Life in the Green Lane

Environmental journalist Candice Batista shares video clips and eco-savvy advice from her TV show, A Greener Toronto.

With gas and oil prices on the rise, who can afford to let their heat go through the roof? Here’s a look at how to heat and cool your home eco-nomically. Lets start with the furnace. Make sure you replace or clean your filter at least once a month. Doing this ensures that your furnace will work as efficiently as it can. Proper maintenance will save you about 5% on your heating bill. When it comes to your water heater, you’ll want to lower temperature from the typical 60 degrees to the more efficient 48 degrees. This simple step stops about 500 lbs of carbon from polluting the air. To go really green switch your furnace from an electric model to a natural gas one. And to be even greener, you can put your electric water heater on a timer; this will turn it off at night when no one is using it. Also think about installing an energy star rated programmable thermostat for your heating and cooing system, this will save you up to $100 per year. In the winter turning your thermostat down a degree or two between 15 and 20 degrees will save you 5 percent on your heating costs. Close vacant doors and vents as well. A humidifier creates moisture and increases the heat index making it feel warmer. Make sure you maintain a relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent to keep condensation off your windows. Ceiling fans are great; they’re energy savers in the summer and winter. In the winter reverse the blades so they spin clockwise, the fan will create an updraft which will push the warm air near the ceiling down to the floor. And finally, replace your windows. Energy star windows can reduce heating and cooling costs by as much as 15 percent every year, whilst reducing your energy costs and carbon footprint at the same time. Eco Candy.