We know that some of you aren’t living in an energy-efficient laneway house yet – so if you’re still in a regular house or apartment, we wanted to list our favourite ways for saving energy for the rest of this winter.
Image from fotographic1980
1) CFL or LED light bulbs
As you know, we’re fans of LED lights, and we’re pretty big on CFL (compact fluorescent lights) bulbs as well. They are up to 80% more energy efficient than the old incandescent bulb which also means that they last much longer – CFLs will brighten your home for 10 years and LEDs, 20 to 25 years.
2) Single pane window replacement
Is the heat in your house getting sucked out of your single pane windows? Glass is a great heat conductor and it goes without saying that all of our laneway house windows (as with almost all new construction) are double-paned. With two sheets of glass and a layer of inert gas in between, double-paned windows are much more energy-efficient for your home. In an average house with 10 windows, replacing all your old windows will cost approximately $5500.
3) Window film
If ripping out your windows is too Mike Holmes for you, try sealing your drafty windows with plastic film instead. Get a window film kit from your local hardware store – the kit will combine double-side tape and heat-shrink film. Stick up the plastic film as if you were Saran-wrapping your window, blowdry it tight and you’ll have an excellent seal with high visibility.
Image from sierraclub.typepad.com
4) Low-flow showerheads
Those long hot showers can account for up to 15% of a home’s energy costs. Using a low- flow showerhead, you can cut down on water use as well as the electricity or gas heating it. This simple installation usually reduces water use by half without affecting the way your shower feels. Or compromising on your hygiene.
5) Solar thermal hot water system
Another way to save on your hot showers is to install solar panels on your roof and create a solar thermal hot water system. Some of our laneway houses are already designed for solar panel options on the roof. These type of solar panels use sunlight to produce heat energy and hot water (rather than electricity) for storage. Surprisingly, even rainy, cloudy Vancouver has enough sunlight hours to produce sufficient hot water for a household. Costing an average of $7200, experts estimate that a solar thermal system pays for itself after 4-6 years.
Which energy-saving tip do you plan to use?