Earth hour is coming up soon, and it behooves every resident in the Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer’s circulation area to pitch in and help reduce energy waste.
A press release from the City of Leduc noted “the 2016 FortisAlberta Earth Hour Challenge is simple: residents, businesses and institutions are encouraged to turn off all non-essential lights, appliances and electronic devices for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on March 19.”
The logic and reasoning behind Earth Hour can’t be disputed. With smart phones, tablets, laptops, satellite TV, DVRs, powerful video game consoles and much more, the demand on the power grid must be greater than ever before.
On top of that, there is a lot of waste in North American society, especially when it comes to the power grid. Perhaps with the economic situation the way it is in Alberta right now, the average consumer will be more interested in energy conservation. To be honest, proper and responsible energy conservation really doesn’t ask a lot from the average person, and if more people made some simple changes maybe Earth Hour wouldn’t even be necessary. Here are some tips for the home:
Seal windows: It’s an age-old fact that much of the lost energy from a home escapes through old, cracked, badly sealed windows. Do-it-yourselfers can seal things up themselves with some calking or weather-stripping, but older homes may need new energy-efficient windows. The cost outlay usually pays for itself in the long run with noticeably lower heat or air conditioning bills.
Maintain the furnace: Your home’s furnace is engineered to have a new, fresh filter in it. If the filter is old and gummed up, it will usually make the furnace work harder. Replacement filters can cost as little as $5 and should be changed a few times a year. It doesn’t hurt to have an expert look at the furnace on a regular basis.
Use efficient light bulbs: Nowadays consumers have an impressive array of options for efficient lighting. If means allow, use florescent or even LED lighting, which is far more energy efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs; you’ll see a big difference on your power bill. If you have to use incandescent, move down one wattage. Instead of 100w, use 60w; instead of 60w, use 40w.
Use energy efficient appliances: Everybody knows someone who has a beer or beverage fridge in their den, pool room or garage. Usually, the fridge is a decrepit old antique that sucks energy and adds considerably to the power bill. The same goes for deep freezes, laundry machines and dishwashers. If they’re needed, replace them with newer energy-efficient models (again, they’ll pay for themselves in the long run). When it comes to a dishwasher, consider getting rid of the appliance entirely and wash dishes in the sink with soapy water.
Use common sense: A lot of power and heat can be saved by using common sense. Turn lights off if no one is in the room. Don’t leave electronics running all day and night if unnecessary. Leave the heat or air conditioning set at a specific level rather than cranking them up or down regularly and wear a sweater if you get a chill.
There’s another, more subtle benefit to being energy efficient that doesn’t necessarily involve giving the environment a rest when it comes to pollution and greenhouse gases. If more Albertans and Canadians were energy efficient there would be obvious societal benefits, not the least of which would be not having to listen to Justin Trudeau and David Suzuki lecture about climate change and pat themselves on the back as if they’re saving the world. Apparently they don’t drive anywhere in a gasoline-powered vehicle.
Now that would be a very attractive way to cut down on hot air.