47 WAYS TO GO GREEN IN GREATER VANCOUVER AND FRASER VALLEY AND SAVE MONEY!
Click on the highlighted words below to see green friendly ideas and links to savings.
LOCATION - Choosing Where You Live
1 Green neighbourhoods
Buy a home in a neighbourhood close to work, transit, shopping, community centres and other services.
2 Transit-oriented density (TOD)
New, compact, complete green neighbourhoods are being built with transit as their focus. Instead of owning a car, join a car share cooperative, take transit, cycle or walk.
3 Lower Cost Luxury
If it’s features such as a gym or pool you want, buy a strata unit with these amenities and share costs.
4 Score your location
Walkable neighbourhoods offer health, environmental, financial and community benefits. Enter your address or the address of a home you want to buy at www.walkscore.com. This tool calculates a walkability score based on the home’s proximity to transit, grocery stores, schools and other amenities.
HOME IMPROVEMENT - Heating and Cooling
5 You choose, You save
LiveSmartBC offers a variety of incentives and rebate programs.
6 Install a high-efficiency heating system
Make sure it’s ENERGY STAR rated.
7 Weatherize your home
From windows to doors to insulation and weather stripping. Don't forget to seal your ducts.
8 Insulate your pipes
It will prevent costly heat loss. Here's how.
9 Insulate your hot water heater
Buy a pre-cut jacket or blanket for $10-$20. You'll save up to 10% on heating costs. Learn more.
10 Install a programmable thermostat
Set it lower at night and during the day when you're away. Lower the temperature. Each degree below 20C saves you 3-5% on heating costs.
11 Clean your furnace filter
This optimizes performance.
12 Get the most from your fireplace
Here's how to make it efficient.
13 Use curtains
In the daytime during summer, close to help cool your home. Learn more.
14 Install ceiling fans
The energy it takes to run a fan is less than an air conditioner. In summer, make sure the fan's blades are rotating anti-clockwise for a cooling effect. In winter, the fan should be running clockwise, pushing the warm air down. Learn more.
15. Use an electric fan
Skip the air conditioning. On a hot summer day, place a bowl of ice in front of a fan to cool down.
16 Fix leaks. Fix leaking taps.
One drop per second equals 7,000 litres of water wasted per year. Learn more.
17 Install a filter
Stop buying costly bottled water which adds to the landfill.
18 Change your light bulbs
Lighting accounts for 15% of your energy bill. Replace old bulbs with ENERGY STAR rated bulbs. Check for rebates.
19 Motion detector lights
Turn lights off outside when not in use.
20 Keep it dark
Light pollution is an increasing problem. Turn off outdoor lights to save energy and encourage night life such as bats and frogs. A single bat can eat tens of thousands of mosquitoes nightly. If you have safety concerns, use motion detector lights – which come on, only as needed.
21 Holiday lights
Use LED lights.
22 Replace your fridge
An old energy guzzling fridge costs you about $85 a year to operate. Replace it with an ENERGY STAR fridge. BC Hydro will rebate you $50. BC Hydro will also not only come and pick up your old fridge free of charge, they will give you $30.
23 Replace your freezer
Buy an ENERGY STAR appliance and BC Hydro will rebate you $25.
24 Low flow shower
Hot water accounts for 25% of your energy costs. Showers can be the largest single contributor to overall hot water use in a home, accounting for 15% of total household energy use. Save with a low-flow showerhead.
25 High efficiency or dual flush (you choose the amount of water used) toilets
These are now required in new homes because of water savings.
26 Use smart strips
Also known as power bars, this lets you power off all equipment at the same time.
27 Buy energy smart electronics
Buy energy smart electronics and save.
28 Recycle your old electronics
29 Conserve water
Fresh water comprises just 3% the world’s total water supply, so conserve. Get a rain barrel and harvest water you can use in your garden. Local governments such as Vancouver and Richmond will subsidize the cost.
30 Drip irrigation
It saves water compared to sprinklers.
31 Elbow grease
Don’t power wash your driveway. Sweep it or use a scrub brush and pail.
32 Less lawn
Lawns waste water. Instead conserve and beautify using indigenous plants such as ferns, tiger lilies and hostas.
33 Grow your own
How much more will you spend on food this year? Even a few miniature fruit trees and a small vegetable garden in a raised bed or in containers will help keep you healthy and save you dollars. Lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries and blueberries thrive in our climate. Here’s how.
34 Preserve your produce
Invest in home canning jars and equipment and a small freezer and enjoy your produce year round – at considerable savings. Here’s how.
35 Bee friendly
We need bees to pollinate, so get a few plant beefriendly annuals such as asters, marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias; or perennials such as clematis, foxgloves, hollyhocks, roses or shrubs such as Buddleia.
36 Go chemical-free
Get rid of weeds using dish detergent or weed by hand instead of using chemicals that can harm you or pets.
37 Plant fruit trees
They’ll give you shade and fruit. Plum, apple, pear and more.
It will make your garden grow and divert waste from the landfill.
GREEN AND CLEAN
39 Clean green
Vinegar, baking soda and lemons clean as well as expensive, chemical-filled cleaning supplies for a fraction of the cost.
39 Green Laundry detergent
Use phosphate-free, biodegradable detergent.
40 Upgrade your washing machine
Replace your old washing machine with an ENERGY STAR washer that gets clothes clean using cold water and BC Hydro will rebate you $75. Wait until you have a full load instead of washing clothes as you need them. Clean your lint trap after every use.
41 Install a clothesline
Dryers use a huge amount of energy.
42 Get a rack
If your neighbourhood or strata prohibits clotheslines, buy a small drying rack.
Recycling keeps materials that can be recovered (paper, glass, metals, plastics, food etc) out of the landfills; and in the case of organics like paper, food, yard waste, it significantly reduces greenhouse gases from landfills.
44 Buy local
Buy local, organic and fair trade food. Your food doesn’t travel long distances, you support local farmers and the local economy and you consume less pesticides.
45 Don’t use paper or plastic
Use cloth bags when you shop or reuse your plastic bags.
46 Borrow green
Most financial institutions offer “green” mortgages, including:
• BMO Eco Smart Mortgage offers home buyers a 3.89% rate on qualifying green properties.
• RBC Energy Saver™ Mortgage gives home buyers $300 rebate for a home energy audit and a five-year 4.34% rate.
• Vancity offers a Bright Ideas home renovation loan at prime +1% to home buyers and owners making green renovations.
• CMHC offers a 10% Mortgage Loan Premium refund and possible extended amortization for buyers purchasing an energy-efficient mortgage or making energy saving renovations.
47 Loan Program
Pay-as-you-Save (PAYS) loan program will help home owners and businesses finance energy efficiency improvements through a loan from BC Hydro or FortisBC.