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  • How Much Cash Can You Save by Going Green?

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There’s a moral motivation to reduce our energy consumption and live more environmentally friendly day-to-day lives. Unfortunately, we all know that being motivated by a moral cause doesn’t always move everyone in the same way. Some people need a bit more of a material motivation – so here it is. This week, Ontario Energy Group Consumer Watch will look at easy steps you can make to save energy and how much it’ll save you in turn.

Replace outdated HVAC Appliances

Of all your home energy costs, electricity and gas included, 60% or more spent solely on heating and cooling your home. This is a massive energy cost, and it’s shouldered by three home appliance systems: your furnace, your water heater, and your air conditioner.

Seeing as homes in Ontario, and particularly in Toronto, are much older: they often have outdated HVAC units that are either breaking down or consuming far more energy than they need to to operate. Replacing these units can incur significant savings as your home is heated and cooled using a fraction of the energy it used to.
Savings Estimate: Approx. $325 per year.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is an improvement on your home that many people overlook, but it does nothing but save money in the long run.

These “smart” thermostats adjust and maintain certain climate levels throughout the day so you can enjoy all the comforts of your home while you’re there, and save energy when you’re not. These thermostats can adjust seasonally, by time of day, and can will turn off when you don’t need any at all. This simple invention can save up to 10% on your heating and cooling costs alone.
Savings Estimate: Approx. $150 per year.

Run Your Major Appliances on Off-Peak Hours

Running your dishwasher, washing machine, and clothes dryer on off hours is one way to change absolutely nothing about the resources you use while still helping the environment. Using energy-intensive appliances during peak hours puts more stress on the energy grid, and prices are similarly high. You can cut off about half the cost of running these appliances by doing so during off-peak hours.

You can get some additional savings by running the washer with cool water, using air-dry settings on your dishwasher, and regularly keeping the lint trap on your dryer clean. These allow the machine to consume less energy while still getting the same benefit out of them daily.
Savings Estimate: Approx. $50-$90 per year.

Unplug Electronics When Not In Use

Phantom power, the electricity consumed by electronic devices when they’re not in use but remain plugged in, is one of the single most wasteful elements in a home. Phantom energy can consume anywhere from 10% to 15% of a home’s energy use.

Unplug electronics that aren’t in use or aren’t being charged in order to reduce phantom energy consumption during the day. As peak and near-peak hours tend to be closer to normal work hours, these are periods in which you’re less likely to be needing them. Additionally, programmable power bars are one option which can keep electronics plugged in. These devices automatically regulate energy usage to control phantom power.
Savings Estimate: $140-180 per year.

These are among some of the bigger home improvements you can make on your home. There’s also little things you can do like creating organic home ventilation, sealing your home, or installing energy efficient light bulbs and so forth. All steps, big and small, can make considerable headway in reducing energy consumption and saving you money on your utilities bill.

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