Canadian households contribute almost half of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. Surprised by these toxic levels? The good news is there are ways to make changes and go green around the house - and do it in an affordable way.

Tip 1: Be Efficient

Before you ponder a source of green energy, make sure your home is as efficient as possible. Consider getting a home energy audit to see where you have heat loss. In general, most people can put in more insulation and seal up windows and doors. You can also buy new doors and windows and an insulated garage door. As well, purchasing Energy Star appliances is a great way to reduce energy usage in your home. More efficient fridges and dishwashers can save you a lot every year. Maintaining your furnace and, if you are replacing it, opting for a high-efficiency model is a smart idea.

Tip 2: Try Solar

Installing solar panels on your roof to offset your home heating costs or heat your water might be a good idea if you have a large roof that gets a lot of sun - though it is a bit of an investment. While there are hefty costs for the panels and installation, those living in remote areas with expensive power, or in provinces that allow unused energy back into the power grid, will see a payoff over time. Solar water heater systems are a more affordable option (there are even do-it-yourself versions). In the summer, you may be able to heat all your water with a home system and over the course of the year, your water heater costs should go down by 70%.

Tip 3: Get a Green Service

Some energy companies offer green energy to your home and you don’t have to install anything. You simply sign up with a company such as Bullfrog or Just Energy and you get as much green energy available from the power grid pumped into your home (often you can choose to have green gas or electricity or both). You will be billed an extra fee, as green energy costs more than conventional energy — at least right now. Over time, those who have installed green energy solutions or subscribe to green energy programs might find themselves on the cheaper end of the curve. Costs for things like solar and wind energy products are going down and our conventional sources of energy are being depleted. An investment now just might pay off in the future -- finally but certainly ethically.          

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