Energy efficiency news
Tip of the week
Stop letting your hard-earned money sneak out the window! Increase your home’s #EnergyEfficiency and save money on your energy bill with ENERGY STAR certified windows.
Students! Teach your parents how to save energy
April 1, 2019
Earth Day is coming up, and we need your passion to keep the Earth healthy. We know you’re super educated on how to save energy and other ways to protect our planet, but your parents might not know as much as you do. This Earth Day, celebrate by teaching your parents about how to save energy at home. Use these tips to help your parents be a “STAR” for the environment, just like you.
- Teach your parents about lumens. When your parents learned about light bulbs, in the olden days, they learned about something called “watts”. Watts measure how much energy a light bulb needs to work, but when there was only one type of light technology, it was also used to understand a bulb’s brightness. Today, lumens tell us how bright a light bulb is, and efficient light bulbs come with different amounts of them. The bigger the number of lumens, the brighter the light will be. (You can share with them our “Lighting Made Easy” infographic for a breakdown!)
- Teach your parents about LED light bulbs. A long time ago, most light bulbs were either called “halogen” or “incandescent.” The name of newer light bulbs is much easier to remember: most of them are called LEDs. Say it with us: ell-ee-dees! Ell-ee-dees! LED bulbs use way less energy than other light bulbs. In fact, the best ENERGY STAR certified LEDs can last at least 15 times longer than an incandescent bulb. Ask your parents if you have LED light bulbs. If you don’t, tell your parents to change to ENERGY STAR certified ones to brighten our planet’s future. (While you’re at it, help them save a few bucks by looking for rebates on them in your area)
- Unplug cords. When your parents aren’t using their chargers or the coffee machine, do they stay plugged into the wall? Many families leave cords plugged in when they’re not using them; and that uses a lot of extra energy that’s just going to waste. (The sciency term for it is “standby power”). Take your parents on a tour around your house and show them different things that could be unplugged like the guest room TV or bedside lamp. Bonus points if you get them to use a power cord with an off switch to turn “unplug” them all at once!
- Remind your parents to turn off the lights and space heaters. Most parents know to turn off the lights when you leave a room, but it’s still a good idea to remind them once in a while. For rooms with baseboard or plug in heaters, air cleaners or air conditioners, leaving them running in a room when you’re not there can use a lot of extra energy. So, help protect the earth with the flick of a switch! Simple, right?
- Ask your parents to use the microwave. Your parents might use your stove or oven to reheat foods, but the microwave actually uses less energy. In the summer, it also keeps the house from heating up, which helps you use less energy for air conditioning. Tell your parents this and see if they can microwave your leftovers instead of using all of that energy from your oven!
Now go be an energy “STAR” and spread the word to help save the planet!
How to recognize energy scams
March 22, 2019
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Not ENERGY STAR Canada, that’s for sure. In fact, if someone is at your door without your invitation, and wants to talk to you about thermostats, water heaters, furnaces, or even replacement windows, it’s not your utility or any other government representative either. Most likely, the person at the door is a scammer, and unfortunately, they’ll say anything to get your money.
Sneaky sales scams can happen to anyone and are often quite believable. And once they happen and your money is gone, Natural Resources Canada has no power to help you get it back. That’s why it’s important to know the warning signs so you can protect yourself. Use these tips to make sure you stay safe and scam-free.
- Don’t let anyone enter your home unless you’re expecting them. One of the most common scams happens when a salesperson knocks at your door. This person will usually say they are visiting from a utility company, ENERGY STAR Canada, or even the Government of Canada. The salesperson may demand to inspect your water heater, furnace, windows, or another part of your home, and if you refuse to let them do an inspection, they may make up another reason to enter. Don’t fall for it!
- Never sign anything. If someone does visit your home, they may offer you an energy rebate, a free product, or say they can lower your energy bills if you sign on the dotted line. Don’t do it! It’s not uncommon for these contracts to say one thing on the page you sign, but the carbon copies underneath have different text. So, the copy you get says one thing, but you’ve actually signed something completely different. This can mean you end up owing a large amount of money, and there’s not much you can do about it. In some cases, this has led to liens being placed on people’s homes.
- Do your research and double-check everything. If someone does offer you a rebate, go online to research it or call your local utility company to investigate before accepting it. Some deceptive websites claim to offer rebates from the Government of Canada, but the Government of Canada does not offer energy rebates. If a salesperson tells you the rebate is a one-time offer, it’s probably not real. Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Know your weaknesses. Scammers will target you based on things like where you live or your age. For example, a door-to-door salesperson might claim to offer services like cheaper water softeners in rural areas, where that might be needed. Or in Canada’s north, they might focus on heating products. Know what kinds of things make you vulnerable and be on the lookout for people targeting you because of that.
- Don’t give out personal information, online or in person. Never give out your banking or credit card information unless you are absolutely sure of who you are paying. The same goes for your personal information like your Social Insurance Number, date of birth, and other sensitive information. If someone demands you provide that information, offer to take their business card and follow up with them once you’ve looked into who they are.
- Look after each other. Seniors and new Canadians are especially vulnerable to scams. Help educate the people in your life about energy scams to protect them from being taken advantage of.
- Report suspected scams. If you ever think you have been the target of a scam, report it. If scammers come to your home and claim to represent ENERGY STAR, don’t forget to tell Natural Resources Canada. If you have fallen victim to a scam, be sure to contact your local police and report the incident to the provincial, territorial, or federal consumer protection agency.
- Don’t be ashamed. If you do fall victim to a scam, don’t be embarrassed. Scammers are very clever, and people from all walks of life fall victim to scams. The more Canadians talk about deceptive sales tactics, the more we can help each other stay safe.
Broke the bank during the holidays? Save money with these tips!
January 3, 2019
Have you ever woken up in early January, opened your wallet or banking app, and felt your heart stop? No matter how much we budget, the holiday season seems to have a way of draining our bank accounts. To recover from the holiday extravagance and save some money this winter, check out our top five low-cost, energy-saving tips.
- Reduce phantom power. When was the last time you unplugged your phone charger? How about your coffee machine? When you leave appliances and cords plugged in while you’re not using them, they draw something called standby or “phantom” power, meaning you end up paying for energy you don’t use. Phantom power can account for up to 10% of your electricity bill, so get in the habit of unplugging devices when you’re not using them.
- Fill your dishwasher. Whether you wash one plate or pack your dishwasher full, it uses the same amount of water and energy. To save the most energy possible, make sure you’re running full loads in the dishwasher. As a bonus, washing a full load of dishes in the dishwasher can save more energy than washing dishes by hand.
- Use your microwave. Your microwave uses less energy than your oven or stove and is the fastest way to cook. So, break out the frozen veggies and give yourself permission to be a little lazy this winter!
- Lower your thermostat. No, we haven’t lost our minds. Even in the winter, lowering your thermostat a few degrees can make a big difference in your energy bills. You can save about 2% off your energy bill for every 1 degree Celsius you turn down your thermostat. But, for every degree your thermostat is set at above 20 degrees Celsius, your energy bill can go up by as much as 5%. To help stay warm, make sure you close your curtains at night to keep the heat in.
- Install weatherstripping. Make sure the heat you’re paying for isn’t escaping through weak seals around your home’s windows and doors. Put your hand a few centimetres away from the edges and see if you can feel a draft. If you can feel cold air, you can probably benefit from installing weatherstripping, window film, or caulking. These are relatively inexpensive fixes, and our Keeping the Heat In publication can help guide you through the process.
The best gifts do great things
December 19, 2018
These days, what’s trendy can change so quickly that it can be hard to decide what to give family and friends at the holidays. Luckily, savings are always in style. With our green holiday gift guide, you can give a gift that truly keeps on giving!
For more ideas on what to buy your loved ones this holiday season, check out our #12DaysOfENERGYSTAR on Twitter and Facebook. We are featuring an energy-efficient product a day for 12 days. Happy Savings!
You’ve probably never thought of giving someone a lightbulb, but an ENERGY STAR certified lightbulb is actually the perfect practical gift, or even the perfect stocking stuffer. Everyone has lights in their home, and you can get creative and give coloured bulbs or a vintage-looking Edison bulb. ENERGY STAR certified LEDs use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and last –at least 15 times longer. The people on your list will be thanking you for years, literally.
Digital media players
There’s no way around it: it’s cold out. Winter is the best excuse to cozy up inside your home and binge watch your favourite movies or tv series. You can give the gift of guilt-free comfort this holiday season with an ENERGY STAR certified digital media player. These handy little boxes stream video from online services, and they use 11 times less energy than a computer. Your friends and family will thank you for helping them stream smarter knowing they aren’t racking up their energy bills this winter.
Speaking of streaming smarter, a tablet is another great gift idea. An ENERGY STAR certified tablet use 10 times less power to stream video than gaming consoles, making them a great way for your family to keep enjoying their favourite content online without having to worry about rising energy costs.
There’s nothing worse than being too cold and turning up the thermostat, and then being too hot and turning it down.When you give an ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostat, you’re giving the gift of setting it and forgetting it. Your family and friends will thank you for seasons to come!
Whether you’re buying a set of speakers, laptop, television, or a new appliance, give the gift of continued energy savings by buying ENERGY STAR certified products. Look for the little blue star when you’re out shopping,your loved ones will thank you over and over again. And remember: the best gifts do great things.
12 Days of ENERGY STAR
December 14, 2018
The #12DaysofENERGY STAR are here! Not sure what to gift your loved ones this holiday season? Check out our #12DaysOfENERGYSTAR campaign on Twitter and Facebook for gift ideas that will help your family save energy and money for years to come. Not only will you pick up some great gift ideas, but you can have the chance to win an ENERGY STAR certified prize pack from one of our ENERGY STAR Canada participants. All you have to do is share our tweets and Facebook posts that have the #12DaysOfENERGYSTAR hashtag in them and you’re automatically entered to win one of our daily giveaways. It’s that easy! What are you waiting for? Share away!
Get the most out of Black Friday deals
November 16, 2018
If you’re like many Canadians, on Black Friday and Cyber Monday you might be hoping to save big on a major purchase like a new tablet or washing machine. But before you rush out and buy the cheapest item, check out ENERGY STAR’s green shopping tips to help you keep saving money long after the one-day deals have disappeared!
Tip 1: Know your options and look for the little blue star
Did you know that ENERGY STAR certifies all kinds of products, including common electronics? Look for the little blue star on televisions, cordless phones, speakers, tablets, sound bars, printers, laptops, and many more. The ENERGY STAR logo means we’ve done the work for you and can guarantee that those products are efficient, saving you money on your energy bills. More money for holiday shopping!
Tip 2: Do your research
Before you shop, check your local flyers to see what electronics will be on sale. Are you deciding between two different printers? Check our product finder to see if they’re ENERGY STAR certified. It’s a great tool to help you narrow down your options and make the best choice for the planet and your wallet, because when you buy an ENERGY STAR certified product, the savings keep coming.
Tip 3: Do the math
What if there aren’t any ENERGY STAR certified televisions on sale? It might seem like it’s the best choice to buy the one that is on sale, but you might actually save more money in the long run by buying an item that is regular price, but ENERGY STAR certified. That’s because ENERGY STAR certified products use less energy than standard ones, shaving money off your energy bills every month. So before you buy something on sale, do the math to see which option will add up to the greatest savings.
Tip 4: Save even more with ENERGY STAR Most Efficient
If you’re looking to make an even bigger purchase and buy something like a dishwasher or new laundry machine, be sure to check out ENERGY STAR’s list of 2018’s Most Efficient products. A Black Friday deal on something from that list will give you the maximum energy savings possible, just like the name says.
Now grab your wallet and we’ll see you in line… the one that’s snaking around the block… we hope you brought snacks!
Light The Moment
October 29, 2018
To celebrate ENERGY STAR Day, Canadians joined in to light the moment. ENERGY STAR Canada’s new “Light the Moment” video stars Canadians who submitted their best “lit moment” featuring ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs that help them save money, save energy, and help protect the planet– and, they can light up any special moment in your life! Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4c1GIITrMU
Be a ghostbuster! Here’s how to get rid of phantom power
October 29, 2018
What is phantom power?
When you turn off your TV, you probably think it’s not using energy anymore, right? Wrong! We leave all kinds of things plugged in around our homes that actually use power even when they’re turned off. The energy they use is called phantom power, standby power, or vampire energy, and it can be costly: phantom power can account for up to 10% of your electricity bill.
Unplug, unplug, unplug!
The simplest thing you can do to reduce phantom power is unplug anything you’re not using. This includes unplugging your phone or laptop charger when your device isn’t charging, not simply unhooking the device. Leaving cords plugged in when they’re not connected to anything is a common way phantom power use adds up.
Get smart with a power bar
Another great way to reduce phantom power is to plug devices into a power bar. When you’re not using them, simply switch off the power bar and they won’t use any more energy. You can also buy power bars with timers so you can set it to turn off when you know you won’t be using those devices. There are even “smart power” bars that automatically cut the power to secondary devices, like your DVD player, when the main device, like your TV, is turned off.
Look for the little blue star
When you’re shopping for anything from a tablet to a new refrigerator, make sure you’re buying ENERGY STAR® certified products. That little blue star means not only do those products use less energy when they’re on, but they also use less phantom power than products that aren’t certified by ENERGY STAR.
Knowledge is power
Knowing where you’re using the most energy is key to reducing phantom power and your overall energy use. Many public libraries loan Kill-A-Watt meters, handy little devices that can tell you how much energy is used by anything that plugs in.
There are a lot of electronics that we leave plugged in but don’t use very often.
Ask yourself if you need to keep these things plugged in all the time:
- Coffee maker
- Electric toothbrush
- Gaming systems
- DVD player
- Cellphone charger
What else can you think of?
Start right now! Challenge yourself every day to unplug one device you’re not using and make the only ghosts in your life the little ones dressed up on the street!
Light up your life with LEDs
October 12, 2018
Now that cold weather is upon us and the days are shorter, the lights inside and outside your home are probably getting a good workout. Changing your light bulbs to ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs can help you keep energy costs low and your home bright and cozy.
What exactly are L-E-Dees?
LEDs are super efficient light bulbs. They’re up to 90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, and they last a whole lot longer. One LED bulb can run inside your home for about 25,000 hours – that’s almost three years if you left the light on all day, every day. In fact, one LED can do the job of 25 incandescent bulbs. So not only will you save money on your energy bill, but you can kiss constantly buying replacement bulbs goodbye.
There’s an LED for that…and that…
There are ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs for pretty much every moment in your life. Besides a basic bulb for your table lamp, there are shapes to fit pendant fixtures, under the counter lights, ceiling fixtures and more. Looking for vintage Edison bulbs? Outside patio strings? Do you want a dimmable “smart” bulb? There are LED options for all of those and more.
You can choose from different shades of white light, from a soft, warm glow for those comfy moments, to a crisper light for things like reading. Check the colour guide on the bulb’s package to buy the perfect LED for each room in your home. The lower the K (Kelvin) number, the warmer the bulb, and the higher K, the whiter. There are also coloured lights too of course, for all your holiday needs. Refer to the Lighting Made Easy infographic for more information.
When you’re shopping for LEDs, you’ll notice the ‘lumens’ rating on the package. What’s a lumen you ask? Great question! Lumens tell you the brightness of the bulb. Many of us are used to associating the number of watts with how bright the light is, but wattage actually tells us how much energy the bulb uses. The higher the number of lumens, the brighter your light will be. An 800-lumen LED is roughly as bright as a 60-watt incandescent bulb.
Why ENERGY STAR?
Not all LEDs are created equal. Buying ENERGY STAR certified LEDs means you can be sure you’re saving the most energy possible and getting quality colour. (Poorly designed LEDs can wear out in a shorter amount of time)
Switching to LEDs is a low-cost way to save on your energy bills and not have to worry about changing light bulbs all the time. Now go forth, lumens expert, and upgrade your bulbs!
Light the moment
September 10, 2018
Take a picture or video of a “lit” moment and you could be featured in our Light The Moment video launching on ENERGY STAR Day! You will also have the chance to win a swag bag including an ENERGY STAR certified LED bulb from L’Image Home Products. Tag your picture on Twitter @ENERGYSTAR_CAN or Facebook @ENERGYSTARCanada. By sharing your picture, you are giving Natural Resources Canada permission to use your content. Submissions will be open until end of September.
Five tips to fight allergy season
August 23, 2018
For millions of Canadians, allergy season is in full swing. While there might not be much you can do to control the pollen outside, we’ve got some tips to help you beat allergy season inside your home.
- Keep cool inside and stop the sniffles. Your room air conditioner can do a lot more than keep you cool. When your A/C filters the air in your home, it helps pull out dust and pet hair that could be causing your allergies. And with an ENERGY STAR certified high-efficiency air conditioner, you don’t have to worry about your utility bill going through the roof.
- Change or clean your filters. If you’ve been running your room air conditioner a lot this summer and you’re still suffering from allergies, you may need to change the unit’s filter. Clean or replace the filter once a month so that it’s not clogged up with allergens and can still work effectively. That can also reduce the amount of energy your A/C uses by 5-15%. If you have an HRV, the filter needs to be cleaned every 1-3 months. Worth it if it means fewer sneeze attacks!
- Wash everything. Did you know you could be wearing the source of your allergies? Dust, pet hair, and even pollen can build up in any fabric in your home, including your clothes. To eliminate these allergens, wash all fabric items using the hottest setting on your machine. When using hot water, make sure to only use as much water as you need to get the job done. Add even more to your savings with an ENERGY STAR certified laundry combo.
- Use an air purifier. If you need some extra relief, try using an air purifier to filter airborne irritants out of your home. It eliminates bad odours, too. Look for the blue ENERGY STAR symbol to use, on average, 40% less energy than a standard model.
- Upgrade your windows and doors. If you’re a non-stop allergy sufferer looking for a longer-term solution, it may be time to replace your windows and doors with ENERGY STAR certified ones. An older frame with holes and weather seals with leaks could be the source of allergens in your home. ENERGY STAR certified windows and doors are as much as 40% more efficient than standard products, so upgrading is a win-win: keep the sniffle-causing stuff out and your bills low!
Good luck, allergy sufferers! We’ll see you on the other side of this sniffly season. *Achoo!*
August 13, 2018
The Government of Canada does not provide rebates
The Government of Canada does not provide rebates or incentives for energy products. If you see a website purporting to represent the Government of Canada and promising rebates, please contact the appropriate provincial or federal consumer protection authorities. Please let us know if they claim to represent ENERGY STAR Canada. Natural Resources Canada does have a searchable database to locate regional energy product rebates across the country.
How to keep cool in a heatwave
July 16, 2018
Rising temperatures shouldn’t mean rising bills too. Stay cool during a heatwave while keeping your energy bills low with these tips:
- Use an ENERGY STAR® certified smart thermostat. These handy devices learn what temperatures you like best and adjust them when you’re asleep or away to save energy. You can also change the temperature when you’re not home using your phone. (Hello smart thermostat - make my house feel like a popsicle, thanks.
- Install an ENERGY STAR certified room air conditioner – they use less energy than a standard model to save you money. And bigger is not always better, buying an air conditioner that is too large does not bring cooler air, and it wastes energy too. Check out these tips on how to properly install your new room A/C, because you don’t want to end up with a piece of cardboard in your window.
- Be a fan of fans! Buy an ENERGY STAR certified ceiling fan, which uses 40% less energy than a standard model. They move more air and use less power, and you can run them in a counterclockwise direction, which pushes the cool air down creating a ‘wind chill’ effect. Who doesn’t want a wind chill in their living room during a heatwave?
- A/C – ceiling fan combo: use your ENERGY STAR certified ceiling fan at the same time as your A/C. This will let you set your thermostat two degrees higher, which can cut your air conditioning costs by 14 percent! Teamwork!
- Replace old, hot incandescent light bulbs with much cooler ENERGY STAR certified LEDs. They also last way longer and cost less to use. Cool.
Things you can do right now!
- Use your BBQ so you don’t have to turn on the oven!
- Clean the filters in your A/C so that your HVAC system is not using extra energy to cool down your house.
- Keep blinds, curtains & shades in your home closed during the day to avoid overworking your A/C.
If you have any specific cooling questions, drop us a line! firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to the winner’s of the 2018 ENERGY STAR Canada Participant Awards!
June 5, 2018
The seventeen winners are program participants from across Canada representing utilities, manufacturers, retailers, associations, and homebuilders. A big thank you not only to the winners and the applicants, but to all of our 1,500+ participants who work on a daily basis to help Canadians save energy, save money and save our environment.
Savings splash: ENERGY STAR pool pump
An ENERGY STAR certified pool pump uses 70% less energy than a standard model. We have a new infographic to show you how to save money, energy and protect the planet while cooling off this summer.
Be aware of deceptive sales tactics that claim to have Natural Resources Canada backing. See more details.
ENERGY STAR for Products—Participant News
The ENERGY STAR name and symbol are trademarks registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and are administered and promoted by Natural Resources Canada.