December 8 2020, 11:26 AM
For many New Brunswickers, this will be the first winter that family members will be home on weekdays, whether they’re working remotely or doing virtual learning.
This pandemic-related lifestyle change has many impacts, from less lonely pets to going through more groceries.
Telecommuting can also result in higher than expected energy bills because people are home more often.
That’s why we want to share these 12 easy energy saving tips. By making small adjustments at home, you can save energy and reduce your bill – all while helping the environment.
You can find these tips and more by accessing the My Energy Portal on our website. If you’re ready to make upgrades to your home’s efficiency, check out the advice and incentives offered through our Total Home Energy Savings Program.
Manage your technology
- Set your computer and monitor to go into "sleep" or "hibernate" mode after 20 minutes of inactivity. These modes draw less power while keeping programs open for when you return to work. Don’t bother with a screensaver – it uses just as much energy as an active computer.
- Don’t forget to turn off your computer at night and on weekends. This could save you up to one-third of your computer’s energy costs.
- Many electronic devices continue to draw power even when they are turned off – this is known as phantom power. By unplugging devices and chargers when they are not in use, you can avoid paying for this extra energy. This includes devices such as TVs, video game systems, printers, coffee makers and cell phone chargers. If a device has a rectangular adapter box on its plug that stays warm, it’s a sure sign that it’s drawing power even when off.
- Consider using power bars for devices that are difficult to unplug frequently. With a flip of the switch, you can easily cut off power to multiple devices at once, saving time, energy, and money.
- When purchasing new home office equipment, always choose ones that are energy efficient.
Optimize your lighting
- Take advantage of natural light to reduce your need for artificial lighting. Plus, natural light is known to be good for your mental health and productivity.
- While overhead bulbs can brighten a space, they often use more light than you need. Using a kitchen counter light while preparing dinner, or a small lamp to read, brings better light to the task at hand and saves energy. Using directed light while working also reduces eye strain.
- Switch bulbs to LEDs to reduce the amount of electricity used. Consider using smart bulbs with timers or phone apps to customize your lighting colour, timing and brightness.
Adjust your heating
- Put on a cozy sweater and try lowering your thermostat a few degrees. You can save about 2% on your heating bills by simply turning your thermostat down 1°C for eight hours. A cooler workspace can also improve alertness.
- Run ceiling fans at low speed in reverse during the winter, which creates an updraft that sends warmer air pooled near the ceiling back down into the living space.
- Check your heating system air filters and replace them if they are dirty. Clean filters use less energy and reduce the strain on your system.
- Let the sun help heat your home. South-facing windows have the most potential for heat gain. Keep the drapes open and windows clear in order to let the most light in.
December 3 2020, 10:58 AM
Lots of New Brunswickers are already getting their homes ready for the holidays - and we can’t blame you – it’s been a challenging year. As we head into the holiday season, here are some helpful ways to become more energy efficient and save money this year.
If you’re still using older traditional lights, consider making the switch to LEDs. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) transform most of the energy that they consume into visible light rather than heat.
This means holiday LEDs use about 85-90% less electricity than traditional bulbs. They also last up to 50x longer – so you won’t be replacing them as often. Holiday LEDs will also save you money!
How much? It depends on the amounts of lights you use and what type you were using before.
Check out this cost comparison*:
$43.66 per month
$1.24 per month
That’s 97% less in energy costs!
*Comparison based on 6 strings of lights operating for 6 hours/day for 31 days
Timers are another great way to manage your décor’s energy use. Set a weatherproof timer to have your holiday lights turn on at dusk and turn off at bedtime.
You can also find solar options for driveway stakes, floodlights and other decorations – which means they won’t add to your power bill and you don’t need to worry about running extension cords!