Using Energy More Efficiently at Home

Would you pay for a dish in a restaurant you did not order?

Probably not. But we often pay for energy that we do not use. We heat empty houses, light empty rooms and consume energy through standby power. By learning where household energy is consumed unnecessarily, we can take steps to reduce energy usage and costs, without sacrificing comfort or time.



In an extreme climate such as Canada, heating is a necessity. However, heating our homes when we are not in them increases energy costs without any benefit. Installing a programmable thermostat will allow you to regulate your home's temperature when you are asleep or away, so the heat is only on when needed. By properly setting your programmable thermostat, you can save up to $180 per year on heating and cooling costs.

Looking for a larger project? Consider installing a radiant, electric in-floor heating system. When properly installed, radiant flooring can be up to 28% more energy efficient than convective heating systems, such as electric baseboard and forced air. This is due to the fact that the system distributes heat evenly throughout a room, as opposed to vents that work hard to blow hot air from one end of a room to the other.


We all forget to turn lights off once in a while. To ensure that no light is left on unnecessarily, install motion sensors and timers for your indoor and outdoor lighting. Motion detectors will immediately reduce the amount of energy used by light fixtures in low and mid-traffic areas, such as bathrooms, hallways, stairwells, basements and walkways.

Motion detectors with timers can be programmed to shut off lights at certain times of day or night, or at a specified amount of time after activity in a room has ceased. For example, set your porch motion detector timer to only turn on at night and set your bathroom motion detector timer to turn off 5 minutes after any movement has been detected in the bathroom.

Standby Power

We also consume energy that we do not use through standby power, which refers to the power consumed by items that are turned off, but still drawing electricity. Devices with timers and clocks, for example, have a standby mode, so even if your microwave is off, its digital clock is still using electricity.

Although appliances and electronics are becoming increasingly efficient, the number of appliances and electronics in Canadian homes is on the rise. The amount of energy used by individual items may not seem like a lot, but all together they can equal up to 10% of the power used in your home - equivalent to running an extra refrigerator in your house for a year!

To eliminate or reduce standby power usage, unplug items where possible and use power bars with timers to stop small appliances and electronics from drawing energy when they are not in use. Even an ordinary power bar (without a timer) is useful since it allows you to flip one switch and turn off a grouping of devices when they are not needed.

Make the most of the energy you pay for by incorporating smart technologies such as programmable thermostats, in-floor heating, motion sensor lighting and power bars into your everyday life.