Thursday, April 16, 2015

5 Energy Conservation Tips for Spring and Summer

Spring has been a breath of fresh air...literally and figuratively. With the warmer, brighter days comes the desire to purge excess stuff, open up windows, deep clean and freshen up our homes. In this vein, spring is a perfect time to do a home energy audit too. And of course Earth Day is on April 22nd! Let's take a second look at our energy usage and see where we can create better efficiency...and hopefully cost savings!

If you are an Ontario resident, take advantage of the saveONenergy spring coupon event. Until April 26th, look for coupons in-store at participating retailers and online at You will save significant money on items that help to improve your home's energy efficiency, such as ENERGY STAR-certified light fixtures, lighting controls (timers, dimmers, motion sensors), outdoor umbrella stands, clothesline kits and more.

5 Energy Conservation Tips for Spring and Summer from saveONenergy

1. Cool down with a ceiling fan

A ceiling fan helps your air conditioner work more efficiently. The blades should rotate down to help circulate the cool air. ENERGY STAR-certified ceiling fans are about 50 per cent more energy efficient than conventional fan/light combos.

2. Replace inefficient bulbs with LEDs or CFLs

Read on to find out how we are using LEDs and CFLs in our home.

3. Add motion sensors

Use timers and motion sensors to shut lights off automatically. You'll save electricity and money. You can also improve your home's security by lighting up hallways, doorways and garages automatically without having to keep lights on all the time.

4. Use power bars with integrated timers

These power bars shut down electricity to electronics typically left on or in stand-by mode, such as computers and theatre systems. These devices consume a significant amount of electricity, referred to as phantom power. Reducing your usage of phantom power can reduce your energy use by 10 per cent.

5. Dry clothes outside

This is where our grandmas had us beat. Use a clothesline or outdoor umbrella stand to dry your clothes instead of a dryer. This not only saves on the energy your dryer uses, but also reduces heat in your home, making less work for your air conditioner. You get to enjoy fresh, line-dried clothes too! In 2007, the Ontario government passed a law allowing outdoor clotheslines in all neighbourhoods.

We have put the focus on changing our light bulbs this spring. In the past, we changed some of the bulbs in our home from the old incandescent bulbs to CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps). They use up to 75 per cent less energy and last up to 10 times longer. Now, when new bulbs are required, we tend to look for LEDs (light emitting diodes).

LEDs use up to 90 per cent less power than incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer. Earlier this week, we bought this soft white LED bulb for the floor lamp in our family room. It was about $12 and the saveONenergy coupon gave us $5 off. I like that this bulb has the traditional look of an incandescent light bulb, rather than the "coiled" look of our CFL bulbs. It might seem expensive compared to a cheapo incandescent bulb, but note that the packaging says it lasts 22+ years!

We are also replacing our recessed lighting in the basement. We have 20 pot lights that are currently halogen bulbs. Here's the issue - sometimes I go down to the fruit cellar during the school day and find that the lights are still on from the kids watching TV the night before! That's a lot of energy wasted. And it doesn't seem to matter how many times we remind them.

So, energy-efficient bulbs are where it's at! Last year, 78 per cent of saveONenergy coupons redeemed were used to buy LEDs. LED bulbs are now available in many shapes and in colours that will create the traditional, warm glow many of us want. What we are using to improve our basement lighting is LED flood lights. You can also find LED spotlights (to use in track lighting), globe lights (for vanities) and decorative bulbs (shaped like candle flames). We have a need for all these types in our home actually!

LED bulbs have also gone down quite a bit in price in the past few years. Just five years back, a standard LED bulb was $50 or more. Today, some bulbs sell for as low as $7. And don't forget to use your saveONenergy coupon!

The spring coupon event is one of the many saveONenergy programs offered by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and local distribution companies. Visit for more details and energy-saving ideas.

How do you save on energy in your home?


  1. I am beyond excited that its been warm enough to dry our clothes on the line outside--not only is it energy efficient, its better for the clothes AND it smells sooooo good! We've changed out our bulbs too, but haven't put our power bars on timers (which is brilliant). Sounds like another thing to add to our list of summer to dos!

    1. Sounds like you guys are ahead of the game! Enjoy the spring weather...and the fresh smelling clothes! Thanks Taby. :)

  2. Your home is so lovely! The black and white armchair is beautiful. When I went to the US none of my friends had outdoor clothes lines and I was really surprised because the 'Hills Hoist' is a common fixture in Australian backyards. When chatting to people in the US about it the general feeling was that it was a 'trailer trash' symbol! Many homes here (like my parents') have the clotheslines that spin around, my backyard has a line that is attached to the fence and I think it can collapse down (no idea!). My kids can't hang off it, but they can hang off my mum's line and spin around :) In our home we have the energy efficient lightbulbs and we've had a bit of work done to try and seal up gaps and drafty spots. Our house is old and the previous owners did some DIY work that is pretty bad (think big uneven gaps around window frames). Our kids want us to put the heater on when they're cold-- we tell them to put warmer clothes on, not just tshirts and bare feet!

    1. Thank you so much! The dogs like the new chair too, which means I covered it with a blanket, which is just...ugly! Growing up we used a clothesline at the cottage, but mostly for wet bathing suits and beach towels. My mother-in-law always used an outdoor clothesline in good weather though. She didn't have a dryer for many years. But, in some newer neighbourhoods, people weren't allowed to have clotheslines for years, because of that distaste you heard about in the US. Now in Ontario you can use them in every area as a help to the environment. Our weather is so extreme here, I'm sure we use more energy than you! Lots of heat in the winter, air conditioner in the summer!

  3. We had only clothes lines, propped up by large poles in the middle. When I first went away to work I had Sears deliver a dryer to my parents. They were so pleased. I only learned later that they couldn't use it until they had the house rewired.

    1. Wow! That just goes to show how much energy a dryer uses! Nice that you were so thoughtful though. :)