Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Government Rebates for Efficient Homes

Saving money is all about living efficiently. Living efficiently starts at home by trying to make your home as efficient as possible. This comes in the form of improving heating and cooling, water usage, and electricity usage. Improving in these three areas will have a definite impact on your monthly utility bills. Proper insulation and sealing of drafts will make it so your furnace or air conditioning unit will not have to work as hard at sustaining a comfortable temperature. I have a recent post about the benefits of programmable thermostats, I think they are the cat's "meow" so be sure to check that article out.

As with water usage a lot of people don't see the connection between environmental protection and water usage. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to treat water so that it is acceptable as drinking water. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency the country spends $4 billion US annually for the energy to run drinking water and waste water utilities. Having water efficient appliances would have a dramatic effect on reducing the amount of money and energy required to treat water. Reducing your water usage should will result in a lower monthly bill, which is a good financial reason to reduce water usage. Clean water is precious, don't waste it!

Wasting electricity can also be costly. Beyond the usual reminders of turning off lights in rooms we are not in and turning off appliances when they are not in use there is something call "phantom energy" which you may not have heard of. When appliances are plugged into the wall socket and aren't in use they are still sucking up power. Appliances like TV, computer monitors, cell phone chargers, DVD players, printers, etc... when not in use still suck up electricity. Phantom energy can account for about 10% of an individual home's electricity use. So unplug appliances that aren't in use or are used rarely. Another way to solve this problem is to plug appliances that are used occasionally into a power bar and turn the power bar off when not using the appliances, this will cut off the electrical current to the devices and potentially cut 10% off your electricity bill each month.

Now you may be asking, "having efficient appliances is all good and well but I can't afford to change my furnace, fridge or toilet." Well you're in luck because there are lots of incentives from local governments that will reimburse part of the cost of replacing old appliances. For example in the Region of Waterloo there is an ongoing $60 rebate to replace your old toilet with a more water efficient unit. I know that's not going to make you want to rush out and get a new toilet, but if you are already considering replacing it you should look into these incentive programs. If you live in the Waterloo region check out this website for more information: http://www.reepwaterlooregion.ca/index.php. Moving toward a more environmentally sustainable home will make the world greener and your wallet!

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