Green living is about making choices that contribute to the sustainability of our natural resources and it’s a growing trend to try to reduce the impact we have on our environment. You don’t have to go completely off the grid to have an effect though. Edmonton is a great city for adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. If you’ve been thinking about living a little greener but don’t know where to start, here are a few steps you can take that will make a difference.
1. Live close to work. By living close to where you work you’ll spend less time in your car so you will use less gas and put out fewer emissions. You may even be able to find a neighbour to carpool with to work.
2. Consider taking the bus, cycling or walking instead. A distance of 800 meters is considered to be a walkable distance for most people and you’ll burn approximately 100 extra calories each day you walk it so you could lose weight, too. Speaking of which, did you know that every home in Edmonton has a walk score? You can find out what yours is at the WalkScore website.
3. Shop close to home. If you live in an area with convenient access to amenities such as groceries, restaurants and shopping, you’ll spend less time in your car. You’ll also be helping to support businesses in your area which in turn continues to make the area more sustainably green.
4. Buy the right size of home for your needs. Smaller homes use less energy and attached homes use less energy than single family homes. Edmonton’s Green Home Guide published by the City of Edmonton suggests that you look for a home that provides approximately 500 square feet per person living in the home and that you choose an open concept floor plan over a house divided by hallways. You’ll find that you have enough space for everyone without going too big and an open concept can make a small home seem larger. A bonus is that a smaller home requires less cleaning so you’ll save on energy and cleaning supplies.
5. Make your home airtight. If you have an older home, you should consider having your insulation evaluated and possibly upgraded to meet current energy standards. Check for leaks or drafts around windows and doors and caulk or weatherstrip to close the gaps. Did you know that approximately 63% of Canada’s average home energy use goes to space heating? Yes, we live in an area that experiences extended periods of low temperatures but you can decrease your energy consumption by upgrading your home’s insulation and properly sealing windows and doors.
6. Get a programmable thermostat so you can conserve energy while you are away from home. Set it to drop a few degrees in the winter or go up a few degrees in the summer while the house is empty and you’ll see a difference in your monthly bill not to mention you’ll be conserving resources for our country.
7. Buy new ENERGY STAR compliant appliances. Have you needed a good excuse to purchase that stainless steel set you’ve been eyeing? Here it is. If you have appliances that are more than 10 years old, it’s time to replace them with high-efficiency models that meet the stringent energy requirements of the ENERGY STAR program. You’ll find they have superior performance compared to your old appliances and you’ll see a decrease in your utility bill. Before you buy that refrigerator though, remember that a model with the freezer on top or bottom rather than on the side uses 25% less energy. That french door refrigerator looks even better now, right?
This is part one of a two part series. Tomorrow’s blog will concentrate on water consumption, landscaping, and exterior energy solutions. Come back for tomorrow’s blog and please share this post with your friends by clicking the social network buttons at the top of the page. Thanks!