Create a culture of conversation in yourself and your family.
Be conscious of your environmental footprint and how you can improve, such as promoting litter-less lunches for school and work.
Change to Compact Fluorescent or LED lighting.
Unplug unnecessary appliances right from the wall or put them on power bars or timers, turning them off when not in use.
Before purchasing any new appliance, compare the energy use of each model you are considering, and confirm that it is ENERGY STAR® qualified at oee.nrcan.gc.ca/residential/7901.
Use reusable water containers and eliminate the use of disposable water bottles.
Compost your own food waste (non-meat) during the warm months. Backyard composters are available from your municipality.
Install a programmable thermostat to maintain your air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter.
Learn how your family can adapt to Time of Use electricity rates and take advantage of off-peak periods - use the interactive tool, 10 Smart Meter Lane, at www.ieso.ca/imoweb/siteshared/smart_meters.asp to learn how shifting your electricity use makes sense. Getting into a routine and a regular schedule for certain tasks helps to reduce ad-hoc electricity use such as wasteful laundry and dish washing cycles, making you more efficient becuase you will be doing full loads in your machines. Using electricity in off-peak periods saves you money and it also reduces our province's requirement to use fossil fuelled on-peak generation rather than zero emission off-peak generation, and therefore helps our environment.
Visit your electric utility website to learn more about their conservation programs and incentives - https://saveonenergy.ca.
The average Canadian family spends at least $9000 a year per car, and about 13% of Canada's carbon dioxide emissions are due to cars and light trucks on our roads. The average car emits one tonne of carbon dioxide every 5,000 kilometres and for those of us who drive, about half our personal greenhouse gas emissions come from driving. The good news is that there are many ways to reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, through driving habits, vehicle maintenance, choosing a fuel-efficient vehicle and considering alternatives to driving.
Pack a reusable mug and cutlery to reduce the use of disposable cups and cutlery when you're away from home. Consider packing a picnic basket when going on long trips, rather than stopping at a fast food outlet.
Fill watering cans for plants while waiting for shower/bath water to warm up.
Sustainability is an individual action. Accept that you have control over your life and the world you live in. Recognize that you can make a difference and that you can shift away from the status quo.
Think about the items that you use every day ... consider where they come from and where they go when you are finished with them. Awareness is the first step towards a sustainable lifestyle.