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Winter energy tips to help you save money (and the environment)

Natural Resources Canada has put together a handy list of ways Canadians can save money and reduce the impact of their winter activities on the environment.
Save two per cent for every 1 C the thermostat is lowered. (Shutterstock)

Natural Resources Canada has put together a handy list of ways Canadians can save money and reduce the impact of their winter activities on the environment.

Here are a few tips to stay warm and conserve energy this winter.

1. Lower the thermostat

Save two per cent on your heating bill for every 1 C the thermostat is lowered. Turn down the heat when you're away or asleep.

Programmable thermostats allow you to set temperatures at pre-set times.

2. Decorate with LED lights

LED lights offer signficant savings over incandescent bulbs. (CBC)

Although they can be more expensive at the outset, light-emitting diode (LED) lights provide significant savings, paying for themselves in two holiday seasons or less.

The energy consumed by one seven-watt incandescent bulb could light 140 LED bulbs.

3. Cook carefully

To save energy, preheat your oven only when you bake: it isn't usually necessary when cooking. Turn off the oven a few minutes before your cooking or baking is done, as the heat remaining in the oven will finish the job.

Once a liquid is boiling, turn down the heat to the lowest setting that maintains rolling bubbles.

Keep oven door seals clean and tight.

Use cookware with smooth, flat bottoms to allow full contact with the element and decrease cooking time.

Read kitchen appliance manuals to get the energy lowdown on specific models.

Once water or other liquids begin to bubble, turn down the heat to the lowest temperature that will maintain a boil. (CBC)

4. Electronic intelligence

Change your television's brightness to home mode rather than retail-display mode. It uses 25 per cent less energy.

Unplug electronics — they use power even when they're turned off.

Turn off electronics and chargers that aren't in use. A single power bar can make it easier to turn many devices off at once.

Unplug chargers when they're not in use. (Shutterstock)

5. Do laundry sensibly

Buy energy-efficient washers and dryers.

Wash with cold water whenever you can. If that's not possible, wash in warm and rinse in cold to use about half the energy required when doing a hot-water wash.

Pre-soak extra-dirty items rather than washing them twice.

High-speed or extended spin settings can remove a lot of water from your laundry so it will take less time and energy to dry.

Use automatic moisture sensors on dryers to prevent over-drying.

Clean the dryer's lint trap before every load. Scrub the lint trap monthly with a toothbrush to remove a film that develops from dryer sheets and lint. This gunk can reduce airflow and overwork the motor.

Use the cool-down or perma-press setting.

Sort thin, fast-drying items into one load, and heavy items like towels into another. Adjust drying time as necessary.

Run back-to-back loads to take advantage of a warm dryer.

6. Don't idle

For most cars, 10 minutes of idling wastes 300 millilitres of fuel. Except on extremely cold days, most cars only need to idle for a couple of minutes.

Most cars don't need to idle more than a few minutes in winter. (CBC)

7. Look for the labels

Buy energy-efficient products. Typically, Energy Star products use 20 to 30 per cent less energy than their counterparts, while Energy Star Most Efficient identifies best in class appliances.

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