Perhaps you're a person that's looking to decrease your environmental footprint. Or, like many others, you're looking for ways to save on your gas and energy bills as a way to trim dollars from your overall budget.
Tracy Sterdan is Communications and Customer Experience Manager at Efficiency Manitoba, a new organization dedicated to energy efficiency in the province. It launched two years ago, in place of Manitoba Power Smart.
Sterdan says there are a lot of ways to reduce your energy consumption around your home and business. She says a lot of people will come to them wanting to save energy, but don't know where to start. Sterdan says Efficiency Manitoba offers a helpful tool on its website called the 'virtual energy review.' The quick and easy resource generates a report about your home's energy use, and will then provide you with recommendations for energy-saving opportunities around your home.
In addition to some larger projects that qualify for rebates, Sterdan says there are some everyday habits that can save you money on your energy and gas bill as well, like simply using your appliances efficiently.
"So when we talk about your laundry area, washing your clothes in cold water is a really good way to save energy, when it comes to heating that hot water. As well as hanging your clothes to dry, it's summer, the air is fresh... Other things to do around the home, always just make sure that you are unplugging. Even the small appliances that are not in use can draw a little bit of power. We call that standby power or phantom power."
Overall, Sterdan says getting in the habit of unplugging small appliances, devices, and electronics are all very good habits to save a little bit of energy.
With the long wait for summer weather, you may not want to be thinking ahead to next winter. However, Sterdan says now is actually a very good time to tackle some of your energy efficiency projects. "Specifically, from last winter, I think we all really felt it on our energy bills. So, taking a look at improving your home and getting ready for next winter, it's a really good time.
One of the best ways you can save both energy and money is by sealing up and weather-stripping your home. "Your home may have some leaky areas without you even knowing. The warm air escapes in the winter but also the cool air in the summer. So, we want to seal up all those leaky places, not only for the summer but get ready for the winter as well."
The Energy Efficiency Assistance Program is another program Sterdan highlighted. Sterdan explained it's an income-based offer for homeowners, renters, and landlords. Through the program, experts will be on hand to help you make free or subsidized energy efficiency improvements to your home.
"Basically, we come out, we do a free home energy check-up, we provide you with some energy-saving items... if your home is eligible, we actually provide the insulation upgrades for free."
If you're running an old standard efficiency natural gas furnace, Sterdan says they also offer a replacement program. "We can help you with the cost of upgrading that standard-efficiency furnace to a high-efficiency furnace one for a low monthly payment." The payment works out to $9.50 a month for five years. If you're upgrading from a mid-efficiency to a high-efficiency, Sterdan says they can help with a monthly payment of $25 over five years.
Sterdan says Efficiency Manitoba is a one-stop shop for energy efficiency in the province.