1. Conduct an energy audit
If you’re thinking about making your home more energy efficient, start by getting an energy audit from a certified energy advisor from Natural Resources Canada (www.nrcan.gc.ca). You may be able to reduce energy use by 30%.
2. Seal up those drafts
Have you ever walked around parts of your house and felt cold air come in? Drafty windows and doors are often a major source for energy loss. The expensive way to fix this is by replacing/upgrading your windows, however if that is not an option, consider using weather-stripping and caulking as an economical option to reduce air leaks.
3. Upgrade your heating system
If you live in an older home, the long term savings from installing a new high-efficiency condensing gas furnace may be the best investment you can make. Talk to a certified heating contractor to help you understand which heating system would work best for you.
4. Add insulation
A basement with minimal insulation can increase annual heating costs by 10% – 30% since bare concrete conducts heat outwards. Additionally, you should also check the insulation in your attic to ensure it has an adequate R-value
5. Curb your hot water use
In a typical Canadian home, water heating can account for 20% of total utility costs. Consider switching out an older water heater for a more energy-efficient model, or consider a new tankless water heater that warms water on demand.
6. Replace energy-sapping appliances
Do you have an older appliance in your basement or kitchen that you’ve had difficulties parting ways with? It could cost you hundreds of dollars in extra operating costs over the years. For example, dryers are about 18% more energy efficient now than in 1990, and an old refrigerator can consume as much energy as 4 new ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances. Consider replacing those clunkers!
7. Adjust the heat
Invest in a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the heating levels of your home. They say that you can save ~2% on your heating bill for every 1 degree you turn down your thermostat overnight.
8. Cool down wisely
If you live in an older home with window-unit air conditioners, consider replacing them with an ENERGY STAR® model to save on electricity costs. ENERGY STAR® models use ~30%-40% less energy than the models sold 10-15 years ago.
9. Switch to low flow toilets
Replace your old 18L per flush toilets with an ultra-low volume 6L per flush model, which can achieve a 70% savings in water and cut indoor water use by as much as 30%.
10. Look for emerging alternatives
Consider renewable energy sources such as using solar panels to product household electricity.