Posted tagged ‘energy star’

Windows: More Important Than You Think!


This past week in southern Ontario, we got our first heat wave, with a near record high of 32 degrees Celsius. It was definitely a nice break from the long rainy weather we’ve been having. Did you enjoy it? Last week, I provided tips on saving energy during the hot months, but it’s also important to take note of the windows in your home.

Windows can be the most attractive part of your home, as they offer outside views and sunlight into your home. Windows are an important feature of your home, especially when it comes to being energy efficient. Energy efficient windows can reduce your heating and cooling bills, letting you save more money and help the environment too!

Have you ever what makes a window energy efficient? Here are some of the features, courtesy of Energy Star, that improve your home’s energy efficiency:

  • Low-Emissivity (Low-E) glass has a unique coating to reduce heat and contains a tint that allows it to absorb as much as 45% of the incoming solar energy and reduces heat gain throughout the home.
  • Reflective Glasses are coated with a reflective coating that helps control solar heat gain during the summer.
  • Glass Layers and Air Spaces Standard are unlike single pane glass windows which have very little insulation and contribute to heat loss and gain. Double or triple pane windows have insulated air or gas-filled spaces between each pane that resist heat flow and transfer less heat, although they are costlier.
  • Framing is also important when it comes to adding energy efficiency in your home. A variety of framing materials are available. Frames can be made of a single material or made with a combination of different materials such as wood, aluminum, clad, and vinyl. Each framing material has its advantages and disadvantages.

If your home isn’t energy efficient or if you’re looking to upgrade your windows to energy efficient ones, the easiest way is to look for the Energy Star logo on the windows. You can also look at the manufacturers’ label for U-value and R-value on the windows. The higher the R-value and the lower the U-value, the more efficient your windows will be in keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

For more info, you can check the ratings of all Energy Star qualified windows, doors and skylights as rated by Natural Resources Canada, and to learn more about buying new energy efficient windows, please read the consumer’s guide.

Environment Canada has predicted a long hot summer coming this year, so keep yourself cool and make sure the cool air doesn’t leak out of your home. If you’re going to turn on the air conditioner, remember to close all your windows tightly!

Lastly, don’t forget to get outside and stay active this summer!




Prep Your Home for Summer


Summer weather is coming soon (don’t let the rain fool you!), so now is the time to prepare your home for summer heat. Sure, it can be too darn hot in the midst of summer, and you just want to crank up that air-conditioner at home all day. Well, there are ways to cool your home without using up too much energy, and it can be done without hurting your wallet, too. This way, you can save yourself some green in your pocket and for the environment!

Summer Home

This summer, you can beat the heat and save the planet by following these simple tips provided by Energy Star:

  • Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs use more energy and can produce up to 75 percent more heat indoor.
  • Set your thermostat higher when no one is home. Program your thermostat to 25 degrees during the day, so no energy is wasted on cooling an empty home.
  • Install a ceiling fan and use it to cool you off when you get home. Turn the fan on for a cool breeze.
  • Shade up. Close the curtains and shades before you leave your home to keep the sun’s rays from over heating the interior of your home.
  • Reduce oven time. Cook with a microwave oven instead of a conventional oven, so it doesn’t heat up your home.
  • Change your HVAC filter. Every three months, you should change your system’s air filter. If the filter is dirty, it will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep your home cool. Also, remember to get your system serviced every year.
  • Seal duct system leaks. To ensure that the cool air isn’t leaking out of your system or your home, you should seal any leaks you see in your duct system with mastic sealant and metal tape and insulate all the ducts you can access.  Learn more about air seal and insulate here. In an Energy Star qualified home though, you don’t have to worry!

Once you’ve done all these, you are guaranteed to have a cool home to come to after a hot sunny day, and you won’t even have to worry about your energy bills! If you drive, it’s also a good idea to get your car ready for the summer by changing tires and filters and getting a tune up. Now, you’re set to enjoy your summer!

Stay in touch and let me know how much money you save this summer via Facebook or Twiter.

Green Expo in Peterborough


A lot of times people don’t realize how simple it is to live a little greener. Little things like Energy Star appliances, for example, help save energy but they also help save money on energy bills. If you’re interested in learning more about living a little greener and you’re in the Peterborough area, check out The 8th Annual Green Expo this Saturday April 30th.

The Green Expo at the Evinrude Centre showcases green products, services and technology from local businesses and it’s also got some pretty cool guest speakers lined up, like CBC’s Bob McDonald. This year’s Green Expo is expected to be the biggest and the best one to date, with extended hours, new exhibitors, new sponsors and activities for all ages all day long. For only $7 per person, you can gain a lot of new knowledge from workshops and guest speakers scheduled for the event.

The best thing about the Green Expo is that, unlike other trade shows, all the proceeds including exhibitors’ fee and sponsorship money will go towards the local community and Peterborough Green-Up, a local not-for-profit environmental organization.

I bet there’s a new thing or two we could all learn at the Expo that could make our lives greener and probably save us a little money along the way!

If you or someone you know would like to lend a hand at the event, you can also volunteer for the event by signing up here.

Tech It Up in Green!


Computers have become a part of our everyday life. We use them every day, at work and at home to catch up on current events, share ideas and connect with others.  Since they’re a big part of our lives and they consume energy, here are some tips to green your computer:

  1. Purchase a Mini Power Minder to kill standby power (also called vampire power), energy consumed by electricity when switched off. The Mini Power Minder will cut off all energy from the computer when it senses that the computer is off.
  2. Upgrade all your computer hardware (and possibly any other electronics in your house) to Energy Star qualified products. Read the labels and find out more information when you’re purchasing a new computer.  Keep in mind that LCD monitors typically use less than half the energy that traditional cubical screens (CRTs) do.
  3. Be sure to change the settings on your computer to conserve as much energy as possible.  Most computers nowadays come with an “Energy Saver” profile, which helps you save energy while using them. Also, dimming the brightness of your monitor will help reduce energy consumption.

Please consider these ideas when you’re using or thinking about purchasing a computer. Do your part and help make our world greener! Your energy bills will thank you too.

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