General Conservation Tips

Cooling

  • Keep your thermostat set at 24 degree Celsius, or higher, and on ‘auto,’ not ‘on.’ Each degree can mean up to 5% savings on cooling costs.

  • The optimal lifetime of Air Conditioners is 10 years - If yours are older, consider replacing them with new energy-efficient appliances (ESMA Label 5 or 4 stars)
  • Use ceiling fans to circulate air. They use about as much electricity as a light bulb and can make you feel comfortable at higher thermostat settings. Don’t forget to turn fans off when you leave the room.
  • Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system's efficiency significantly. You should clean your AC filters at least once every 3 months
  • Plan ahead! Schedule heat-producing activities like laundry, ironing, and cooking at cooler times of day when possible. Be aware of the temperature! If it's cooler inside than outside, then close all windows and drapes.If it's cooler outside, open everything up to ventilate and let the outside air cool your house. 
  • Use drapes, shades, awnings and reflective materials to reduce heat entering through glass.
  • Use exhaust fans in the kitchen, laundry and bathroom to pull hot, humid air up and out. 
  • Apply weather stripping and caulking around all doors and windows to keep the chilled air inside your house.
  • Install a programmable thermostat (Clock thermostat) that automatically switches your air conditioner to a higher cooling setting while you are away. 
  • Clean or replace your air conditioner filter monthly so your air conditioner runs efficiently.
  •  A 5 Star AC can save you up to 25% on cooling bill compared to 1 star AC and payback time is about 1 year! 


Lighting

  • Turn off lights when not needed, especially incandescent and halogen ones.
  • Use Induction Lamps, LED or solar powered lights for outdoor lighting because of their longer lifespan and higher-efficiency compared to equivalent conventional lamps.
  • Use LEDs for indoor lighting because of their longer lifespan and high-energy efficiency compared to equivalent lamp and tubes.
  • Clean your light bulbs regularly, as dirt limits diffusion of light and decreases illumination.
  • Use timers or motion-detectors with lamps where applicable.
  • Make sure to dispose of bulbs properly.
  • LED bulbs are ~85% more efficient than Incandescent or Halogen light bulbs. Consider replacing your lightbulbs with LED and save energy.
  • LED lights have no mercury content and no direct negative environmental impacts.


Major Electrical Appliances Usage

Cooking

  • Use your microwave oven instead of your main oven whenever possible.
  • When you have to use your oven, cook more than one item at a time.
  • Use flat-bottom pans for best contact with the heat, with tight-fitting lids to keep the steam in the pan.
  • Use smaller amounts of water for cooking; use the lowest possible heat to maintain boiling or steaming.
  • Preheat oven only 5 to 8 minutes when baking; do not preheat oven for broiling or roasting.
  • Self-cleaning ovens have thicker insulation and will retain heat, making these models more energy-efficient than regular ovens.
  • Use the self-cleaning feature on your oven only when absolutely needed.
  • Pressure cookers use much less energy than ordinary pots and pans.
  • Use small cooking appliances (electric fry pans, toaster ovens, etc.) whenever possible

Water Heaters and Chillers

  • Solar water heaters generate hot water from the sun without using any electricity. Consider changing your electric one to solar.
  • Switch off the water heater during summer and water cooler during winter, this can save you up to 50% on your water heating and cooling energy consumption.
  • The optimal lifetime of a water heater is 5 years. If yours is older, consider purchasing a new one with a high ESMA energy efficiency rating (5 or 4 stars) or one that is solar powered.

Refrigeration/Freezing

  • Keep your refrigerator temperature at 4 degree Celsius.
  • Keep your freezer temperature at - 18 degree Celsius.
  • Defrost your freezer when ice or frost buildup is 1/4" or thicker.
  • Check your refrigerator/freezer door gasket periodically for signs of deterioration.
  • Vacuum or brush the cooling coils (in back) at least every six months.
  • Allow hot food to cool down before placing in refrigerator.

Major Water Appliances Usage

Dishwashers

  • Only run your dishwasher when it is full to make the best use of water, energy and detergent.
  • Cut down on the amount of rinsing you do before loading the dishwasher. Most modern dishwashers do an excellent job of cleaning dishes, pots and pans all by themselves.
  • When purchasing a new appliance, look for one offering several different cycles. This will allow you to select more energy and water efficient cycles when heavy duty cleaning is not required.
  • When purchasing a new dishwasher it is recommended to purchase a dishwasher with a high ESMA energy efficiency rating (5 or 4 stars), to save energy.

Washing Machines

  • Wait till you have a full load of laundry before running the machine to save both water and energy. If you can't wait for a full load, use the right water level to match the size of the load.
  • When in the market for a new washing machine, consider a 5 or 4 star model that will use an average of 30% less water and 40-50% less energy.

Other

  • If in the market for a new water softener, consider one with a ‘hardness sensor’ that will automatically trigger regeneration as needed. This type of softener will make the most efficient use of both water and salt.

Facts

  • Washing machines can use up to 195 litres of water per cycle and dishwashers as much as 11 litres per cycle.
  • A full dishwasher is more water efficient than washing the same load by hand.

Showers and Faucets

  • Install a water-efficient showerhead with a flow rate of less than 8 litres per minute. (Replace an existing shower head if a 1L bottle placed under the flow takes more than 8 seconds to fill).
  • Install aerators on your kitchen and bathroom faucets to reduce faucet water use by up to 40%.
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving and save more than 5 gallons per day.
  • Clean vegetables in a sink or pan partially filled with water rather than running water from the tap.
  • Reuse the water used to wash vegetables to water houseplants or for cleaning.
  • If you wash dishes by hand, rinse them in a sink partially filled with clean water instead of under running water.
  • It takes around 80 litres of water to fill up a bath. Even a very long 8-minute shower would only use around 62 litres of water. Ideally, you should try replacing baths with a 4-minute shower using an efficient showerhead. This would only use around 32 litres of water. Remember, when you reduce your hot water use, you also reduce your gas or electricity bill (depending on your hot water system).

Toilet

  • New toilet models use up to 6 litres of water per flush. Replacing an old toilet with a new model can save up to 21,000 litres of water per person per year, cutting both your water and wastewater bills.
  • To ensure optimal performance, when installing a low-flow toilet. In areas with a low drainage gradient (such as basements), consider a pressurised model.
  • Check toilets periodically for leaks and repair them promptly.
  • Reduce the amount of water used by an older toilet by placing a one-gallon plastic jug of water, or two one-quart bottles, in the tank to displace toilet flows. Alternatively, you can install a dam that partitions off a section of the tank so it can't fill up with water. These methods can save over 1,000 gallons (3,785 litres) of water per person per year.
  • Sometimes, it might seem easier to simply throw waste straight into the toilet. However, every time you use the flush to get rid of your rubbish, you are also wasting around 5 litres of water. You could try putting a bin right next to your toilet to make things more convenient.


Irrigation

General Watering

  • Water before 8am or after 6pm and avoid watering on windy days.
  • Water in several short sessions rather than one long one. For example, three ten-minute sessions spaced 30 minutes to an hour apart will allow your lawn to better absorb moisture than one straight 30-minute session.
  • Only water when your lawn is dry. Over watering promotes shallow root growth making your lawn less hardy. (To determine if your lawn needs to be watered, simply walk across the grass. If you leave footprints, it is time to water it).
  • Install moisture sensors in each irrigation zone (sunny, shady, etc.) to better determine irrigation needs.

Sprinklers/Sprinkler Systems

  • Check sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks and keep the heads in good repair.
  • Adjust the timer on automatic sprinklers according to seasonal water demands and weather conditions.
  • Install a rain shutoff device on automatic sprinklers to eliminate unneeded applications.
  • Place your sprinkler so it only waters the lawn, not the pavement. Avoid sprinklers that spray a fine mist, which increases evaporation.

Drip Irrigation

Install a drip irrigation system for watering gardens, trees and shrubs. Drip irrigation provides a slow, steady trickle of water to plants at their roots through a network of hidden pipes and hoses. You can adjust a controller that regulates the systems as to how much water goes to the plants to meet their needs. Drip irrigation systems reduce over watering, inefficient watering, weed growth, and the time and the work involved in hand watering.


Landscaping

  • Maintain a lawn height of 2 1/2 to 3 inches to help protect the roots from heat stress and reduce the loss of moisture to evaporation.
  • Avoid planting turf in areas that are difficult to irrigate properly such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
  • Aerate clay soils at least once a year to help the soil retain moisture.
  • Promote deep root growth through a combination of proper watering, aerating, appropriate fertilisation, thatch (grass clippings) control, and attention to lawn height. A lawn with deep roots requires less water and is more resistant to drought and disease.
  • Mulch around plants, bushes and trees to help the soil retain moisture, discourage the growth of weeds, and provide essential nutrients.
  • Plant in the spring or fall, when watering requirements are lower.
  • When choosing plants, keep in mind that smaller ones require less water to establish themselves.
  • Use porous materials for walkways and patios to keep water in your yard and prevent wasteful runoff.


General Outdoor

  • Wash your car with a bucket of soapy water and use a nozzle to stop the flow of water from the hose between rinsing.
  • Clean driveways and sidewalks with a broom instead of the hose.
  • Check for leaks in outdoor faucets, pipes and hoses. Prevent the creation of leaks by shutting off and draining water lines to outside spigots in the winter.
  • Cover your spa or pool to reduce evaporation. An average size pool left uncovered can lose as much as 1,000 gallons (3,785 litres) of water per month.
  • Conduct a leak test a couple of times a year by switching OFF all water devices and checking the water meter. If the meter is still running, there might be a leak in the water pipes or system.