This is a continuation from yesterday’s blog on living green in Edmonton (or anywhere really). Today we are talking about water consumption, landscaping and solar energy. This is really what conservation always comes down to, water and energy. Energy is used and greenhouse gases are produced in water treatment and not all energy is a renewable resource. So what can you do to lessen the burden on our environment? Here are a few ideas.
1. Lower your water consumption. Sure, conserving water helps to lessen the demand on the North Saskatchewan River and to reduce greenhouse gases but let’s talk about what people really care about - money. The average Edmonton homeowner could save up to $300 year just by making some simple, inexpensive changes.
The two biggest users of water in the average household are the shower and the toilet. Did you know that old models of toilets use approximately 20 litres of water per flush? If you replace your old toilet with a new low flush model (a maximum of 6 litres per flush), you can reduce its use up to 75%. Replace your showerhead with a low-flow model (7.6 litres per minute) and you can reduce its water consumption up to 20%. Also, low-flow doesn’t have to mean low-pressure. Many low-flow fixtures can perform just as well as standard fixtures.
The next two highest for water consumption is the laundry and kitchen. If you don’t want to replace your faucets, install an aerator and you can save up to 40% of the water normally used. Replace your old dishwasher with a new ENERGY STAR model and you will reduce its water consumption by at least 25% per cycle. Also, stop washing dishes by hand! A new dishwasher uses less water and cleans just as well plus it frees up your time for something else. In the laundry room, look at getting an ENERGY STAR high-efficiency (HE) washer. They use up to 45% less water but clean your clothes just as well as a standard machine.
2. Landscape for conservation. Did you know that having a lawn, trees and garden can actually help with conservation? Having lawns and gardens reduces water run-off that ends up in the storm sewer, which in turn reduces the volume of water being treated to remove contaminants before it reaches the North Saskatchewan River. Trees can help shade your property and protect it from harsh winds which will help lower your energy bill. Besides, a lovely outdoor space will beautify your home and increase your property value so you save money and make money all at the same time.
3. Use the power of the sun. Solar energy has been around for a long time now but it’s just recently started to become a more popular. Edmonton is a great city to have solar since it is one of the sunniest cities in Canada. Solar energy helps to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and it doesn’t produce greenhouse gas emissions.
There are different types of solar systems depending on what you want (heating water, producing electricity, or both), how you want to do it (active or passive), and how much you want to spend. You could reduce your energy bill or have it gone completely depending on the system you choose. If you want more information about solar energy, you can check out the Solar Energy Society of Alberta’s website.
These are just a few ideas on green living in Edmonton but it is not even close to a comprehensive list. There are so many more ways to conserve at home. You can get more information and ideas by visiting the City of Edmonton’s website and reading their Green Home Guide. They have plenty of information and links there to help you get started.
So tell me, are you living a green lifestyle in Edmonton? What changes are you or will you be making? Every little bit helps, especially when we all do it together. I’d love to hear about the ways you’re helping to conserve. Leave a comment below and, if you like this post, please share it by clicking the icons at the top of the post.