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Shed extra kilowatts in 2007

Tuesday, December 19th 2006 12:24:36pm

Make conservation your New Year’s resolution

Peter Love
Chief Energy Conservation Officer
Conservation Bureau

I would like to say “Thanks!” to everyone who answered my call to use less electricity in 2006.  We’ve made a good start, reducing our electricity use during a time when our economy was growing.  This is a great achievement.

In the New Year, I challenge Ontarians to lose more kilowatts.  It’s a lot easier than you might think, and you’ll be surprised by how much money you can save.  

Here’s my Top 10 list of simple ways to get you started, starting at number 10:

10. Wrap your electric water heater and reduce energy use by 8 – 10% with an easy to install “tank insulating blanket,” available at hardware and building supply stores.

9. Wash your clothes in cold or warm water. Did you know that 85-90% of the energy used by washing machines is used to heat the water? If you are buying a new clothes washer, check out front-loading models, which cost a little more but use about half the water of conventional washing machines.

8. Use energy-saving small appliances, like an electric kettle, toaster oven, or microwave whenever possible. Run your dishwasher only when you have a full load, and use the energy-saving cycle. Use indoor/outdoor electrical timers. Electrical timers are ideal for both energy conservation and home protection. They can be programmed to turn lights on and off to suit your schedule, automate outdoor landscape and security lighting, and make your residence appear occupied when you’re away.  

7. Plug your computer into a power bar. Computers and related components use electricity even when they are not in use. Plug each computer component into a power bar that can be shut off to avoid wasting electricity with the ‘standby’ power feature. At a minimum, shut off the computer screen – your monitor uses 60 per cent of the power used by a computer!

6. Replace your five most-used light bulbs with ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent bulbs – they use 75 per cent less electricity and last up to ten times longer than incandescent styles. You can save up to $60 each year in energy costs. And don’t forget -- an unlit light does not use any energy at all, so turn them off when not needed.

5. Consider getting an EnerGuide for Houses energy audit.  Yes, there’s a price associated with the audit, but the potential savings are far greater than the initial cost.

4. Don’t keep that old, inefficient refrigerator running in the basement for occasional use. It can cost $150 or more per year in electricity.  And if you replace it, make sure your new fridge is ENERGY STAR rated.

3. Take advantage of the Hot Savings Rebate (until March 31, 2007), which offers rebates on ENERGY STAR furnace fans, air conditioners and programmable thermostats (see www.hotsavingsrebate.com).

2. Defend the purchase of that stylish new sweater by using it as a reason to keep your thermostat set lower in the winter.  For every degree you lower the heat, in the 16 to 21 degree Celsius range, you’ll save up to 5% on your heating cost.

And the #1 thing you can do to save electricity and money is:

Turn off all lights, radios, TVs, computers, etc. when not in use!

There are many ways to reduce the extra kilowatts we use.  The ones I have listed above are easy to do and will save you money.  For more ideas, visit www.conservationbureau.on.ca.  And if you have any questions about how to use electricity more efficiently, contact me at ceco@conservationbureau.on.ca.

Please join me in making a New Year’s resolution to create a culture of conservation in Ontario!


For article verification purposes, a high resolution headshot or more information, contact Barton Sala, 416-969-6009 or Brent Kulba, 416-972-7401.

The Conservation Bureau is an office of the Ontario Power Authority. It was established in 2005 to develop, coordinate and stimulate electricity conservation and demand management by planning, designing, and implementing comprehensive programs that foster a culture of conservation across the province.  Visit www.conservationbureau.on.ca.