Earth Day Tips for Energy-Efficient Homes in Edmonton
To celebrate Earth Day, Always Plumbing & Heating has some eco-friendly tips for our Edmonton neighbors. Part of Earth Month, where people are encouraged to fight “environmental apathy,” Earth Day (April 22), marks the anniversary of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Originating in the U.S., it has grown to become a world-wide date for action and reflection. The first Canadian Earth Day was held on September 11, 1980 which evolved into a national environmental charity that supports several eco-friendly events (including the one celebrated this month).
There are several things that a homeowner can do to lessen their environmental footprint –ultimately making their homes more efficient and lowering their monthly utility bills. While it’s still decidedly winter in Edmonton (at least as far as the weather is concerned), these tips are great for your spring maintenance agenda and can be implemented well before the summer season is underway.
Low-Flow Water Fixtures
Modern water fixtures are already more efficient than their counterparts from 20 years ago. If your home still has faucets and shower heads that were installed in the 90s or earlier, simply buying new fixtures will ensure less water consumption. However, modern fixtures designed to use less water (called “low-flow”), can cut water consumption by as much as 50 percent. These new designs also perform the same, or even better, than the less efficient versions from the past. Low-flow fixtures are also inexpensive (shower heads start at $20), easy to install and available at most hardware and home improvement stores.
An easy way to keep your Edmonton home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer is to add more insulation. Retrofitting your home with added insulation in the attic can cut heating and cooling costs by as much as 20 percent. There are several types of insulation available, but blanket batts and rolls are ideal for DIY installation projects and designed for standard stud and joist spacing in attics. If you feel that your home needs more than a simple retrofit, getting estimates from several professional contractors is advised. Make sure that you inquire about their air sealing practices as a home should be properly sealed before a major insulation project.
Change Out Your Incandescent Bulbs
Changing out your incandescent light bulbs to newer, more efficient designs are essential in making your home more efficient and eco-friendly. CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) were designed to replace incandescent bulbs – and use one-fifth to one-third the electricity. CFLs can also last up to fifteen times longer. But CFLs contain mercury and disposing of them securely is complicated. LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are a better option as they are more efficient than both incandescent and CFL designs. They produce a light that is similar to natural daylight and last far longer than the other bulb options. While a fluorescent bulb will last about 1,000 hours its CFL and LED counterparts will last around 6,000 and 50,000 hours respectively. Both newer bulb designs are more expensive, but the money saved in electricity more than makes up for the higher price.
Install Modern Appliances
It is estimated that home appliances account for about 13 percent of a home’s energy cost. Much like water fixtures, modern designs are much more efficient and can provide better performance while using less energy. For instance, since 2000, refrigerator designs use 40 – 60 percent less energy than previous models. If you have appliances in your home that are 15 – 20 years old, you might consider replacing them for more efficient designs. Refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, air conditioners, heaters and hot water heaters are all appliances that consume a great deal of energy. Upgrading them to high-efficiency models (which can be found on the Energy Star website) can help cut energy and water usage – and lower utility bills by hundreds of dollars.
Other ways to create a more energy-efficient home:
- Install a Programmable Thermostat
- Add Weather Stripping
- Install a Tankless Water Heater
- Install Ceiling Fans
- Schedule an Energy Audit
- Plant Trees (for Shade and the Environment)
Celebrate Earth Day this year by making your home more energy efficient and eco-friendly. Always Plumbing & Heating can help with your environmental focus by ensuring that your plumbing and central air systems are working at optimum efficiency. Contact us when you are ready to install low flow fixtures, new appliances, or add a programmable thermostat. We can also help you make eco-friendly decisions with your new home construction. Call your Earth Day partners at 780-489-8118 to schedule an appointment today!
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