- Adjust your water heater when you're on vacation. If you have a natural gas water heater, use the "vacation" or "low" setting. Just remember to run the hot water from a sink before turning the water heater back on to ensure the tank is not empty.
- Even if your television and other appliances are turned off, many electronics still draw electricity. Unplug any unnecessary electronics and chargers when not being used, and you will save on your energy bill.
- Installing a programmable thermostat can cut heating and cooling bills by 5-20%.With a programmable thermostat, you can set a schedule that will automatically change the temperature of your home several times during a 24 hour period. Some models also allow you to set up different schedules for different days of the week.
- Open your blinds or curtains when it is sunny outside in order to allow the sunlight to warm up the house. On the other hand, at night or whenever it is cold outside, you should close the blinds to provide extra insulation so that heat does not leave the house and cold does not come in.
Roughly 10% of the electricity used in a household is to power the lights. By using CFL and LED bulbs in place of older incandescent bulbs, you are reducing the amount of electricity required for lighting and thus reducing your energy costs and lowering your greenhouse gas emissions! The extra costs of these bulbs will easily be overcome by the amount of money you save in the long-run.
When you are going to be leaving your computer for more than 20 minutes, turn off the monitor to save energy. Overnight, you should switch your computer to sleep mode or even power it off if possible. Lastly, while screen savers may look cool, they do still use a lot of electricity so it's best to avoid them!
If the weather permits, it is always a better idea to air dry your clothes instead of using a dryer. However, if you do need to use a dryer, making sure the lint filter is clean can cut its energy usage by up to 30%.
When boiling water, put the lid on the pot in order to save energy and time. The lid will cause the heat to be trapped inside the pot, resulting in the water boiling faster and less energy being released to the surroundings.
- A poorly tuned engine uses up to 15 per cent more energy when running than a well-tuned engine. Keeping your vehicle properly maintained according to the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule is a key to fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
- Certain items shouldn't be going into your garbage can. Household hazardous waste such as leftover paint, oven cleaner and car batteries can be taken to your local Eco Station. They also accept electrical appliances, old computer monitors, toasters, printers, and power tools, among many other things.
- If you pour fats, oils, or grease down the drain, they cannot be washed away with hot water and soap; instead, they solidify, clog your sewer lines, and can cause sewage backup in your home and neighbourhood. What you can do instead is store the fats, grease, and oils in a disposable container which you can label and put out for garbage collection. If you are disposing of four or more litres of used cooking oil, you can take it to an Eco Station.
- Many packs of beverage cans come together in plastic rings. While these may be convenient, they can often have disastrous effects when it comes to wildlife. To prevent these plastic rings from endangering animals by getting stuck around their bodies, simply cut the rings through the middle prior to disposal.
If there is no set program established at your workplace to gather recyclables, just set up a few boxes and label them "RECYCLABLES", and maybe even set up a box for compost. Several local charities collect empties, so this can become an easy way for your company to give back to the community as well.
When you mow your lawn, just leave your clippings on the ground instead of bagging them. The fresh clippings naturally fertilize your lawn with nutrients and protect the soil by keeping moisture in the ground. Additionally, going bagless can reduce the garbage collected during the summer months by almost half.
reduce, reuse, recycle
- Use reusable cloth bags for your groceries instead of plastic bags! Plastic bags take up space in our landfills and can pose danger to wildlife as well. Similarly, use a travel mug for your coffee instead of getting a paper cup every time; many shops also offer discounts if you bring your own mug in!
- If you have any old clothes or anything softly used which you are planning on putting in the garbage, consider donating it instead. This way, it will stay out of the landfill, and somebody who needs it will be able to use it. Several local charities can come collect your used clothing.
- Whether it be your cell-phone service provider or your energy provider, for most billed services you can now receive and view your bills online. Sign up for e-post instead of getting paper bills mailed to you. Also, instead of printing off confirmation after paying your bill, save it to a file on your computer where you can access it when you need it.
There are many ways you can reduce your water usage. These include: taking a short shower instead of a bath, making sure the tap isn't running or dripping for no reason, using a full-load washing machine or dishwasher, and much more. By installing a low-flow shower-head in place of a normal one, you are able to reduce the amount of water used without reducing the pressure felt.
Instead of using brand new wrapping paper, try wrapping presents in old posters, magazine or newspaper pages, or paper bags. If you can reuse gift boxes, tissue paper, and ribbons that are still in good condition, that's even better!
- Whether you are waiting in a parking lot, at a railway crossing, or stopped in a construction zone, you're probably using more fuel than you need to. A simple rule of thumb is that 10 seconds of idling consumes more fuel than restarting your engine. Not only are you wasting fuel, but idling causes water condensation in your vehicle’s exhaust that can corrode the system, and also results in fuel residue on cylinder walls that can contaminate oil and damage engine components.
- Buying local helps support our local economy and also the environment. By buying from local producers and retailers, you are helping to eliminate the extra transportation and thus reducing pollution. Transportation via aircraft and shipping makes up a huge portion of overall greenhouse gas emissions.