Green Your Home and Save Money!!!

50 Ways to Green Your Home and Save $$$ in Greater Vancouver 

LOCATION

1) Choosing Where You Live
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

5) Heating and Cooling

Get an energy audit LiveSmart BC will cover $150 of the cost.


6) Install a High-Efficiency Heating System
Make sure it’s ENERGY STAR rated. 

7) Weatherize your Home
From windows (BC Hydro provides grants of $60-$120) 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.


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. 

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. 

15) Use an Electic Fan
Skip the air conditioning. On hot summer days, place a bowl of ice in front of a fan to 
cool down. 


WATER

16) Fix Leaks
Fix leaking taps. One drop per second equals 7,000 litres of water wasted per year. 

17) Install a Filter
Stop buying costly bottled water which adds to the landfill. 
 
LIGHTING

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) Sensor 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.


KITCHEN

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’ll rebate you $30. 

23) Replace your Dishwasher
Buy an ENERGY STAR appliance. BC Hydro will rebate you $25. 

24) Replace your Freezer
Buy an ENERGY STAR appliance and BC Hydro will rebate you $25.


BATHROOM

25) Low Flow Shower
Hot water accounts for 25% of your energy costs. For a $15 investment you can save 
half the water of a standard shower say experts. 

26) High Efficiency or Dual Flush (you choose the amount of water used) Toilets
These are now required in new homes because of water savings.


OFFICE

27) Use Smart Strips
Also known as power bars, this lets you power off all equipment at the same time. 

28) Buy Energy Smart Electronics


There are rebates available.

29) Recycle your Old Electronics
Look into safe recycling options for old electronics.
 

YARD IMPROVEMENT

30) 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. 

31) Drip Irrigation
It saves water compared to sprinklers. 

32) Elbow Grease
Don’t power wash your driveway. Sweep it or use a scrub brush and pail. 

33) Less Lawn
Lawns waste water. Instead conserve and beautify using indigenous plants such as 
ferns, tiger lilies and hostas. 

34) 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. 

35) Preserve your Produce
Invest in home canning jars and equipment and a small freezer and enjoy your 
produce year round – at considerable savings. 

36) Bee Friendly
We need bees to pollinate, so get a few plant bee-friendly annuals such as asters, 
marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias; or perennials such as clematis, foxgloves, hollyhocks, 
roses or shrubs such as Buddleia. 

37) Go Chemical-Free
“Get rid of weeds without using chemicals that harm us and our pets,” advises 
REALTOR® and Richmond City counselor, Derek Dang, who led the way to a bylaw 
banning cosmetic pesticides. His suggestion, “Use dish detergent or weed by hand.”
38) Plant fruit trees 
They’ll give you shade and fruit. Plum, apple, pear and more. 

39) Compost
It will make your garden grow and divert waste from the landfill. 


GREEN AND CLEAN

40) Clean Green
Vinegar, baking soda and lemons clean as well as expensive, chemical-filled cleaning 
supplies for a fraction of the cost. 

41) Green Laundry Detergent
Use phosphate-free, biodegradable detergent. 

42) 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. 

43) Install a Clothesline
Dryers use a huge amount of energy. 

44) Get a Rack
If your neighbourhood or strata prohibits clotheslines, buy a small drying rack. 

LIVING GREEN

45) Recycle 
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. 

46) Buy Local
Your food doesn’t travel long distances, you support local farmers and the local 
economy and you consume less pesticides. 
47) Don’t use Paper or Plastic
Use cloth bags when you shop or reuse your plastic bags.

FINANCING

48) 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 a $300 rebate for a home energy
 audit and a five-year 4.34% rate. 

TD Canada Trust - offers a Green Mortgage and Green Home Equity line of credit. 
For each green mortgage TD donates $100 to the TD Friends of the Environment 
Foundation. 

Vancity - offers a Bright Ideas home renovation loan at prime +1% to home buyers 
owners making green renovations. 

The City of Vancouver with Vancity and others - offers an energy loan program for 
home buyers and owners making energy efficient upgrades at 4.5% fixed rate over 10 
years. 

CMHC - offers a 10% Mortgage Loan Premium refund and possible extended 
amortization for buyers purchasing an energy-efficient mortgage or making energy 
saving renovations. 

RESOURCES 

49) Green Tool Kit
BC Real Estate Association’s Green Tool Kit provides information, references and links. It also provides comprehensive information on rebates and incentives. 

COMING SOON

50) Loan Programs 
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. 
Expected to launch in 2012. 


Source: REBGV. 

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver • January 2012
 
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