Watt to Cut

The average energy consumption in Alberta sits at 7,200 kWh per person which exceeds the national average of 4,500 kWh. This large discrepancy can be attributed to the colder climate (thanks 1 whole month of -30℃) and higher minimum wage (1). As an Edmontonian, you should expect to spend about $1,200 annually on electricity bills, which can be even higher if you live with a large family (1). While being mindful about your energy usage can help you spending less on bills, conserving electrical energy helps reduce your carbon footprint as well. A large percentage of electricity is generated from burning fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, which means that by using electricity, we are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions (2). With a greater need than ever to reduce our carbon footprint, here are some small household changes that you can make in order to limit your energy usage.

  1. Turn off the light when you leave the room! It’s only a flip of a switch, but it can limit hours of wasted energy usage. If you want to keep up with times and technology advancements, install a smart home system to control your lights.  

  2. Want a brighter environmental future? Consider changing your lightbulbs from inefficient 60-watt traditional bulbs to 12-watt LEDs which us up to 85% less energy (3)

  3. Eliminate vampire power: unplug unused appliances like your chargers and toasters. If you want to be really efficient, install a “power strip” which allows master control of a number of electronics so you can easily shut them all off at once when not in use. This works quite well for TV and entertainment systems.

  4. Stop spending so much time browsing for food in your fridge; you already know it’s empty. A slight disturbing fact: we spend about 10 hours a year looking into a fridge or freezer (4).

  5. Machine-set to wash your clothes in cold water. Not only do you prevent the risk of shrinkage, they will also come out less-wrinkly, so you won’t have to further use more energy to iron, compared to using hot water (5).

  6. Hang your laundry to dry, rather than using a dryer. Embrace that luddite, analog lifestyle!

  7. Do full loads of laundry. Or if you’re in dire need to wash a few pieces of clothing, hand wash them instead.

  8. Take cold showers! You’ll be in and out in less than 5 minutes, which means less water usage and less energy needed to heat up your showers. Fun fact: cold showers are good for your health and overall immunity; a study in England showed that taking regular cold showers increase the amount of disease-fighting white blood cells compared to taking warm to hot showers (6).

  9. Take shorter showers, especially if you’re still going to be taking hot showers. Skip the karaoke sessions and replays of conversations that went poorly, you can do that when you’re not in a position to waste water.

  10. Program your thermostat. Constantly warming and cooling your house takes huge amounts of unnecessary energy, so use a smart thermostat to help you figure out your preferences and set a standard temperature.

Try practicing some of these easy steps in your daily life. Leave post-it-notes or little reminders all over your house, or make a checklist, if you have to, little changes make big differences.

Written by Ira Amiruddin & Natalie Czuczman

Appendices

  1. https://www.fluenthome.com/blog/much-canadian-households-spend-energy/  

  2. https://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/why-is-it-important-conserve-electricity

  3. https://www.energysage.com/energy-efficiency/101/ways-to-save-energy/

  4. https://www.ase.org/blog/10-biggest-energy-wasting-habits-home

  5. https://www.geappliances.com/ge/lifestyles/6-reasons-to-cold-water-wash.htm

  6. https://www.menprovement.com/benefits-of-cold-showers/