Every year, April 22nd marks a worldwide commitment to protecting the environment. But for those of us keen to reduce our impact on the planet, every day is Earth Day. So, here are some every-day ways you can reduce your home’s carbon footprint- and maybe even save a little money, too:
- Pull the plug: Coffee machines, microwaves and televisions still use a small amount of electricity when they’re on standby. Though it may seem inconsequential, this power usage can add up when you consider the number of appliances constantly consuming power over the years. Consider connecting the worst offenders to one power bar. Then, when you leave the house for the day, the flick of one switch is all that’s required to reduce your energy consumption to nil.
- Set a timer: Installing a timer for lights, fans and heating can both prevent unnecessary energy use, and act as a theft deterrent. Simply program the timer to suit your daily schedule, and chances are, the only difference you’ll notice will be a reduction in your utility bills.
- Dry with care: If you regularly use a clothes dryer, make sure it’s clean and lint-free. This will keep it running efficiently and prevent wasted energy. On sunny days, why not go one step further and hang your laundry outside? It’s free and your clothes will smell great!
- Load the washer: When washing clothes, only run the machine when you have a full load. If you have just a few small items, you’ll use a lot less water washing them by hand. Some washing machines have a ‘quick’ cycle; take a look at your user manual or talk to an expert to see if this would save time, water and energy. Quick cycles are great for lightly soiled clothes when killing germs isn’t a major concern.
- Fill the dishwasher: Similarly, wait until the dishwasher is full before you run it. You can always run the ‘rinse and hold’ cycle if you’re not going to have a full load for a while and you want to avoid smells. And try using the quick cycle to save even more water and energy.
- Open a window: Air conditioners use more electricity than almost any other home appliance. During the summer months, open a window or use a fan rather than turning on your power-hungry air conditioner.
- Close a vent: Taking steps to avoid heating or cooling rooms that you’re not using will save you energy and money. Just make sure that the room in question doesn’t get so cold in winter that your pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting- this is a common cause of water damage.
- Turn off the tap: Leaving the faucet open while you brush your teeth wastes 22 litres of water per person per day. To put that into perspective, a family of 4 could fill a bathtub with wasted water in as little as two days.
- Stop the drip: A lowly 6 drops per minute from a tap is all it takes to lose over 1,100 litres of water in a year. Plus, if the leak is coming from your hot tap, not only are you wasting water, but also the energy used to heat it. Experts claim that fixing a hot water leak can result in savings of $33/year.
- Fix the flapper: Toilet tank flappers are small devices that control the flow of water between the tank and the bowl of your toilet. Usually made of rubber, these parts deteriorate over time, often causing a leak that’s simple and easy to fix. To check for a leak, remove the lid and put ten drops of food colouring into the tank. Then grab a coffee and wait for ten minutes. When you return, if you see coloured water in the bowl of your toilet, it’s time to replace the tank flapper. (Don’t worry, there are plenty of instructional videos online, such as this one from PlumbingSupply.com)
- Go meatless: Accoring to earthday.org, the meat industry is responsible for approximately 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. It takes nearly twenty times the amount of energy to produce a calorie from meat compared to one from plant-based sources. Cutting meat out of your diet one day a week will help to reduce your annual carbon footprint.
- Recycle your electronics: Your old laptops and cell phones needn’t go to waste- or more specifically, to landfill. A simple Google search will reveal a list of eco-friendly alternatives, whether your devices are working or not.
- Use your car less: Simple, but effective. Finding alternative transportation for just two days per week can reduce your carbon footprint by as much as 1,500 lbs of exhaust fumes over the course of a year according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Okay, offering advice is easy. Following it, maybe less so. So what are we doing at Square One to heed our own words and reduce our effect on the environment?
Well, in 2011, we changed the industry forever by providing home insurance online. Safe to say, we hated the waste of paper associated with traditional insurance. For the same reason, you won’t find any disposable plates or cutlery in our office. We also provide an energy efficient fridge and dishwasher for our team members to use… And yes, we only run the dishwasher when it’s full! All of our policies and communications are sent to customers via email. This practice has saved over 10 million pieces of paper. That’s enough to reach from our office in downtown Vancouver, BC to Los Angeles, California.
Looking for a home insurance quote? With Square One, there’s no need to burn gas driving to an insurance office; in fact, there’s no need to even leave the house. You can get a quote, buy a policy and make a claim- all online. Get started with a free online quote in under 5 minutes at squareoneinsurance.com. Or, call 1.855.331.6933 to speak to one of our licensed insurance agents. We’re open 6:30 am - 6:30 pm (Mon - Sat).