Whether your priority is to save money or respect the environment, having an energy-efficient home or lifestyle will allow you to focus on both aspects at the same time.

What Does “Energy-Efficient” Mean Exactly?

Simply put, it means energy saving, but the term goes even further. For example, to be considered energy-efficient, a home must also be profitable, which means that the bills associated with its use are not too high. It must also be comfortable and healthy. As well as being hot in winter and cool during the summer, the air quality must be good. Overall, it must respect the environment.

This term is primarily used to describe homes. While it may be used in other fields, we will be focusing on energy-efficient homes in this article.

Here are 9 tips for an energy-efficient home.

1. Invest in Quality Insulation

This is the first rule in being energy-efficient: you must first ensure that you do not waste energy by heating the outside of the home. Naturally, the insulation of the walls must adhere to basic standards, but they might require that insulation be added or renewed. Also, think of windows and doors which might benefit from extra insulation during winter. For example, you could reduce air infiltration and improve your home’s energy efficiency with temporary draft proofing. If you have the means, make sure that your attic or ceiling is well insulated! Since heat rises, it’s a part of the house where heat can easily escape.

2. Get Energy Star Appliances

The Energy Star certification found on some appliances means that the government recognizes them as energy-efficient. Therefore, you can trust that you are making the right choice when purchasing appliances that are energy star certified.

However, do not forget to maintain them properly! Even if a refrigerator is certified Energy Star, it will be less efficient if the vent at the back is full of grease. The same goes for a dryer vent if it is too full or a freezer that is due for de-icing.

3. Install a Heat Pump

Did you know that you could lower your annual heating bill by 30% by choosing a heat pump? Your air conditioning bill would also be reduced. The installation costs are high, but they are worth it, as much for the planet as for your wallet. Additionally, depending on the heat pump you choose, you may be eligible for a subsidy.

Since electricity is a renewable energy source in Quebec, a heat pump is an efficient way to reduce your carbon footprint. It does not create heat but instead transfers heat. A heat pump delivers more energy than it consumes, reducing heating costs and making it much more energy-efficient than any other heating system.

4. Use a Power Strip for Your Electronic Devices

Even in sleep mode, all electronic devices use energy, and the quantity can be surprising. Therefore, it is important to unplug everything that does not need to be plugged in permanently. Think of unplugging the television in your guest bedroom or the toaster that you only use a few times per week.

If you have multiple electronic devices in the same room, you could get a power strip. It will be easier and quicker to unplug all the devices at once and save energy.

5. Get a Smart Thermostat

Heating during winter can quickly become very expensive, especially when heating continuously. A smart thermostat allows you to program the hours when you need more heating, room by room. For example, if you want your kitchen to be comfortable when you wake up, but you do not need your bedroom to stay warm during the day when you are in your office.

Some smart thermostats come with an application that you can use to adjust the temperature remotely. If you know that you are not going back home on a Friday night, then you can immediately reduce the heating and save money.

6. Use a Clothesline or a Clothes Dryer

A dryer is practical, and the sensation of warm sheets or towels is nice. However, it comes at a price. Indeed, 6% of the energy used in a house comes from a dryer!

For your clothes and many other items, you could use a clothesline (especially in summer) or a clothes dryer. Also, skipping the dryer is usually better for fabrics.

7. Optimize Shower Heads and Other Water Outlets

Even if we don’t have to pay for water usage in Quebec, we should not waste it! Also, wasting water shows on your electricity bill because of the pump system. Therefore, it is beneficial to get highly efficient shower heads and make sure to seal any leaks. There are also similar products for faucets to limit the flow.

8. Insulate the Pipes and the Water Heater

You may be surprised by how much heat you lose through your pipes and water heater. The water heater ends up working harder to obtain the same result, which shows on your bill. You can wrap your water heater with an insulation blanket and use foam insulation for the pipes to prevent this.

9. Choose LED Lights

LED stands for “light emitting diode”. These are bulbs that use this technology. LED lights are usually more expensive, but they last up to fifteen times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. They also consume far less energy. So, it’s a win-win.

 

In addition, these tips can be applied at your office to make your workspace more energy-efficient. Small changes can make a big impact, so do not hesitate to talk about them during your next meeting.

In conclusion, don’t forget that there is no perfect solution, and changes must be considered on a case-by-case basis. For example, given the environmental cost of producing new household appliances, it might be more beneficial in the short-term to keep yours, especially if it is not too old. You could then invest the money to insulate your attic.

To evaluate your situation and identify ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home that are best adapted to your needs, you should consult an expert in the field who can advise you.

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