Winter is a time-honored tradition to just stay inside and snuggle under your blankets. Even though you’re comfortably warm in your space, you should thank your home for keeping the lights on and the air warm. The downside, however, is the year’s first utility bill that may come as a shock.

The good news is that new smart home tech has made it possible to cut down your monthly utility bills. There are more ways than one to improve your home's energy efficiency, save money, and reduce your environmental footprint for the years to come.

Easy tips to make your home energy-efficient

1. Work On Your Heating

Space heating is the second most significant energy-gobbler in most Canadian households. Although you might not be able to convince yourself to turn the heat down while taking a morning shower, a smart thermostat can help you make less painful adjustments.

According to Deena Pantalone Toronto, smart thermostats use sensors to tell when you’re away, can learn your daily schedule and temperature preferences and even use local weather data to make energy-saving adjustments automatically. Furthermore, you can control your smart thermostat from anywhere using a tablet or smartphone.

When you equip your home with a smart thermostat that boasts sensors, you’ll save a great deal of money. The sensors let the thermostat automatically adjust to different conditions. This means it could take advantage of passive solar heating in rooms with open, south-facing windows.

2. Run The Numbers

The first thing you need to do is find out how you’re using your energy. If you’re not sure where to start exactly, you can hire a local energy auditor or consult online tools that will walk through your home, take note of your lifestyle, and give you a list of personalized recommendations. Visit this site to learn more.

But if you prefer to DIY, you can make use of home energy monitors such as Sense. This tool basically slides into your breaker board, clamps around your main, and reads the current one million times per second. It then transmits the data it has collected to its data and transmits them to the Sense app via Bluetooth. Doing this allows you to track your home’s energy usage in real time.

3. Shut Off Your Stuff, Smartly

If you haven’t switched to energy-efficient LEDs yet, consider investing your money on Philips Hue bulbs that you can dim or turn off, even when you’re not at home.

Moreover, if you have trouble remembering to turn off your bedside lamp, you can also buy a smart plug like Belkin’s. These are one of the easiest ways to reduce phantom load, which is the energy consumed by devices that you aren't even using. You can start by grouping devices that you use infrequently, like video game consoles or stereo systems, onto a single power strip. This way, it will be easier to plug them into a smart plug.

4. Washing and Drying

It’s an important note that most washing machine’s energy consumption goes to heat the water, so this means that washing your clothes in cold water really makes a difference. If you’re still worried about how that affects the entire cleaning process, you can switch to a detergent that has been formulated for cold water. If your water heater and washing machine are older models, you should also expect them to be more energy consuming.

It’s much more difficult to save energy on using your dryer. You can, however, skip using it and opt for a clothesline instead.

More and more people today are becoming more conscious about where their energy is coming from, which explains why many are also switching to clean energy and staying off-the-grid. But if you still don’t have the resources to pursue that lifestyle, you can reduce your carbon footprint by investing in energy-efficient items around your home.