Many of us would love to save on our home water and energy use. Whether your motivation is to cut your costs or help the planet – or both – here are a few things you can do that won’t break the bank.
Of the three r’s of reduce, reuse and recycle, the first is the most powerful – and the cheapest – way to go green. It’s the simple stuff you’ve heard of forever, but the steps can be effective. Put on a sweater instead of raising the heat as fall temperatures arrive. Cut back on long showers. Only do your laundry at off-peak hours. They may not be convenient but they’re certainly cheap and effective.
Install a rain barrel
Rather than using fresh water to tend your garden, set up a rain barrel and take advantage of wet weather. Although you won’t want to drink it, rainwater is perfect for your plants. You can create a makeshift rain container yourself or buy one at a local hardware store or online. Either way should have a tap to connect a hose or fill up a watering can. Being mindful of how often you water your garden and choosing native plants that require less water can also help you cut back on water usage outdoors.
Go low flow
Low-flow faucets and showerheads are a simple do-it-yourself swap from the hardware store. While newer homes may be fairly efficient, older systems can really guzzle water. Adding a small low-flow attachment or replacement head slows the rate at which the water flows out of your pipes. Don’t worry about losing water pressure with this fix – it works by mixing air into the water, which maintains or even improves the pressure you feel.
Update your thermostat
At a basic level, a programmable thermostat allows you to set your heating and cooling in advance so you can use less when you don’t need it. You might cut down on air conditioning costs since you won’t have to run the system while you’re out all day to still arrive home to a cooled space. Lower-end models will cost about $50 to $100. More advanced, “smart” models with more bells and whistles can run you roughly $100 to $400.
Make use of government payments
Benefits and credits might add a little extra cash to your wallet that you can put towards energy-efficient updates. You may be eligible for the Climate Action Incentive payment if you live in a province with federal pollution pricing: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. And in October 2023, eligible residents of New Brunswick will receive their first payment. The exact amount of the quarterly payments varies by region – you’ll get more if you live outside a major urban centre. You don’t need to apply; you just need to file your taxes every year.
Find more information about how this benefit works at canada.ca/cai-payment