5 Ways To Make Your Home More Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly

We can all make the world a greener place for our children. Mike Holmes explains how we can do this starting with our homes.

Mike Holmes discusses home-building trends with Duvanco President Dustin VanSoelen
Mike Holmes discusses home-building trends with Duvanco President Dustin VanSoelen

If you are planning a renovation, think about making greener, more environmentally friendly choices for your home it’s important to do your research. As a father and grandfather, I often think about my kids’ future, and their kids’ future too. There are steps homeowners can also take towards protecting the environment.

Start From The Outside In

Start with your landscaping. A great way to block out the sunlight and heat is with strategically planting trees around your house. However, don’t plant them right up against your foundation. Roots can get into your plumbing and weeping tile—especially if your home has clay pipes.

Consider installing awnings on your windows and over your patio. You can even install a large awning across the entire side of your house that gets a lot of sunlight. Awnings can reduce heat gain by about 55 to 77 percent. In some cases, awnings can save you up to 25 percent on your energy bills.


Switch to LED lighting inside and outside your home. LEDs also use less energy—about 80 percent less than a 40-watt incandescent bulb. And they don’t give off heat, like incandescent bulbs, or contain mercury, like CFLs. This is a simple switch that all homeowners should be making.

Energy Efficient Cooling

Here’s a quick tip—during the winter, turn your ceiling fans clockwise - this helps circulate warm air trapped near the ceiling. In the summer, switch your ceiling fan to work counter-clockwise to help create a cool breeze.

Making sure your home is well sealed goes a long way in keeping cool air in. Inspect the caulking around your windows and doors and install weatherstripping on your doors. I use a low expansion polyurethane spray foam to seal wide cracks and gaps.

Smart Or Programmable Thermostats

A lot of homeowners have programmable thermostats, so you are not wasting energy when no one is home.

But look into having a smart thermostat installed. Smart thermostats actually allow you to adjust your home’s temperature from anywhere, whether you’re on vacation or have stepped out of the house for a couple of hours. And this is the cool part—smart thermostats can also track your monthly energy usage and provide you with a report to show your usage compared to others in your area.

Water Conservation

A large percentage of our water usage comes from using our bathroom. Check for leaky faucets or toilets. A leaky fixture can result in many gallons of water wasted every year. If you are planning on getting a new toilet or fixtures, consider switching to lo-flow water fixtures. They save water and can save you money. According to Environment Canada, toilets use one-third of a household's total water consumption

Have you heard of grey water recovery systems? A greywater system reuses collected rainwater from your roof. Why let all that water go to waste? You can use it to wash your car, water your lawn, wash your patio furniture. In fact, a greywater system in a house, used to flush toilets and water lawns, could save about 150 litres of potable water a day.

Greywater recycling can help homeowners save money every month. It can also reduce the strain on city water supplies and sewage treatment, especially during dry summer months. Now that is Making It Right for the environment!