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Despite our best intentions, we can’t all live in homes that run strictly on solar power and recycled rain water. Think of the costs and logistics. That doesn’t mean that we can’t still go green with our homes in order to save the environment and a few cents along the way.
There are three major leaders in green home production and monitoring in Canada: Energy Star, GreenHouse, and LEED Canada from homes. With their standards, we can take away some tips that help make day-to-day living at home that much more environmentally friendly.
1. Upgrade your furnace — today’s high-efficiency furnaces typically have heat recovery ventilators and include both heating and air-conditioning. This is part of the Energy Star program, and when coupled with other green standards, can save up to 40 percent on energy costs and energy wasted.
2. Replace windows and insulation — high-performance windows are popular on the market, and can alone cut energy usage by 10 percent. Improved insulation of a higher grade helps to prevent loss of air produced by the heat and cooling system of any home.
3. Consider natural resource management when building a new home — newer homes, like those being produced by GreenHouse, are using less wood. A focus is on incorporating recycled and demolition materials.
4. Go low flow – low-flow toilets and shower heads can reduce water waste by 25 percent.
5. Talk to your builder about waste – even if you’re not building a “green” classified home; you can talk to your builder about what they do with unused materials. If it's not to be used again, why not collect it and find a local program looking for recycled building materials, to save such materials from being sent to the landfill.