Tips for sustainable living at home
Becoming the world's greenest city will require the cooperation of everyone — from the highest levels of government to individual residents.
To get you started, here are some simple changes you can make in your home that will help make Vancouver, cleaner, greener, and healthier for all of us.
Improve the heating efficiency of your home
Heating your home consumes about half of your total household energy. By lowering your thermostat, draft proofing your home, and ensuring your furnace is working efficiently, you can save big, while reducing your footprint.
Learn more about efficient home heating:
- Shrink your heating bills with tips from BC Hydro
- Learn about energy efficient furnaces from the Government of Canada
- Read about energy efficient gas fireplaces
Reduce the amount of energy you use heating water
Between 80 and 90% of the energy used to wash your clothes is for heating the water. By switching to cold-water washing, you can save up to $52 a year in energy costs.
Learn more about reducing hot water use:
Limit the amount of material sent to the landfill
The Greenest City target for 2020 is to decrease the amount of waste going to the landfill or incinerator by 50%. You can help, by reducing what you throw away.
When shopping, be mindful of what will end up in the landfill. Choosing products with less packaging, buying higher-quality products (or second-hand products), and bringing reusable shopping bags with you can help reduce waste.
Learn more about reducing waste:
- Join the Red Dot campaign to reduce unwanted junk mail
- Find out how to recycle just about anything, with Metro Vancouver Recycles
- Learn about "Unplugged," the small appliance recycling program
- Opt out of receiving unaddressed admail delivered by Canada Post
- Sign up for an online mailbox with Canada Post
- Opt out of receiving the Yellow Pages
Reduce the energy consumed by home lighting
Lighting in your home takes up to 20% of your overall electricity use. Changing the way you locate and design lighting in your home, as well as the amount of lighting you use, will help reduce your energy.
Reduce your water consumption
By 2020, Vancouver will reduce per capita water consumption by 33% from 2006 levels. Help the City meet this target.
Make your appliances more energy and water efficient
You can reduce the amount of energy and water your standard appliances use by maintaining them properly, or by upgrading them to new, energy-efficient models.
Learn how to reduce energy use from appliances:
- Find power saving ENERGY STAR appliances
- Read the BC Hydro appliance guide
- Research products on Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency website
Shop local to reduce greenhouse gasses
You can reduce greenhouse gasses just through shopping locally. Locally produced products travel a significantly shorter distance to the consumer, reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gasses
When you choose local, organic food, you help reduce the use of environmentally-harmful pesticides. You can also choose to eat at restaurants that are part of the Green Table Network. This network of restaurants adheres to a set of high environmental standards.