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Business: Residential

Get Energy Wise When Shopping

Looking for solutions on how to gain more control over your household utility bills? You're not alone. The average Canadian household spends about $1,300 each year on utility bills. Some solutions can be found in the purchases you make. The Energy Wise program at Home Depot provides consumers with discounts and valuable information on ENERGY STAR® qualified products that can help lower anyone's utility bill. As well, by using less energy, you are helping reduce the strain on our power generation facilities and helping to reduce emissions that cause both smog and climate change.

Together, the Clean Air Foundation with Home Depot launched the Energy Wise program between September 22 and October 5, 2003, to increase consumer awareness and purchasing of ENERGY STAR qualified products. Partnerships were established with manufacturers, retailers, utilities and the federal government to educate and deliver in-store incentives to consumers on making informed purchases that consume less energy. Another important feature of Energy Wise was the deployment of in-store "ambassadors" who provided information to customers on how to save money and improve air quality and encouraged customers to purchase products included in the promotion.

Energy Wise ambassadors engaged over 20 000 customers during the promotion.
Energy Wise ambassadors engaged over 20 000 customers during the promotion.


The international ENERGY STAR symbol is a simple way for consumers to identify products that are among the most energy efficient on the market. Only manufacturers and retailers whose products meet the ENERGY STAR criteria can label their products with this symbol. In Canada, Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency administers and promotes the international ENERGY STAR symbol for a wide range of energy-using products sold in Canada.

Look for the ENERGY STAR symbol on product packaging, in product literature and advertising and, of course, on the products themselves. Ask your local retailer to help you identify products that qualify for the ENERGY STAR mark so you can begin saving energy and money. For more information visit the ENERGY STAR Web site at

Teaming Up for Rebates

The Clean Air Foundation in partnership with Home Depot has brought together eight leading manufacturers of energy-efficient products, two major utilities and Natural Resources Canada to introduce the Energy Wise program. This is no small feat as Energy Wise is the largest retail-based energy efficiency campaign in the country, involving all of the Home Depot's 97 locations across Canada. The campaign received major support from Natural Resources Canada in the form of financial and information resources. Partnerships were crucial to promoting and delivering incentives as part of the Energy Wise program. In terms of promotion, a special in-store catalogue insert that profiled the event and specifically ENERGY STAR qualified products was developed by Home Depot with assistance from the Clean Air Foundation. The coloured insert included information on energy efficiency, products included in the promotion, special offers and the logos of the Energy Wise partners. The insert was distributed to 1.4 million homes and was available at all Home Depot retail locations. Energy Wise ambassadors were also important players in promoting the Energy Wise program to customers, collecting information and answering basic questions on energy efficiency, ENERGY STAR and clean air. The Clean air Foundation hired, trained and deployed over 90 ambassadors.

The following companies offered incentives for encouraging the purchase of ENERGY STAR qualified products:

  • Enbridge offered a $15 mail-in, on-bill rebate, along with a Honeywell sponsored $15 mail-in rebate for a Home Depot gift card upon purchase of an eligible ENERGY STAR qualified Honeywell programmable thermostat, in Ontario.
  • Union Gas offered a $30 mail-in, on-bill rebate upon purchase of an eligible ENERGY STAR qualified Honeywell programmable thermostat, in Ontario.
  • Honeywell offered a $15 mail-in rebate for a Home Depot gift card upon purchase of an eligible ENERGY STAR rated Honeywell programmable thermostat in provinces outside of Ontario.
  • Philips offered a $5 mail-in rebate for a Home Depot gift card with every $20 purchase of Marathon compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Home Depot offered free delivery on all ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and the opportunity to win the Ultimate Energy Wise Home Improvement package, an on-line contest including more than 17 energy-efficient products.

Get Energy Wise at The Home Depot

The Energy Wise Shopping List Is Endless

The main goal of the Energy Wise program was to encourage the purchase of 8 600 ENERGY STAR qualified products in Canada over the program period. The program established targets for the following high-energy use product lines:

  • 500 refrigerators/dishwashers/clothes washing appliances by GE or Camco
  • 5000 compact fluorescent light bulbs by Philips
  • 750 Programmable thermostats by Honeywell

Other related energy-efficient and clean air products promoted include:

  • Filtrete Filters for the furnace by 3M
  • programmable timers by Intermatic
  • programmable timers, dimmers and motion sensors by Leviton
  • insulation and draft-proofing products by RCR
  • HEPA air purification systems by Venmar

The Energy Wise Shopping List

Often many of us do not really know how to control or reduce our utility bills. There are a number of factors that can affect your energy bill, including the size of your home or apartment, the efficiency of major appliances (e.g. refrigerator, water heater or air conditioner), and whether your home is sealed and insulated properly. Other factors include the local climate, energy costs, the number and types of lights, the thermostat settings for heating and cooling, and the number of loads of laundry or dishes you do. Below are descriptions of some products that can help make your home more energy efficient.

Programmable Thermostats

  • By ensuring the thermostat is turned back overnight and by setting the temperature back when you leave the house, you can save more than 10 percent on your heating and cooling.
  • The more flexible ENERGY STAR qualified thermostats allow both overnight and working hour setbacks for each of the seven days.

Energy-Saving Lighting Controls

  • Adding lighting controls to your home can save energy and extend the life of bulbs and fixtures.
  • Dimming the light by just 10 percent more than doubles a bulb's life.
  • Timers help reduce energy use by turning lights on and off on schedule.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL)

  • CFLs provide comparable brightness to conventional incandescents using about 1/4 the energy while lasting up to 10 times longer. While they cost a little more initially, CFLs can pay back in as little as six months depending on bulb usage.

Insulation and Draftproofing

  • Inadequate insulation and air leakage are leading causes of energy waste in most homes.
  • Even in a new home, adding insulation may save enough money to pay for itself within a few years.
  • Using draftproofing products such as window kits and weather-stripping can help you save up to 30 percent on your heating or cooling bill.


  • Older appliances, generally those 10 years old or older tend to be significantly less efficient than those appliances manufactured today.
  • In some cases you can save over 50 percent on your energy bills for specific appliances by replacing your old appliances with models that have the ENERGY STAR label. Remember to have your old appliances recycled to ensure overall energy savings.

Heating and Cooling System Filters

  • Furnace filters that are not replaced regularly cause your heating and cooling system to consume a lot more energy, as the built-up dirt and lint makes it tough for air to get through.
  • Cleaning and/or replacing your furnace filter regularly, also helps improve indoor air quality.

The Impact of Energy Wise

Power outages, are not the only consequence of North America's excessive energy consumption. The average Canadian is responsible for emitting five tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year that contribute to climate change and poor air quality. Canada's Climate Change Plan and the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol calls for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 6 percent below 1990 levels by the period 2008 to 2012. The challenge for individual Canadians is to cut their production of GHGs by one tonne per year. The Energy Wise program serves to help Canadians reach their GHG reduction targets. Below are some examples of how Energy Wise has made an impact on cutting the production of GHG emissions.

  • In Ontario, program analysis shows an annual reduction forecast of over 211.49 tonnes of GHG emissions as a result of over 1 000 ENERGY STAR qualified Honeywell programmable thermostats purchased. Over 1 000 coupons for these programmable thermostats were redeemed. Enbridge reported 504 redemptions, and Union Gas reported 521. This exceeds the target set for Energy Wise of 750 by 36 percent. The same number of thermostats across Canada would show an annual average reduction forecast of 182.64 tonnes of GHG emissions.
  • GHG emission reductions as a result of over 1 749 compact fluorescent light bulbs purchased is over 34.32 tonnes. At least 583 coupons were redeemed, with approximately three light bulbs per coupon.
  • GHG emission reductions from the purchase of 500 ENERGY STAR rated GE dishwashers is estimated to be 25.75 tonnes.

To get a broader perspective on the impact of Energy Wise, it is also important to quantify the number of Canadians reached by the campaign. Below are some examples of how many people were reached by Energy Wise messages:

  • Energy Wise ambassadors engaged over 20 000 customers during the promotion.
  • Energy Wise generated 6 874 770 media impressions through print, radio and television coverage.
  • Home Depot indicated that the Energy Wise program generated more direct calls from customers than any comparable in-store event.
  • Of the 97 000 contest cards distributed to all 97 Home Depot locations, 4 926 were entered in the on-line contest. This represents just over a 5 percent participation rate.

The Next Steps for Energy Wise

The expectations of all Energy Wise partners were surpassed. The program was a huge success, and the program partners are keen to participate again in 2004. Inclusion of additional partners, such as utilities right across the country, would be an effective way of spreading the energy efficiency message to even more Canadians.

Contact Information for Energy Wise

Yvonne Spiczynski
Program Manager
Clean Air Foundation
Tel.: (416) 922-9038 ext: 47
Web site

Energy Wise

ENERGY STAR High Efficiency Symbol

For more information on ENERGY STAR, contact Isabelle Guimont of the Office of Energy Efficiency by telephone at (613) 996-5281 or by e-mail

For tips on energy-efficient products visit the ENERGY STAR Web site or Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency Web site.

For free publications write or call:

Energy Publications
Office of Energy Efficiency
Natural Resources Canada c/o S.J.D.S.
Ottawa ON  K1A 1L3.

Fax: (613) 740-3114
Toll-free: 1 800 387-2000
In the National Capital Region, call 995-2943

Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency administers and promotes the international ENERGY STAR symbol in Canada.