50 Ways To Green Your Home and Save Money



1. Green neighbourhoods

Buy a home in a neighbourhood close to work, transit, shopping, community centres and other services.

2. Transit-oriented density

New, compact, complete green neighbourhoods are being built with transit as their focus. Instead of owning a car, join a car share cooperative, take transit, cycle or walk.

3. Score your location

Walkable neighbourhoods offer health, environmental, financial and community benefits. Enter your address or the address of a home you want to buy at This tool calculates a walkability score based on the home’s proximity to transit, grocery stores, schools and other amenities.

4. Lower-cost luxury

If it’s features such as a gym or pool you want, buy a strata unit with these amenities and share costs.


Home improvement



5. You choose, you save



BC Hydro and FortisBC offer a variety of incentive and rebate programs for home upgrades and rebates.



6. Install a high-efficiency heating system 



Make sure it’s ENERGY STAR rated.



7. Weatherize your home



From windows to doors to insulation and weather stripping. Don’t forget to seal your ducts.



8. Insulate your pipes



It will prevent costly heat loss. Here’s how.



9. Insulate your hot water heater



Buy a pre-cut jacket or blanket for $10–$20. You’ll save up to 10% on heating costs. Learn more.



10. Install a programmable thermostat 



Set it lower at night and during the day when you’re away. Lower the temperature. Each degree below 20C saves you 3-5% on heating costs.



11. Replace your furnace filter  



This optimizes performance, as clogged filters reduce airflow, forcing your furnace to work harder.



12. Get the most from your fireplace



Here's how to make it efficient.



13. Use curtains



In the daytime during summer, close to help cool your home. Learn more.



14. Use an electric fan



Skip the air conditioning. On hot summer days, place a bowl of ice in front of a fan to cool down.



15. Install ceilings fans



The energy it takes to run a fan is less than an air conditioner. In summer, make sure the fan’s blades are rotating anti-clockwise for a cooling effect. In winter, the fan should be running clockwise, pushing the warm air down. Learn more.







16. Fix leaks, fix leaking taps



One drop per second equals 7,000 litres of water wasted per year. Learn more.



17. Install a filter



Stop buying costly bottled water, which adds to the landfill.









18. Change your light bulbs



Lighting accounts for 15% of your energy bill. Replace old bulbs with ENERGY STAR rated bulbs.



19. Motion detector lights



Turn lights off outside when not in use.



20. Keep it dark



Light pollution is an increasing problem. Turn off outdoor lights to save energy and encourage night life such as bats and frogs. A single bat can eat tens of thousands of mosquitoes nightly. If you have safety concerns, use motion detector lights – which come on, only as needed.



21. Holiday lights



Use LED lights.







22. Replace your fridge



An old energy guzzling fridge costs you about $90 a year  to operate. Replace it with an ENERGY STAR fridge. BC Hydro will also not only come and pick up your old fridge free of charge, they’ll give you $30.




23. Replace your freezer



Buy an ENERGY STAR freezer and save money with lower operating costs.







24. Low flow shower



Hot water accounts for 25% of your energy costs. Showers can be the largest single contributor to overall hot water use in a home, accounting for 15% of total household energy use. Save with a low-flow showerhead.




25. High efficiency of dual flush toilets



These are now required in new homes because of water savings.









26. Use smart strips



Also known as power bars, this lets you power off all equipment at the same time.



27. Buy energy smart electronics



Buy energy smart electronics and save.



28. Recycle your old electronics



Yard improvement



29. Conserve water



Fresh water comprises just 3% the world’s total water supply, so conserve. Get a rain barrel and harvest water you can use in your garden. Local governments such as Coquitlam and Richmond will subsidize the cost.



30. Less lawn and low-maintenance lawns



Lawns waste water. Instead, conserve and beautify using indigenous plants such as ferns, tiger lilies and hostas. Or try a low-maintenance lawn that is made up of a diverse mix of hardy, drought-tolerant, slow-growing turf grasses, that require less mowing, fertilizing and watering than conventional lawn species.



31. Elbow grease



Don’t power wash your driveway. Sweep it or use a scrub brush and pail.



32. Drip irrigation



It saves water compared to sprinklers.



33. Grow your own 



How much more will you spend on food this year? Even a few miniature fruit trees and a small vegetable garden in a raised bed or in containers on your deck will help keep you healthy and save you dollars. Lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries and blueberries thrive in our climate. Learn more.



34. Preserve your poduce 



Invest in home canning jars and equipment and a small freezer and enjoy your produce year round – at considerable savings. Here’s how.



35. Bee friendly



We need bees to pollinate, so plant a few bee-friendly annuals such as asters, marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias; or perennials such as clematis, foxgloves, hollyhocks, roses or shrubs such as Buddleia. Consider becoming an urban bee keeper, some municipalities like Vancouver allow bee keeping in your backyard.



36. Go chemical-free



“Get rid of weeds without using chemicals that harm us and our pets,” advises REALTOR® and Richmond City counselor, Derek Dang, who led the way to a bylaw banning cosmetic pesticides. His suggestion, “Use dish detergent or weed by hand.”



37. Plant fruit trees



They’ll give you shade and fruit. Growing guide.



38. Compost



It will make your garden grow and divert waste from the landfill.




Green and clean



39. Clean green 



Vinegar, baking soda and lemons clean as well as expensive, chemical-filled cleaning supplies for a fraction of the cost. 



40. Upgrade your washing machine



Replace your old washing machine with an ENERGY STAR washer that gets clothes clean using cold water. Wait until you have a full load instead of washing clothes as you need them. Clean the lint trap of your dryer after every use.



41. Green laundry detergent



Use phosphate-free, biodegradable detergent.



42. Install a clothesline



Dryers use a large amount of energy.



43. Get a rack



If your neighbourhood or strata prohibits clotheslines, buy a small drying rack.






Living Green



44. Recycle



Recycling keeps materials that can be recovered (paper, glass, metals, plastics, food etc) out of the landfills; and in the case of organics like paper, food, yard waste, it significantly reduces greenhouse gases from landfills. Learn more.



45. Buy local



Buy local, organic and fair trade food. Your food doesn’t travel long distances, you support local farmers and the local economy and you consume less pesticides.



46. Don't use paper or plastic



Use cloth bags when you shop or reuse your plastic bags




47. Backyard chickens and bees



Become involved in your own food production, raise chickens for their eggs or bees for their honey in your backyard.




48. Borrow green

Most financial institutions offer “green” mortgages, including:

• BMO Eco Smart Mortgage offers home buyers preferred interest rates on qualifying green properties.

• RBC Energy Saver™ Mortgage gives home buyers a $300 rebate for a home energy audit and preferred interest rates.

• Vancity offers a Bright Ideas Home Renovation Loan at prime +1% to home buyers and owners making green renovations.

• CMHC offers a 10% Mortgage Loan Premium refund and possible extended amortization for buyers purchasing an energy-efficient mortgage or making energy saving renovations.

49. Loan programs

Pay-as-you-Save (PAYS) loan program will help home owners and businesses finance energy efficiency improvements through a loan from BC Hydro or FortisBC. Pilot programs starting in November 2012 in certain BC locations.



50. Green Tool Kit

BC Real Estate Association’s Green Tool Kit provides information, references and links. It also provides comprehensive information on rebates and incentives.




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Meet the team

  • Will Pratt
  • Justin Sabbagh
  • Mike Wilcox

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