Making A Difference: Tips On Conserving Energy
The McGuinty government has set a target of reducing Ontario's energy consumption by five per cent by 2007. Ontarians from all walks of life can play a role by making good decisions about how they use energy. There are a variety of small measures that can add up to big energy savings.
Install energy-saving lighting -- replacing frequently used regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs can save 200 kilowatt-hours per year.
Raise air conditioner temperature settings by a few degrees -- you won't notice a difference in comfort, but you'll notice a big difference on energy bills. Remember to turn off your air conditioner when you're away.
Check the seal on your fridge door to make sure it's keeping the cold in so it uses less electricity -- a faulty seal can consume hundreds of kilowatt-hours a year. To do this, close the door over an ordinary piece of paper. If you can pull the paper out easily, you need to fix or replace the door seal.
Turn off your computer system when you're not using it and use the energy-saving mode if it has one -- a continuously running computer and monitor can use 2,500 kilowatt hours per year at a cost of $250.
Use hot water wisely. People with electric water heaters can save between 200 and 1,400 kilowatt-hours per year simply by fixing leaky taps, insulating their water heater and switching to more efficient showerheads.
Change or clean your furnace filter regularly -- if you have central air conditioning do this in summer as well. Even if you have a gas or oil furnace, the electric motor that runs the fans has to work harder and longer if the filter is not clean.
In summer, keep blinds, shades and drapes closed during the hottest part of the day to help keep rooms cool. In winter, open south-facing blinds on sunny days to let in the heat.
Take showers instead of baths. A typical five-minute shower uses half as much water as taking a bath.
Use smaller kitchen appliances for small cooking jobs. Instead of your range or cooktop, use the electric kettle, toaster oven or microwave.
Wash your clothes in cold or lukewarm water. When washing clothes, up to 90 per cent of the energy consumed is used to heat the water.
Put swimming pool pumps on a timer so they run less often and keep the filter clean for greater efficiency.
Request an energy audit for your home -- this provides specific steps you can take that could reduce your energy bill by up to one-third.
Consider modernizing your major appliances. This can be costly, but a modern refrigerator uses less than half the electricity of one that's 12 years old. If shopping for new appliances, look for the Energy Star rating -- appliances with this rating provide higher energy efficiency.