March 7, 2014
Ontarians of all ages are embracing urban living by moving into apartments and condominiums.
Like folks who live in single-family homes, condo owners and apartment tenants can conserve energy and save money.
Some high-rise residents still pay for electricity as part of their condo fees or rent. Increasingly, residents are being billed separately for electricity so those who conserve energy can reap the reward of lower costs.
David Thompson bought his two-bedroom condo in Toronto seven years ago and enjoys living in the trendy Junction neighbourhood and close to public transit.
Thompson receives separate electricity bills, but with the help of his smart meter he is able to keep a close eye on his energy consumption, even when he is away from his home.
“I can look at my usage from the Toronto Hydro website, specifically the bar graph illustrating historical usage and time-of-day usage,” Thompson said. “I make an effort to turn off or turn down the [heat or air-conditioning] when I am not around. I also keep the curtains drawn most times to better control the temperature.”
You get an in-home energy display through the peaksaver PLUS® program. It allows you to track your energy use online, save money, and reduce your environmental footprint through energy conservation.
Today’s new condo projects have innovative energy conservation features, but most high-rise residential buildings were built in the 1960s and 70s, before energy efficiency was emphasized in condo marketing or the provincial Building Code.
Residents can also work with their condo board or building manager to implement the following energy-saving solutions:
Post notices in the elevator reminding owners/tenants to use major appliances outside of peak hours, such as before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
Replace hall and parking garage lights with LED lighting and low-energy light bulbs. If safety issues are addressed, building management can also install motion-activated lighting in parking garages, laundry rooms and storage areas.
Install programmable thermostats in each suites, which can save up to 10 per cent in heating and cooling costs.
There are also a lot of simple things individual residents can also do to make a difference in their suite:
Try to completely shut down computers and electronics when you’re not using them.
Consider getting a drying rack that can be used indoors year round to avoid using the dryer.
Learn more about how you can save energy and money in every room of your house with our Efficiency Tips & Tools.