When I was in elementary school, Earth Day/Earth Hour was a much bigger deal. We would be asked to make posters depicting the importance of recycling. There would be an assembly with a presentation about how to save our planet, and we would all volunteer during recess to pick up the garbage lying in our parks. As I grew up, less emphasis was placed on these small activities and soon, it wouldn’t matter.

Millions of people turned off their lights on Saturday between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Politicians and celebrities tweeted out photos of support, showing how they were spending that fateful one hour without electricity.

But, what happens the other 364 days a year? One hour isn’t going to make that much of a difference, but there are a few things everyone can do on a daily basis to save energy. Here are five easy energy saving habits to get into:


Turn off lights

You don’t have to turn off all your lights all the time, but if you leave a room for more than two minutes, flip that switch. Too often electricity is wasted because someone accidentally leaves a light on overnight. If only one room in a household had its lights on at a time, imagine how much energy could be saved.

Hang dry laundry

The average dryer uses 3.3 kilowatts hours of energy per load. Instead of putting all your clothing in the dryer after a wash, why not hang them up on a line either in your basement or in your backyard? Trust me, the smell of freshly hung clothing beats any sort of fabric softener you may use.

Unplug and shut down electronics

When your phone or laptop is charged, turn it off and unplug the device. This will ensure your device remains at 100 per cent battery without continuing to suck up electricity from your home.

Set your air conditioning/heat

Canada is not a weather-friendly country. It gets cold, and then it gets really hot. Most thermostats are programmable, which means that you can set them so that your heat goes up only during the hours someone is home, for example in the morning and in the evening. Air conditioning and heaters are energy suckers, and turning them off when you are sleeping or when no one is home will help save on your hydro bill.

Use better light bulbs

Energy-efficient light bulbs can last up to three times longer than regular light bulbs and can use up about 25 per cent less energy. They may be a bit more expensive than regular light bulbs, but the trade-off is well worth it. An easy way to save energy is to put Light Emitting Diodes (LED) or Compact Florescent Lights (CFL) into all of your lamps and light fixtures.

Not only will these tips help reduce pollution, as well as the need to produce more energy products like coal, oil, or natural gas, but it will also save you money.

Do you have any other energy-saving tips? Share them in the comments below!


Katherine DeClerq is a contributor to Women's Post. Her previous writing experience includes the Toronto Star, Maclean's Magazine, CTVNews, and BlogTO. She can often be found at a coffee shop with her MacBook computer. Despite what CP says, she is a fan of the Oxford comma.

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