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Making A Difference: Tips On Conserving Energy

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Making A Difference: Tips On Conserving Energy

Office of the Premier

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.

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Environment and Energy