Quick and Easy Tips to Reduce your Greenhouse Gas Emissions

An easy and quick first step towards reducing your energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions is to tackle the ‘Low-Hanging Fruit’. Low-Hanging Fruit refers to the courses of action that can be undertaken easily, quickly and at little or no cost and can achieve your targets or goals.

When discussing energy and greenhouse gases this usually means Conservation measures. Conservation measures are actions taken to reduce energy consumption and usually include easy lifestyle changes that can lead to significant reductions in the amount of energy you consume, and therefore the amount of greenhouse gases you are emitting. In buildings, behavioural changes alone can achieve large cost savings because it is often the lifestyles of the occupants that waste large amounts of energy (read Sources of Greenhouse Gases to learn more about how much greenhouse gases are emitted from heating our homes, driving, etc.).

Some of the ‘Low-Hanging Fruit’ includes:

Transportation

  • Switch off your car if you plan to be parked for more than 15 seconds
  • Try to carpool, take public transit, or use other forms of transportation
  • Avoid drive-thrus
  • Slow down! For every 10km over 100km/h you drive, you lose approximately 10% of your fuel efficiency
  • Have regular maintenance checks on your vehicle and keep tires inflated
  • When taking shorter trips, avoid flying on a plane and take a train instead
  • If possible, try working from home one day per week
  • Monitor your fuel consumption 

Space Heating/Cooling

  • Clean radiators and baseboard heaters once a year to keep them running efficiently
  • Regularly service your HVAC systems to keep them running efficiently
  • Change furnace air filter once every 2-3 months
  • Turning down/up thermostats to reduce heating and cooling requirements seasonally or while buildings are unoccupied
  • Plant deciduous trees near south and east facing walls of buildings to help shade the buildings in the summer and let sunlight in during winter months
  • Plant evergreen trees near the north facing walls of buildings to help protect from wind and cold temperatures
  • Keep exterior doors closed during cold and hot days
  • Close Fireplace dampers (except during use)
  • Close doors and heating/cooling registers in rooms that are unused
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows
  • Close curtains at night during the winter and on hot days in the summer
  • Open curtains during the day on sunny days in the winter
  • Use awnings in the summertime to keep your house cool
  • Use area rugs on cold floors and wear sweaters
  • Turn down the temperature setting on your water heater to cut energy consumption. It’s usually set to 60 degrees Celsius and can safely be reduced to 54 degrees Celsius

Water Heating

  • Insulate old hot water tanks and piping
  • Take shorter showers to save energy and water as well
  • Always completely fill your laundry machines and dishwashers before turning on a load and use energy-saving cycle settings

Appliances

  • Change printer and computer settings for energy efficiency
  • Turning off equipment and unplug when not in use to discourage phantom power usage. If you can’t turn off your computer, just turn off the screen as it uses over 50% of the total energy needed to run a computer
  • Turn on energy efficient settings on equipment ex. Eco Print, EnergyStar setting for monitors, air-dry setting on dishwashers, etc.
  • Use laptops instead of desktops when possible
  • Always completely fill your laundry machines and dishwashers before turning on a load and use energy-saving cycle settings
  • Rinse and wash clothes with cold water
  • Hang clothes to dry
  • Set refrigerator temperature around 3°C and freezer temperature to around -18°C

Lighting

  • Switch to Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs
  • Turn off lights when not needed or use timers, occupancy sensors, or natural light when possible

CFLbulb

    Some other best practices to manage your energy consumption include:

    • Monitor your energy bills
    • Monitor fuel consumption in your vehicles

    For more information on energy in Ontario and things you can do to conserve energy and save some money, go to saveONenergy or take a look at Green Venture's various energy programs

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