What is an "energy efficient" home and how can you start today?
Along with many other green initiatives, having an "Energy Efficient Home" has become a buzz word. As mentioned in an article from CREA, "The housing sector in Canada provides significant potential for the reduction of the country’s ecological footprint". I'm not telling you to go replace your windows with more efficient ones or get a solar panel roof, but here are ways to participate in the green movement without taking out another loan.
First off, let's talk about what an energy efficient home actually is. There are already programs for measuring or labelling efficiency in homes, including: Energy Star; R2000; Net Zero Energy; and Passive House. "Since most of the energy we consume comes from fossil fuels, the energy we can save heating and cooling our homes will help decrease our impact on the environment." (CREA). Therefore, having working, up to date and efficient systems in a house makes it more or less green. Examples of this are air tight construction, high-performing windows, appliances and equipment and better insulation. That's great and all, but maybe you rent or can't afford those hefty renovations, so heres how to be a more green-household for cheap or free!
Compost. I know most people do this already, but do you re-use your compost? If you don't live on a farm and can't give the scraps to the chickens, you can use things such as your coffee compost in your garden or give it to your house plants!
Recycle. Duh. But you would be surprised how many items that are actually recyclable get thrown out. check this out https://www.crd.bc.ca/service/waste-recycling/schedules-app .
Use LED lights. So simple.
Put your heating or cooling on a timer/ turn it off when you're not home
Set a timer for your showers
Use electric or non- motorized yard work tools (lawnmower, weed-wacker)
Use or get good quality curtains to help with heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer
Use washer sheets ( https://www.blueland.com/home-ca?gclid=Cj0KCQjwpImTBhCmARIsAKr58cxJVwvU3lMMtt1_OwKWByV1FqPWih0VaFft6l3HSqZ6UavJ8H9Xb7saAuLFEALw_wcB ) and dryer balls to reduce single use plastics.
Hang clothes to dry. Use less power AND your clothes will last longer.
Re-use to go containers, use beeswax wraps and tubber ware for lunches
For more info on energy efficient homes, check out this guide https://www.crea.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Homeowners-Guide_Energy-Efficiency_En_DM_WEB.pdf
Happy Earth Day!