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4 tips for an energy-efficient home

Published on June 7, 2021

New homeowners often focus on redecorating as their first step toward settling in. But it’s important to start paying attention to energy efficiency as soon as you move in, so you can start enjoying the benefits immediately.

Even if your home’s windows and insulation are already set to face the ravages of Quebec's changing seasons, you should know that there are quick and economical solutions to help make your home more comfortable. As you’ll see, just a few changes will make your monthly electricity bill a lot easier to stomach.

1. Use smart devices

Even more efficient than the usual ENERGY STAR® appliances, smart devices like washing machines, refrigerators and coffee makers interact with residents to help them save on energy costs. For example, a notification can be sent when the fridge is left open, or when the washing machine needs to be repaired.

For those who pay different rates for their electricity at peak hours, the dryer can tell them when it’s the least expensive time to dry their clothes.

2. Stop drafts

When you move in to a new home, it's important to locate any drafts or cracks around your windows and doors. Up to 25% of the heating and air-conditioning costs for your home may be wasted due to improperly sealed windows and doors. Adding caulking and weatherstripping around existing openings or installing new energy-efficient windows can make a huge difference for homeowners.

3. Reduce phantom loads

Certain devices like mobile phones, computers, video game consoles and small kitchen appliances continue to consume energy even when they're not switched on – a phenomenon known as “phantom loads”. The average Canadian household has between 20 and 40 devices which generate this type of load, representing up to 10% of their electricity bill, according to the Canadian Office of Energy Efficiency.

Using smart outlets, easily controlled from any smartphone, allows you to more effectively monitor your devices and unplug those not in use in order to save even more on electricity each month. Smart outlets plug into standard outlets and are used to manage the energy consumption of whatever appliances are plugged into them.

It is possible to program usage hours, turn devices on and off remotely, and even show your total energy consumption.

4. Add plants for insulation

While trees add shade around your house in the summer, shrubs can help to insulate your exterior walls from heat and cold. Bushes and hedges block the wind and form an envelope of air that helps to better insulate your walls. Plants placed 30 cm from the house can effectively protect it from excessive temperatures.