Save Energy and Money in the New Year

The cost of living in Vancouver is expected to rise in 2012. Fight back with these energy (and money) saving tips.

Resolve to cut down your energy bills this year with these tips

Energy Saving Techniques that Will Save You Money


With the excess of Christmas over and the credit card bill due to arrive any day, the news that 2012 is going to be more expensive for BC residents isn’t uplifting.


According to the CBC, “BC residents will pay more in the coming year for health care, electricity, car insurance and gasoline.” And while there isn’t much we can do about our health care costs, we can definitely save a bit of money by cutting down on our fuel use and by making our homes more energy efficient. Try out some of these 20 tips:


  1. Make a plan: Look at your most recent BC Hydro bill for how much energy you consumed and set a goal for cutting down by 10% to become eligible for a $75 reward.
  2. Watch your intake: Identify the power guzzlers in your home with a wattmeter. Some appliances should be thought of like fast food and used sparingly—with your clothes drier, air conditioner, electric kettle and vacuum falling in the French fry category.
  3. Cut down appliances: Get rid of your second fridge, your third television and that ancient washing machine. Check for appliance rebates at BC Hydro to make the switch.
  4. Bring in an auditor: Consider getting an energy use audit. Auditors can point out inefficiencies and help you discover cost saving programs. The provincial program LiveSmart BC offers over $7,000 in rebates, and the federal program ecoENERGY offers up to $5,000 in grants.
  5. Apply for savings: If you have a lower income, see if you are eligible for a free energy savings kit or other energy saving services.
  6. Check for drafts: Seal visible gaps and cracks with caulking and weather stripping to keep heat inside your home and save money.
  7. Watch the thermostat: According to BC Hydro, “Heating costs rise about 5 percent for every degree above 20°C that you set your thermostat.”
  8. Lock in heat: Cover your windows with blinds or drapes to provide insulation in the winter and summer. Heat loss from windows can account for 10 to 25 per cent of your heating bill in winter. So consider upgrading to energy efficient windows.
  9. Check your insulation: if your home doesn’t hold the heat in, you’ll be wasting energy.
  10. Use LED lighting: LEDs use at least 75 percent less energy than incandescent lighting and can last 20 years.
  11. Manage heat source: Choose the right size heater for the area you want to heat and consider space heaters for specific rooms.
  12. Keep cold outside: Close doors, windows and curtains when trying to keep heat in and close the doors to cold rooms (like kitchens, bathrooms and laundries).
  13. Reduce hot water: Switch off your electric water heater if you’re going away for a week or more.
  14. Lower Water Temp: Turn down the temperature of your hot water to between 60°C and 65°C (and if you have small children, set the hot water temperature to 50°C-55°C).
  15. Steam Cook: In the kitchen use the least amount of required water when steaming and cook food with a lid on when possible.
  16. Minimize oven pre-heat: Only preheat the oven when required and resist the urge to keep opening it when cooking.
  17. Fill dishwasher: Only run your dishwasher when it has a full load and skip the dry cycle—simply open the door when it’s done rinsing.
  18. Use cold wash cycle: In the laundry only wash whites and heavily soiled clothes with hot water and don’t over-load your machine—according to the manufacturers, this can use more electricity and won’t launder the clothes as well.
  19. Reduce dryer use: Line dry in the outdoors or on an inside rack when possible.
  20. Power off: Turn off the lights, computer screen, TV etc. when leaving a room.