Friday, April 10, 2015

Light Your Way to Savings with

I was raised to be frugal, and to be concerned for the health of the Earth. We grew our own vegetables, turned off lights when we left a room (but, strangely, never the TV - why was that?), and heaven forbid if we left the front door open. "Are you trying to heat the whole street?!" I can hear my Mom now. When recycling options became available, I was all over them. And I'm a bit of a dictator around here when any waste material ends up in the wrong bin. I even spent lunch hour at school yesterday supervising the kids to make sure they understood what went where, after a teacher and I had seen the mess of garbage they were putting in the recycling bin.


Anyway, this is all to say that these issues mean a lot to me. I look after the environment, and I try to save money wherever I can. For instance, when CFL lightbulbs first hit the market a few years back, Hubs and I decided to make the investment and see how they worked out. I swear there are still a couple of lamps using the original bulbs.  Those bulbs were kind of unattractive, and definitely pricey, but the long-term savings on our electricity bill more than covered the initial layout. Plus we were using less energy, and sending fewer bulbs to landfill. Love it!

These days we don't have to rely solely on those curly CFLs. Our dining room chandelier has lovely, more traditionally shaped LED bulbs now. The LED (light emitting diodes) bulbs are even more energy-efficient than the CFLs and are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours to fit different fixtures and esthetics. Plus, they've been coming down in price as well. In 2010, a standard A-line LED would cost $50-60 each. Today, some types of LEDs can be purchased for as little as $7.

If you remain unconvinced, here's a little infographic to outline the cost savings of the different lightbulb options.

Here are a few tips from saveONenergy with ideas on where you can save in your home:

  • Cool down with a ceiling fan - Using the cool air. ENERGY STAR® certified ceiling fans are about 50 per cent more energy efficient and move air up to 20 per cent more efficiently than conventional fan/light combinations.
  • Replace inefficient bulbs with LEDs or CFLs - If you haven’t yet changed your old bulbs to new LEDs, there’s no time like the present. LEDs (light emitting diodes) use 90 per cent less power and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs (those with a wire filament). They are reliable, high quality and long lasting. LEDs are now available in many shapes to fit a range of light fixtures and in colours that create the mood and warm glow that many people enjoy. CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) are another option. They use up to 75 per cent less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. (Last year, 78 per cent of saveONenergy coupons redeemed were for LEDs.)
  • Add motion sensors - Timers and motion sensors shut the lights off automatically when people leave the room and forget to do so – saving electricity and money. It can also provide security by lighting up hallways and garages automatically. This avoids the need to have a light on all the time. (We use a motion sensor light in our driveway, but this would be great idea for a kid's room!)
  • Use power bars with integrated timers - Ideally suited for computer workstations or home theatre systems, these power bars shut off electricity to electronic products typically left on or in stand-by mode. Even in stand-by mode, these electronic devices consume a significant amount of electricity, often referred to as phantom power. One great way to reduce phantom power is to use a power bar with an integrated timer. If there are specific times throughout the day and night when a grouping of devices won't need power, plug them into a power bar with a built-in timer for additional savings. Reducing the use of phantom power can reduce energy use by 10 per cent. (Must talk to Hubs about this one. Anyone who's seen the mancave knows why.)
  • Dry clothes outside - Use a clothesline or outdoor umbrella stand to dry your clothes instead of using electricity to run the dryer. In the summer, using outdoor clotheslines can reduce heat gain in the home and that means less work for your air conditioner. Using a clothesline also means using the sun and wind to dry your clothes. Enjoy fresh smelling clothes and less wear on them, too. In 2007, the Ontario government passed a law allowing the use of outdoor clotheslines in all neighbourhoods. (I grew up with a clothesline. We never used a dryer in the summer. And I was shocked to hear that they were outlawed in some Ontario municipalities. There is nothing so wonderful as tucking in to bed with freshly laundered, line-dried sheets.)

From March 27 to April 26, saveONenergy coupons are available on-line and in-store at participating retailers. These coupons provide great savings on a range of products to help you save energy (and money!) - LED or CFL lightbulbs, clothesline kits, ceiling fans, timers, motion sensors, and more. Fun fact: Since 2006, the saveONenergy coupon program has saved enough electricity to power a city the size of North Bay for a whole year! How cool is that! You save money with the coupons and money on your electric bill, plus you are doing your bit to help save the environment too. It's a win all around!

I think all of our lightbulbs have been switched over by now. This summer I'd like to install an umbrella stand in our backyard to cut down on dryer usage. We have the room. I just have to get Hubs to buy in and set it up. And I'll be sure to use my $5 off saveONenergy coupon for the purchase. MMM. Line-dried laundry is the best.

So, I'd love to know - what steps have you taken to reduce energy use in your home? What plans do you have for further energy reductions? Think about it, let me know, and head out before April 26 to take advantage of these great offers!

Disclosure: This post has been brought to you by All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own. I am passionate about earth-friendly actions, and a big fan of saving money as well!

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