Celebrate Earth Day and take action while physical distancing

Celebrate Earth Day and take action while physical distancing

The following information is part of the City’s Climate Change newsletter.  If you would like to sign up for future emails from the city on this topic, you can sign up HERE.

Celebrate Earth Day and take action while physical distancing

April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and is an opportunity to celebrate our planet and the actions we can take to protect it.

We understand these are challenging times, but if you are looking for some ideas on improve the comfort and efficiency of your home this Earth Day, here are a few things you can do while practicing physical distancing.

1. Caulk your windows

Caulking your windows and doors reduces your home energy use by blocking air leaks and prevents moisture from getting into the insulation or building envelope. It’s easy to do on your own, is cheap, and requires little equipment or skill. Hydro Quebec has a great step by step guide on how to apply caulking and a list of all the materials you’ll need.

2. Caulk and weatherstrip other air leaks

Air leaks can occur at various other locations of your house such as baseboards, attic hatches, ceiling light fixtures, dryer vents and door casings. Sealing the gaps with weatherstripping or caulking is a quick and easy way to prevent heat escaping from your home and reduce your energy use. Weatherstripping is best for things that open like door and window frames and caulking is good for cracks that are not supposed to open.

3. Insulate electrical outlets and switches

Air can leak from your home through electrical outlets and switches. You can easily and cheaply seal the gaps by installing foam pads (gaskets) behind the cover plates. Placing child safety plugs in seldom-used outlets also helps.

Read Natural Resources Canada’s guide for tips on how to install.

4. Insulate your hot water tank

Touch your hot water tank, if it’s warm then insulating it is an easy and inexpensive way to improve energy efficiency and reduce your energy bills. You can buy a hot water tank blanket at most hardware stores.

5. Save energy while working from home

From checking your computer’s energy saving settings, taking advantage of natural light and unplugging distractions, there are many ways you can be more energy efficient while working from home. Read more tips from Save On Energy and EnviroCentre.

6. Redirect your downspout

Adjust your downspout drainage so rainwater flows on to a permeable surface like lawns or garden. To keep your basement dry, make sure drainage occurs at least 2.4m from your foundation. Watch this video and read more tips on how manage spring rains.

7. Get your rain barrel ready for the season

Spring is the time to make sure your rain barrel is ready to catch April showers and provide it for May flowers. Ensure your rain barrel is clear of debris, connected to your downspouts, and is draining any overflow away from your foundation and towards a permeable area like lawn. Be sure to check out the City’s rain barrel tips.

8. Make your condo energy efficient

Live in a condo or apartment? Check out Save on Energy’s six ways you can make your condo energy efficient. All of them are quick, easy and low cost.

9. Clear nearby catch basins

Catch basins are the drains on streets that handle excess rain or runoff from melting snow and ice. Keeping them clear of debris (leaves, ice, snow, etc) helps to prevent flooding. Find your nearest catch basin using our interactive catch basin map.

10. Buy local

We want to keep Ottawa’s local business community vibrant and resilient. You can help make a difference by supporting them today. Many of the items you need to complete the basic DIY tasks above are available at your local hardware store. Check to see if they are offering local delivery or curbside pick up. You could even arrange pick up or delivery for a group of neighbours to reduce delivery costs or trips to the store. Find out more about the City’s buy local campaign.

Rather than buying new tools, ask around your neighbourhood group to see if anyone has any you can borrow. Be sure to clean them thoroughly before and after use and always practice physical distancing. Remember, don’t put yourself or others at risk. Follow the recommendations from Ottawa Public Health and practice physical (social) distancing.