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3 Basic Rules to Lowering Your Utility Costs

Posted on October 26, 2010 by HSC


Sustainability Toolbox

With rising energy costs, more and more people are becoming worried about their utility bills. Are you one of them?

The social housing sector is a large consumer of electricity, natural gas, water and materials. In fact, the sector spends approximately $400 million a year on utilities and these costs are rising.

In response to these concerns, GLOBE created the Sustainability Toolbox: a free, interactive online tool that focuses on no-cost and low-cost ways to run a more profitable and sustainable business.

When you download the Sustainability Toolbox, you will find some easy solutions for keeping utility costs down both at home and at work. It comes down to following three basic rules:

1. Use efficient technology.

  • Replacing or buying new equipment or appliances? Choose the most efficient models available. Look for the EnergyStar logo – it’s an easy way to recognize the most energy-efficient choices!
  • Replacing toilets, taps and/or showerheads? Install low-flow models to reduce your water use by 25%-50%.
  • Not ready for big upgrades? Faucet aerators are inexpensive and easy to install, and will reduce water use without affecting water pressure.
  • Change your lightbulbs! CFL bulbs are up to 75% more efficient and last up to 10 times longer – you’ll not only save energy, but maintenance costs as well.
  • Get automatic results. Occupancy sensors and/or motion detectors will optimize lighting and fan use and reduce waste. Programmable thermostats allow for comfort and convenience while managing energy used to heat and cool the area.

2. Make sure that the equipment you have, works the way it’s supposed to!

  • Maximize efficiency by making sure to follow operations and maintenance recommendations.
  • Clean and/or replace furnace and exhaust filters regularly.
  • Improve circulation: make sure that nothing blocks radiators, registers or vents.
  • Repair leaky toilets, faucets and showerheads immediately. A leak of one drop per second can waste as much as 10,000 litres of water a year!
  • Insulate and seal windows and doors against drafts. Caulk all cracks and gaps in and around windows, doors, baseboards etc.

 

3. Stop wasting!

  • Turn lights and electronics off when not in use.
  • Don’t heat or cool unoccupied space.
  • Use cold water to wash your clothes, and only wash full loads of laundry.
  • Don’t leave the tap running when washing dishes or brushing your teeth.
  • Reduce the amount of garbage you produce. Compost and recycle as much as possible. Keep hazardous materials out of landfill.

To maximize results, it is important to follow all three of these guidelines – neglecting one will reduce the effectiveness of the other. So if you want to take a bite out of your utility bills, remember that a building includes more that just walls, roofs, doors and windows – it also includes the people who live and work within it. How each part of a building interacts with each other (including residents and staff) will define just how sustainable – and cost-effective- your operations will be.

Looking for more useful tips and tools? Visit the GLOBE website to get your FREE copy of the Sustainability Toolbox. Download here

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