat

  • When cooking, try turning off the oven a few minutes early — the internal heat should be hot enough to finish cooking the food, and will save energy.

Check your refrigerator’s door seal

  • Try closing the door on a $5 bill. If the bill is held in place, your seal is okay. If not, either replace the seal or adjust the door.

Full fridges freeze faster

  • Fill up your refrigerator where possible, so that every time it is opened it can recover its internal temperature more quickly. Conversely, leave enough space around food items to allow circulation of cold air.

Retire that second fridge

  • Older refrigerators are much less energy efficient than newer ones. If you’ve moved the old fridge down to the basement, consider retiring it completely to save energy.

Choose ENERGY STAR certified appliances

  • ENERGY STAR certified appliances meet or exceed the Government of Canada’s standards for energy efficiency. These appliances use less energy over their lifetime, saving you money.


In the Bathroom

Install low-flow showerheads

  • Heating water is energy intensive. In a typical household, showers account for up to 40% of hot water usage. A low flow showerhead can reduce water consumption by as much as 50%.

Towel-dry your hair

  • This may seem a little time consuming but it’s an efficient alternative to hairdryers.


Home appliances

Invest in a Kill-a-Watt or Cent-a-Meter

  • The Kill-a-Watt device measures the energy consumption of your home appliances, while the Cent-a-Meter displays the cost of electricity being used by your electrical appliances. If you would like to figure out which appliance is consuming the bulk of your electricity, these devices may help you find the culprit.

Schedule your appliance usage

  • Electricity demand is greatest during the day. Running major appliances at night or in the early morning will put less strain on the electricity grid.

Eliminate phantom load

  • Appliances continue to draw power when they are plugged in, even if the appliance is turned off. This “phantom load” can be eliminated by unplugging your appliances when they’re not needed or using a power bar to easily switch the power on and off.

Turn off your monitor

  • Turn off your computer monitor while you are away from your desk. Your monitor consumes about 60% of the total electricity your computer uses.

Turn off your hot water tank while you’re away

  • If you will be away for an extended period of time, turn off your hot water tank at the breaker.

Wash your laundry in cold water

  • 85—90% of energy used by washing machines is dedicated to heating the water. Cold water is as effective as warm water, plus your colours will stay bright.

Install a programmable thermostat

  • Sleeping in a cooler house is much more comfortable — for both you and your pocketbook. In winter, set your thermostat to 21ºC during the day and 17ºC at night. In summer, rather than cranking up the air conditioning on hot days, install a ceiling fan to cool you off, and leave your thermostat a little higher — around 26ºC.


Insulation and heating

Change your furnace filter frequently

  • Clean or replace your furnace’s air filter on a regular basis, to improve heat and air flow.

Add insulation to retain indoor temperature

  • Add insulation to your basement and attic.

Insulate your windows

  • For windows that won’t be opened during the winter, cover them with removable caulking or plastic window film.

Lower the temperature on your hot water heater

  • Consider lowering the temperature on your hot water heater to 54ºC. At this temperature, your water will be hot enough to prevent bacteria buildup, but not unnecessarily hot.

Seal cracks and gaps around windows and doors

  • Invest in insulation kits and weather stripping for windows and doors, and get out the caulking gun to seal any cracks and gaps in your walls. Home heating is the single largest energy draw in your home, and those drafts around the house are among the worst culprits.

Keep your door closed and insulated

  • Keeping your doors closed will prevent heat from escaping into the hallway. Consider caulking between the wall and the frame of the door to prevent heat loss as well.

Keep furnaces clear of obstructions

  • Ensure that all furniture and drapes do not obstruct your source of heating.

Insulate your existing hot water heater, or consider a tankless water heater

  • Prevent costly heat loss by adding an insulating cover to your hot water heater. You can buy a hot water heater jacket at your hardware store — and it will be worth the trip, saving you up to 15% on your water heating costs. While you’re at it, add insulating covers to any exposed pipes for even more savings.
  • Tankless water heaters, or instantaneous water heaters, save a considerable amount of energy by heating water in the house only when it is needed. They’re an excellent replacement option for your existing water heater.



Use shade to keep your home cool

  • Install retractable awnings over south-facing windows.

Plant a deciduous tree

  • Planting a deciduous tree on the south side of your home gives you shade in the summer and lets in light when it sheds its leaves in the winter.

Use a clothesline

  • Dryers are large power consumers. Using a clothesline will reduce your energy consumption and electricity costs. Don’t have a place to hang your clothes outside? Try using an indoor drying rack.

Courtesy of Bullfrog Power.

You may also like:

Green Living at Home

12 Simple Habits to Help Mother Earth

Eco-Friendly Alternatives You’ve Never Heard Of

© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan LLC

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About Lauren


  1. As rising energy costs and environmental concerns become increasingly important factors in consumers’ and businesses’ purchasing selections, fluorescent lamps and CFLs have increased in popularity. CFLs emit approximately the same amount of visible light as incandescents, but they last 8 to 15 times as long and provide significant energy savings. The use of more efficient lighting options, such as CFLs, is one of easiest and lowest-cost ways for the nation to reduce electricity use and greenhouse gases. However, these lamps are fragile and, upon breaking, they release mercury vapor that can be detrimental to handlers’ health–from those involved with handling new bulbs to people involved with storing, packaging and shipping used lamps.

    Mercury-containing lamps need to be recycled properly. Fluorescent lamps should be taken to a recycling center or placed in one of a variety of containers that are marketed for transportation of fluorescent lamps and CFLs, however, many don’t provide sufficient protection against mercury vapor emitted from broken lamps. Using a proven packaging design is vital to ensuring the safety of people who handle these lamps, as well as maintaining their green benefits. Read about a recent study that tested several packaging configurations here:

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