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The Edmonton Real Estate Blog, Market Information, Advise & Opinion

 

Four Ways to be More Green at Your Edmonton Home

It doesn't take much effort to run your household in a more eco-friendly way. You might even be surprised by how much money you can save.

"A small change can make a big difference," says Charles Valinotti, senior vice president of an insurance company which recently implemented a series of small environmental changes and the savings are adding up. "These are changes anyone could make in their own home. We just did it on a larger scale."

Here are four simple green changes inspired by the company that could benefit any homeowner:

1. Recycle - and not just the obvious stuff.
Chances are, you're already recycling glass bottles and aluminum cans. But why stop there? Consider recycling before you throw anything away. You might also consider collecting aluminum cans and bringing them to your local recycling facility where you may get some cash for your efforts.

One business recycles electrical wire, cabinets, shelving, scrap metals and light fixtures. In two years, not only did the company collect $4,000 for non-traditional recyclables, it also avoided fees for disposing of them.

2. Switch to high-efficiency lighting.
For years we've heard that high-efficiency lighting is the way to go. But did you know the magnitude of difference this one change could make? Experts report that each compact florescent light bulb can save up to $40 in energy costs over its lifetime.

Another company's site converted from halogen to fluorescent light fixtures in its parking garage. This one change is saving 378,554 kilowatt hours per year in electrical usage, totaling $26,575 in annual utility expense.

3. When it's not in use, turn it off.
Moms all over the world can be heard reminding their brood, "Turn the lights off!" While there's no doubt it makes sense to turn off lights, some may question when and if a computer should be turned off since it takes a bit more energy to power up than to leave it running.

The experts report that for energy savings and convenience, consider turning off your monitor if you aren't going to use your computer for more than 20 minutes. Turn off your computer if you're not going to use it in the next two hours.

A lot of people don't always shut down their computers at the end of the day. Last year, the company began automatic shutdowns at 9 p.m. local time - saving about $55,000 in energy costs each year. The system gives a prompt 60 minutes prior to the automatic shutdown, allowing employees who are actively working to bypass the shut-off.

4. Paper - who needs it?
Valinotti suggests that taking baby steps toward a paperless existence can be natural and painless. For example, many homeowners already do their banking online - so why not also switch to paperless bank statements? Many utilities, credit card companies and municipalities also offer online billing.

By just moving a portion of its monthly reports online, the company saves 2.5 reams of paper and $11 per day, totaling $2,000 in savings last year.

As you can see, just a few small changes can help you go green - and help you build financial strength as well.

Can you think of any more? If so, please comment below or thru my contact page.

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Going Green has Never Been More High Tech

Going%20green%20has%20never%20been%20more%20high%20techThink going green will cost too much or take too much time? You might be surprised at how much time, energy and money you can save by making a few changes in your home to make it more energy efficient. And don't worry that it will be too much work because some new high tech tools are making it easier than ever.
  
Take stock of the situation
Do you really know how much energy you use to run your household? Think about everything you run or turn on during the day. Consider your heating and cooling systems, appliances and electronics. The average single-family household racks up more than $2,000 in energy bills each year. Home electricity monitors make it easy to see how much energy you use and what you spend on it. A device called The Energy Detective can monitor the energy your home consumes in real time and the exact amount it's costing you. You can chart 10 years' worth of data and even review your information remotely. The basic model costs around $200. 
  
Hit the energy hogs
Now, that you know how much energy you're really using at your Edmonton home, it's time to hit those energy hogs hard. Start with making your heating and cooling systems more efficient. So-called "smart" thermostats are now available and are easy to use. The Nest thermostat is one such device that actually learns from your family's behavior. Soon after installation, it will automatically begin to lower or increase the temperature when you go to bed or leave the house. It even allows you to look at its daily energy use and access the thermostat from your computer or smartphone. 
 
Going%20green%20has%20never%20been%20more%20high%20techThere are also other intuitive devices to help you reduce your energy consumption at home. A power strip for sale by Belkin will shut down power going to a series of electronics by simply turning off one of the components. This is a great solution for home offices and entertainment centers. And here's another smart tip: For those items at your Edmonton home which run off batteries, invest in reusable ones. They will cost a little more than regular batteries but more than make up for that cost in the long run. A gadget that will easily help you make the switch is the Energizer Universal Charger. This device will charge AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V batteries, so you also reduce clutter by only having one charger for all of your battery charging needs. 
 
 
Put it all together
Once you have the information you need, you can easily put it all together to analyze. EnergyHub has a product that works as a command center for your home. You can access all your energy information in one place so you can control your thermostat, lights and appliances from a central home location or remotely. General Electric is also rolling out a hub system called the Nucleus that does the same thing and is compatible with smart meters.
 
Knowledge is power! When you know how much energy your Edmonton home is using, it's easier to come up with strategies to lower your energy usage and lower your utility bills. It's another important way to do your part without wasting your energy.
 
If you have further energy saving tips for your Edmonton home, please share below or thru my contact page.
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