7 most frequently asked questions about home energy
There are a lot of energy saving tips out there, but some people might not be familiar with the reasons why energy efficiency is so important. Whether you're actively living a green life and need a refresher or are new to it all, here are some questions you might have.
What is the difference between energy efficiency and energy conservation?
The best way to explain the difference between the two is to understand that energy efficiency is more associated with technology like using LED lightbulbs vs. incandescent bulbs; sure, they both can light up a room, but one will burn more energy. Whereas with energy conservation, it's about behaviour and making conscious decisions to use less power like shutting off the lights when not in use.
Both are attempting to use less energy but only energy efficiency allows you to do the same task you would normally do without wasting power.
Is it expensive to be energy efficient?
One of the biggest concerns with energy efficiency is the cost associated with it. There are often times that the energy-smart option can be more costly than the standard choice, but with the never-ending advancements in technology, greener choices are become more and more accessible. Try switching old lightbulbs with LEDs, using a smart thermostat or any other smart home devices to take small steps toward making your home more energy efficient.
What is the ideal temperature to keep your home?
The truth is there is no such thing as the ideal temperature and keeping your thermostat on one number is actually one of the least efficient things to do. There are ideal temperatures for different tasks though. Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that peak performance for tasks was 21.6° C. And the National Sleep Foundation found that between 15.5° C - 19° C is recommended for sleeping or for when no one is home.
Everyone's home might be different but by keeping this in mind you can better set your own thermostat. And if you have a smart thermostat, you can program it to adjust the heat to change when you do leave the house or at different points of the day which can eliminate wasted heating and cooling energy and help you save up to 20% on your annual energy bills.
Shower or baths—which uses less energy?
Have you ever wondered which is the more efficient choice? Most people use on average about 114L of water for a bath whereas a standard showerhead uses about 9L of water per minute. The more water you use, the more energy needed to heat the water. Which is all to say that showers save more energy as long as you don't stay in too long. The energy can even be reduced further by taking shorter showers and using more efficient shower heads.
Does leaving electronics and appliances plugged in waste energy?
Just because you aren't using something doesn't mean it isn't using power. There are a lot of devices around your home that might be using small amounts of energy even while turned off. It might not seem like a lot of energy, but when they are using it all day it can really add up. These are called "energy vampires" and can include gaming consoles, AV receivers, laptop charger cables, printers and coffee makers. Take a look around your home for glowing LED power buttons or devices giving off heat. This is a sure sign that they are currently using power. An easy way to fix this problem is to decide if it needs to be on and either unplug it or try a smart power bar or plug that can direct or stop all power to the device(s) until needed.
Do LED lights really last forever?
You might seem skeptical at the claim that LED lights can last forever and while it might sound nice on the side of a box or a commercial, it is in fact possible for LED lights to burn out. LED lights have a lifespan of approximately 25,000 to 100,000 hours which means that if an LED light were to be left on for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, it would still take as long as 10 years to dim and go out. If you were to keep it on for about 8 to 10 hours a day, the lights could theoretically last longer than 30 years! So, although it won't last forever, it will always be better than the 1000-hour lifespan of an incandescent bulb.
Are there incentives for saving energy?
Incentives are almost always available, but the offers and details can change regularly. The best way to keep up with what is currently offered is to check the Canadian Government's website. There you can find all of the incentives related to energy efficiency from provincial/territorial governments, major Canadian municipalities and electric and gas utilities.
These answers should help you along your journey to be more energy efficient and for some other helpful tips you can read more of our blogs.