Stay Cool without Going Broke: Top Ten Summer Energy Saving Tips

This summer, follow these energy-saving tips and you can cut your energy bill by 20 to 50 per cent.

Work your thermostat
Electric thermostats can be programmed so that the A/C isn’t on when you don’t need it. Set the thermostat at 28°C (82°F) before you leave for work in the morning and at 25°C (77°F) when you get home.

Live off-peak
In many cities, such as Toronto, electricity usage is calculated on a time-of-use rate. Go online and determine when your off-peak hours are and run your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer at these times. Often, electricity rates are the lowest early in the morning, at night and on the weekends.

Draft proof
Drafts in your homes are big energy wasters. Find out where air is escaping by performing a simple air leak test. Take a piece of tissue and go through your entire house holding the tissue near windows and door frames, electrical outlets, baseboards and other possible leakage locations. If the tissue moves, consider sealing in these gaps with caulking and weather stripping.

The materials you need are relatively inexpensive and can reduce loss energy loss by up to 10 per cent.

Keep the light out
Closing your blinds and curtains during the day can naturally cool your home by blocking heat that otherwise would have come in through your windows.

Improve your habits
Do you let the water run when you brush your teeth? Do you keep your fridge door open for a long time while you decide what to eat? Be aware of these bad habits and try to pick up a few good ones, including: taking shorter showers, turning off the lights when you leave the room and watering the lawn at night.

Remember, a little can go a long way.

Reduce your phantom load
Phantom load is the electricity consumed by a device when it is turned off. For example, your television, video game console, cable box and laptop and cell phone chargers all suck up energy even when they’re not on.

Ensure that these devices are unplugged when they’re not being used. Alternatively, plug them into a power bar and turn off the bar before you go to bed and when you leave for work in the morning.

Wash laundry efficiently
Becoming smarter about how you do your laundry not only saves you money, but it also protects valuable fresh water resources.

Roughly 90 per cent of your washing machine’s energy consumption comes from heating water, so wash your laundry in cold water whenever possible. Loading the washer to its capacity at all times uses up less energy than washing two medium loads. Also, set your machine to the shortest wash time, and forego the extra rinse cycle.

Hang your clothes to dry
The dryer is a huge source of energy. During the summer, hang your clothes outside to dry and/or dry them on a clothes rack indoors.

Lighten up with energy-efficient bulbs
The electricity used over the lifetime of a single incandescent bulb costs five to 10 times the original purchase price of the bulb itself.

Replace your regular light bulbs with either Light Emitting Diode (LED) or Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) bulbs, which are more energy-efficient and longer lasting.

Get informed about your energy use
Understand the options you have available for managing your energy consumption, such as home energy monitors and other applications. And take advantage of the many rebates and incentives available from your government or local utility, such as the Peaksaver program in Ontario.

These energy-saving tips are brought to you by the Energy Savers initiative at the Centre for Urban Energy at Ryerson University.

About Energy Savers
Energy Savers is a student-led, not-for-profit social enterprise developed by Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Energy (CUE) and Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE). Energy Savers’ mission is to help Toronto energy users save on their costs by educating them on the value of energy conservation and empowering them to take advantage of other existing opportunities.

About CUE
The Centre for Urban Energy (CUE) is an academic-industry partnership that is exploring and developing solutions to urban energy issues, such as the advancement of clean energy technologies, energy conservation and demand management, energy storage and smart infrastructure.

About SIFE
SIFE is an international non-profit organization that brings together student leaders to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business. SIFE operates in over 40 countries with the involvement of 1,500 college and university campuses. Students form teams on their university campuses and apply business concepts to develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need.

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