Tips for buying energy-efficient appliances
In addition to being eco-friendly, energy-efficient appliances can save you money on your utility bills. Here are some tips for choosing the best energy-efficient appliances for your home. LOOK AT THE LABELS Most large appliances sold in Canada are required to have a black-and-white EnerGuide label. This sticker displays the appliance’s annual energy consumption and indicates how it performs relative to other models in its class. Always consult the EnerGuide label to learn more about the appliance before you buy it. You should also look for the Energy Star logo, which indicates that the product meets strict standards for energy efficiency. CONSIDER THE SIZE It’s often important to determine what size you need your appliances to be, especially when it comes to HVAC systems. If your unit is too small for your house, it will operate at peak capacity for long periods of time, which isn’t energy efficient. An oversized appliance isn’t ideal either, as it costs more up front and is more expensive to operate. Size is also an important factor when buying refrigerators, washers, dryers, furnaces and boilers. MAKE A “SMART” PURCHASE Smart appliances are products you can sync up with a smart phone or home energy management system. This provides you with greater control over the way the appliance operates as well as real-time data about its energy usage. In addition, many smart appliances, such as refrigerators, laundry machines and HVAC systems, can be programmed to operate when electricity rates are lowest, saving you money. Finally, once you’ve selected your new appliance, make sure to get it installed by the right professional. A faulty installation can impede your appliance’s energy efficiency and even cause it to break down. Are you looking for ways to cut down on the amount of power you use at home? If so, here are some tips that will allow you to more efficiently light your home. USE THE POWER OF REFLECTION Choose light colours for the walls. White reflects up to 80 per cent of the light in a room, while black only reflects 10 per cent. This means that lighter rooms need less lighting to illuminate them than darker ones. Another trick is to place your table and standing lamps in corners so that the light reflects off two walls at once. USE THE BARE MINIMUM Choose lightbulbs that are just powerful enough for the activities you plan to do in a given area. A needlessly powerful light will waste energy. Avoid linking more than one light to a single switch and install dimmers to control the intensity of each fixture. It’s also a good idea to equip outside lights with motion detectors or timers. Finally, turn off every light when going to bed, leaving a room or heading out. USE ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTBULBS Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and light-emitting diodes (LED) use less energy than standard halogen lights (respectively 75 and 90 per cent less). They also last a lot longer. When buying bulbs, make sure to look for the best lumen-to-watt ratio. A better ratio means that the bulb will provide more light while using less energy. Outside, opt for solar-powered lamps. The LED light bulbs on them will run for up to 100,000 hours, but once they burn out, they can’t be replaced. CHOOSE YOUR FIXTURES WISELY When selecting light fixtures, remember that transparent and light-coloured lampshades let more light through than dark ones. In addition, pivoting lamps allow you to effectively target the light cast. CLEAN YOUR LIGHT FIXTURES A buildup of dust and dirt can dull the intensity of your indoor lighting. To ensure that the maximum amount of light possible gets emitted from each lamp, keep your fixtures, bulbs and shades clean. If you follow these tips, you’ll more efficiently light your home and therefore save on your energy bill.