Zero Waste Living for you and your family

10 Creative Ways to Reduce Energy Costs at Home

With hydro and electricity prices on the rise, families are now finding it difficult to balance mortgage payments, utility payments and groceries. Our family runs off Hydro One which is the most expensive carrier in the country. For a family that uses very little energy consumption we were paying $100 in the summer at our previous city home and we are now paying upwards of $300 in the middle of the summer. Eeek!

Purchasing new appliances and moving to a new home is not an option for many of us nor is installing solar panels or wind power.  In an effort to help reduce costs, we have come up with creative ways to reduce energy consumption in your home. 

1) Take the lightbulbs out of less popular units. I don't know about your kids, but my kids love turning lights on all the time. They never turn them off, but they sure do love to turn them on. This summer we experimented with leaving lightbulbs out of many of our fixtures. While this is easier in the summer, it is still doable in the winter too! Our kids bedrooms don't have much more than their beds and clothes in them (actually!) so it made it easy to take the lightbulbs out of those rooms. We use the hallway light to keep the room somewhat lit during the evening and overnight.

2) Which brings us to our next point, use nighlights in bathrooms instead of in hallways. Most nighlights are LED and will cost little to nothing compared to light bulbs. They also save energy. Check out our Little Lovely Company nighlights for a modern and safe option!

3) Hang your clothes to dry. Even in the winter. We have these amazing accordion drying racks from Lee Valley. We have two in our home and there is enough space on both to dry an entire load of laundry. Usually the clothes are dry by the next evening (aka. Next time I do laundry). I always do my laundry in the evening as to avoid excessive peak hours rates. 

4) Shower and bath less by reducing your hot water tank temperature. This is a huge one. While I know we all love a good hot shower, it can be costing you significantly more to run your hot water tank high. Lower the temperature and notice small savings. The cooler it is the less likely you will want to spend time in there!

5) Wear lots of wool clothing! Aka. keep the temperature down in your home, which is also great for keeping viruses at bay. We keep our house at 18 degrees celsius or less. Overnight we go down to 15 degrees celcius. It is chilly when we wake up in the morning but we just add extra layers while we load up the wood furnace. Wool blankets, sweaters and socks keep you surprisingly warm (try our Wee Woollies for your little ones). 

6) Install fans in bedrooms and main living spaces. Or use standing fans. We rarely use our air conditioner as I find that fans offer enough cooling in the summer and in the winter they help us with air flow. 

 7) Family showers. I have all the kids jump in the shower together, usually with one of us. Everyone gets clean quickly and we use less water and energy. 

 8) Use items more than once (or twice!). Our kids will often wear their school day clothes to bed at night or save them for the next day. Sweaters and jeans are often worn 2-4 times before being washed. For my own jeans, I wash them once every month or two!  Turning shirts inside out can also save a piece of clothing from the laundry. All clothes should be made reversible, especially for kids! It saves your fabrics long terms and makes better use of your items. 

9) If it's yellow, let it mellow. Our children naturally forget to flush the toilet (for all types of bathroom activity) - all the time. While sometimes it can be disgusting, I do find their strategy to be beneficial for our budget! 

10) Send your kids outside to play. The benefits are exponential and will help your budget. Running your computer and television regularly truly does add up. Turn your machines off when not in use and let your children explore your backyard, neighborhood or the nooks and crannies in your home. ps. they will benefit in so many other ways too!

What strategies do you use to cut energy costs in your home? 


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