Conserving water and energy is good for the environment and our pocket books. In the short term, lower consumption means lower utility bills for you. In the long term, lower energy and water use translates to lower infrastructure building and operating costs, keeping the cost of providing energy and water to your home or business lower.
This comprehensive guide offers nearly one hundred energy and water conservation tips to help you save energy, water, and money at home and at work.
Want to do more to help the environment and save money? We offer additional information, tours and demonstrations, and even financial incentive programs to help you implement conservation measures at home, in your garden and at work.
Use the MyUtilities customer portal to monitor your household’s consumption patterns of water, gas, and electricity. Then, shift your electricity use to when demand is low and time-of-use pricing is at off-peak.
Reduce the amount of laundry you wash – clothes don't have to be washed every time you wear them, as long as they pass inspection! This can help you save money in the long run and keep your clothes looking newer longer.
If you’re on the Time-of-use pricing plan, use your appliances between 7 PM and 7 AM when demand for electricity is low prices are off-peak (less expensive).
Be sure to keep the clothes dryer’s lint filter clean to improve efficiency and for safety.
On your washer, using cold water saves a tremendous amount of electricity. Look for cold water detergent.
85–90% of the washer’s electricity is used to heat the water.
When buying a new clothes washer, look for an ENERGY STAR qualified front-load model to reduce water use by 45% and energy use by 65%.
When buying a new dishwasher look for:
The ENERGY STAR label
A short-cycle or “econo wash” features
Use the dishwasher’s air-dry setting or leave the door open to naturally dry dishes.
Use an outdoor clothesline and/or indoor drying racks to save electricity.
Insulate your home thoroughly to keep it cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Install a minimum of 25 cm (10") of insulation in your attic.
Open soffit, roof, and gable vents to let in air and control moisture, thereby preventing damage to insulation and wood (daylight should be seen through vents).
Add exterior and interior insulation to your basement.
Seal areas around plumbing stacks, ceiling fans and light fixtures where they join the floor or ceiling to prevent drafts.
Ensure attic insulation doesn’t block air movement.
Air leaks account for the largest amount of heat loss from your home! Seal leaks around light fixtures, plumbing stacks, windows, exterior doors, attic hatches, pipe and wire entrances, wood-burning fireplaces, electrical outlets, and ceiling fans.
Electronic devices left plugged in, even when turned off, still draw power. That’s called phantom power or standby power, and it’s costing you money. By reducing this unnecessary power use, you could help save up to 15% of your electricity use.
Make sure any computer you purchase has an automatic power-down function that will automatically switch the monitor into sleep mode or, preferably, deep sleep mode after a set period of inactivity. (A mandatory feature for ENERGY STAR models.)
Shut your computer down when not in use to save electricity and reduce wear on your system.
Laptops use less energy than desktop models.
Plug the following electronics into a power bar with a timer or auto-shut off and make sure they are off during periods of inactivity:
LEDs are available in a wide variety of shades of white light, ranging from yellowish to white to bluish white light, which allows you to customize the mood of your space.
Many LEDs come in “warm” colours to match the yellowish light of incandescent bulbs, but you can also choose “cooler” colours with whiter or bluer light. Light colour is measured on a temperature scale referred to as Kelvin (K). Lower Kelvin numbers mean the light appears more yellow; higher Kelvin numbers mean the light is whiter or bluer.
For a whiter light, look for bulbs marked 3500–4100 K.
Bulbs that measure at greater than 3500 K will enhance cooler colours (blue, green, violet) in your home.
For bluer white light, look for bulbs marked 5000–6500 K.
Whenever you leave a room, get into the habit of turning off the lights.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs contain a small amount of mercury. Please dispose of your used bulbs in an environmentally friendly way. Check the City of Kingston’s Waste Lookup tool for the proper disposal procedure.
Replace your high-use incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). They use up to 75% less electricity and last up to 10 times longer.
For those lights that are on all night, use the lowest wattage bulbs possible.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs provide focused lighting, making them a great choice for reading lights, desk lamps, night lights, spotlights, security lights, and other applications. They are extremely energy efficient, long-lasting, and mercury-free.
Use area or task lighting instead of full, overhead lights. This is a great use for LED lights.
ENERGY STAR quality light fixtures use only 25% of the electricity of standard fixtures and distribute light more efficiently and evenly.
Motion sensors are ideal for rooms where you may forget to turn off the lights.
Make a point of keeping your light fixtures clean for maximum brightness.
Install programmable timers or motion sensors on interior and exterior lights.
Install dimmer switches and use dimmable LEDs.
Not all LEDs are dimmable! Check the packaging for compatibility.
Pick up a free conservation kit from Utilities Kingston including toilet leak detection tablets, two faucet aerators, gaskets to prevent heat loss through outlets, and a flow-rate measurement bag to test the efficiency of your shower heads and faucets at 85 Lappan’s Lane.
Use low-flow showerheads to reduce the flow by 40 to 60% and save up to eight litres of water per minute.
Fill the bath only half-full to save 80 litres per bath.
The bather in the current image is not following this suggestion!
Baths and showers account for 25% of indoor water use.