SEN Hero

Household Energy

Climate Control

Saskatchewan is home to one of the most variable climates in the world with temperatures that can exceed 40°C in the summer and dip below -40°C in the winter. This means that household heating and cooling accounts for a significant amount of energy and natural gas use, greatly increasing our CO2 output. Installing a programable or smart thermostat in your home can drastically decrease your monthly energy and heating bills and limit your CO2 footprint.

Smart thermostats are a new and welcome addition to the market. The Nest thermostat was the first to the game, with more options coming to the market from Honeywell and other appliance companies.

The Nest thermostat and others like it connects to your smart phone, where you can control the temperature and set up schedules. Where it goes above and beyond a conventional programmable thermostat is in it's smart features. Because your phones are connected to the thermostat, whenever everyone is gone from the house, the Nest will set your house to your preset "auto away" temperature that will save you energy. It also continually adapts to your preferences based on temperature changes you make throughout the day. Have you ever gone on vacation only to remember your house is still sitting at a balmy 24° in winter? Even if you don't have "auto-away" activated, you can control the temperature remotely anywhere you have an internet connection on your phone.

At the end of every month, Nest sends you a report based on your energy usage that month. Not only does this report tell you how often you were heating or cooling your house, but it gathers outdoor weather data to provide explanations for high energy days, shows you which actions you've taken to increase/decrease your usage, compares your home to other Nest users, and more.

An example of a portion of a monthly Nest energy report


Electric lighting uses up to 25% of the average home energy budget. By replacing existing or burnt out incandescent light bulbs with LED or compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, you can limit your home's CO2 emmissions and save money in the process. Energy efficient bulbs are currently more costly than traditional incandescent bulbs, but thanks to their incredibly long life-span and drastically reduced energy usage the savings are well worth it.

LED bulbs (left) emit a much clearer, white light compared to the dull golden glow of traditional incandescent bulbs (right)


One way to cut energy use at home is by turning off and unplugging all electrical equipment when not in use. TVs and some other appliances use electricity even when they are not on so they can come on quickly when you turn on the switch.

Plugging equipment such as your home theatre system into a power bar and using the power bar switch to turn the whole system off and on can eliminate these "phantom" electrical loads. That way, phantom loads will be eliminated when the system is not in use. This approach is a lot handier than unplugging each device. The wait time for warming up the equipment is usually just a minute or so.

Computers use more power than most electronic equipment and appliances. The electrical cost of operating the average desktop computer system with a monitor and printer is about $150 a year, if the equipment is left on all the time.

By comparison, operating a refrigerator costs only about $130 per year. Leaving a stereo system would cost around $23.00.

By turning off the computer at the end of every workday, you should be able to save at least $100 a year while reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Putting a computer in sleep mode also cuts energy use by about 95 percent, so program your computer to go to sleep when not in use for more than five minutes.

office space By turning off office computers after work hours a business can save thousands every year.

A laptop computer is about 10 times as efficient as a desktop-average annual electrical costs for operating a laptop left on all the time are only $15. Using a laptop and turning it off or putting it to sleep when not in use is the most environmentally friendly option of all.