Green Living: Water & energy saving tips for your condo

Rising energy costs and a growing concern about and the environment make the conservation of energy a concern for all Canadians.  I’ve posted blogs in the past for freehold home owners (as in detached, semi’s, etc.) with energy saving tips for living greener, so I thought it was about time to put one together for those of you that live in condominiums.  After all, the need for us to be more conscience of our energy consumption is a reality whether you live in a house or a condo!

It’s also important to realize that, more and more, people who are shopping around for a new home are looking for environmentally friendly and energy-efficient features. With the increasing cost of energy, and incentives put forward by government agencies (see the CMHC website for information on their rebates for buyer’s and homeowner’s who are renovating) there is a good chance that this won’t change!

The list below includes energy saving tips for your condo to help you save money, add future resale value to your property, and to make your living space a healthier and more environmentally friendly place.


  • Use free heat from the sun.  Instead of turning up the thermostat consider opening  the curtains, blinds and window coverings on south, west and east facing windows to warm your apartment. 
  • Keep the heat in during the winter.  Avoid opening your windows if it gets to hot in the winter as this wastes energy and money.  If it’s too hot, turn down the thermostat.  If you have a central boiler for the entire building, tell building management and they may be able to adjust the controls to make your space more comfortable.
  • Keep the heat out during the summer.  Keep your curtains and blinds closed during the day.  It  might also be helpful to keep your windows closed during the day and only open them in the evening,  night and early morning to let cooler air in.
  • Caulk any open joints between window and door frames, and trim and adjacent walls.
  • Ensure that window and door weather-stripping gaskets are intact and in good condition.  If you need to, replace them.
  • Caulk and seal around pipes in the walls and floor, under sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms and behind toilet fixtures.
  • Seal around pipe, duct and wiring penetrations in utility closets.
  • Ensure exhaust fans are working efficiently.  Clean the housing and grill covering of bathroom fans and range hoods.  Make sure you don’t miss cleaning the range hood filters!
  • Consider using a timer for the bathroom exhaust fan to ensure that the fan runs long enough to remove moister and odours but is not left on needlessly.
  • Make sure that the bathtub is properly caulked.
  • Fix any leaky faucets and running toilets – these two things can be a huge waste of water!
  • Install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators as they reduce the amount of water flowing through fixtures.
  • If you are replacing your toilets, install low-flush toilets.
  • Appliances can account for a lot of your energy consumption so when replacing invest in energy-efficient ones.
  • Keep your refrigerator in good condition.  This is especially important with older ones as they will use more energy than necessary if they aren’t well maintained.  Make sure you do the following as part of your cleaning regime; clean the evaporator coils on the back (and under if accessible) at least once a year, ensure that the door gasket fits properly and the door closes firmly against the gasket, and defrost freezers regularly.
  • If you have a gas or oil-fired hot water tank in your apartment, adjust the temperature to deliver hot water to each faucet that is between 46°C and 49°C.
  • When away turn down your hot water tank.

Remember, often water-conserving measures reduce water consumption in condo buildings and also decrease energy use for pumping and water heating.  Reducing your energy and water use reduces your utility bills if you pay them directly.  If your utilities are included in your condo fees, these tips (especially if done by a few suite owners!) can help to control condo fee increases for the building.  Hope these energy saving tips helped!

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