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Green energy should start with energy efficiency. Doing more with less is the easiest, simplest and most cost-effective way to reduce your energy bills and your greenhouse gas emissions. And if you're considering installing a renewable energy system, reducing your energy use first means that a smaller, less costly system will meet your needs.
There are lots of opportunities to save energy on the average Ontario farm. A series of energy audits in 2006 revealed that most farms could cut their electricity costs by up to 15 per cent through conservation measures.
The Internet offers many good resources on cutting household energy bills through measures like insulating, caulking and weatherstripping, and switching to more energy-efficient appliances. Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency is a good starting point for information on residential energy efficiency.
A home energy audit through Natural Resources Canada's ecoENERGY Retrofit for Homes program can help you identify how to get the biggest bang for your energy efficiency buck, as well as make you eligible for a number of grants.
Visit the Ontario Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure's energy conservation pages for energy-saving tips, calculators and conservation guides, or check the Ontario Power Authoritys Every Kilowatt Counts site.
Finally, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation offers a number of factsheets on renovating for energy savings.
Looking for ways to reduce the energy you use in your daily farming operations? The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has produced several factsheets on energy conservation and efficiency on the farm.
AgEnergy Co-operative's 54 Energy Savings Technologies for Agriculture lists a variety of energy-saving technologies, along with the estimated annual savings for each one.
You can also find information on industrial energy-efficient equipment from Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency.
For sector-specific conservation tips, check the National Dairy Council of Canada's Guide to Energy Efficiency Opportunities in the Dairy Processing Industry or Energy Efficiency and Online Tools for Greenhouses from Union Gas.
Don't forget about your vehicles! You'll find many resources on transportation energy efficiency from Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency, while the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs offers tips to reduce fuel consumption on the farm.
Finally, consider greening your fuel consumption by choosing an ethanol or biodiesel blend.
AgEnergy Services offers a program to help Ontario agriculture and agri-food businesses implement efficiency measures.
Hydro One Network has a series of online videos showcasing energy-wise farming.
The Ontario Power Authority produces Electricity Conservation on Ontario Farms, an e-newsletter to help Ontario farmers better manage their electricity costs.
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