Switch off and save energy for Earth Hour

Annual event takes place from 8:30 - 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 29

Thousands of people around the world participate in Earth Hour each year, including in Malaysia as seen in this photo from 2013 (photo: World Wildlife Fund)
Thousands of people around the world participate in Earth Hour each year, including in Malaysia as seen in this photo from 2013 (photo: World Wildlife Fund)

Nobody likes getting bills in the mail. One bill that could easily contend for the most hated is the electric bill. A top complaint is the price of electricity and how much we pay each month.

While it’s true that energy bills have been on the rise over recent years, so has consumption, pushing not only the demand for power up, but also the need to generate more. As we continue to become a society that is increasingly hooked on electronic gadgets, we need to start focusing more on conservation to not only lessen the strain on our electric grid, but also lower our utility bills.

With energy in mind, here are some easy ways you can help manage your energy use by following some simple conservation tips:

  • Install a programmable thermostat. When properly set, a thermostat can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 10 per cent. Set your thermostat to 20°C when you’re at home and 18°C when sleeping or away.
  • Protect your home against drafts. Install weatherstrip around doors, fireplace dampers, attic hatches and air conditioners. Reducing drafts can save up to 30 per cent a year on heating costs.
  • Change your furnace filters. Change your furnace filters monthly. It’s also a good idea to have your furnace serviced by a professional every year to ensure it is running at maximum efficiency.
  • Take advantage of lower energy prices during off-peak hours. One of the easiest things you can do is to run items like your dishwasher, washer and dryer early in the morning, in the evening or on weekends when electricity rates are lowest.
  • Unplug electronic items not in use. Devices like computers, televisions, and cell phone chargers continue to consume small amounts of electricity unless they are unplugged. Plug these items into a power bar with a switch or timer, so you can easily turn them off when they are not needed.
  • Keep the heat out of areas of your home you don’t frequently use. Block heat from entering unused areas of your house, like a storage room or crawlspace, by closing doors. It’s important to keep closet doors closed too.
  • Choose energy efficient lighting. When it’s time to replace a light bulb, choose energy-efficiency compact florescent lights (CFLs, LEDs) rather than incandescent lights. Check saveonenergy.ca for coupons on a variety of energy efficient light bulbs, fixtures and other energy efficient products.
  • Let the sun in. During the day, open curtains and blinds to allow sunlight to enter your home. Solar energy can help naturally warm your home, reducing the amount of energy you’ll use to heat it.
  • Clean your fridge coils. Many people don’t think to look behind or under their fridge, but be sure to regularly brush or vacuum your refrigerator coils to make the fridge more energy-efficient and is running at peak performance.
  • Stop the drips. Try hard to quickly repair leaky faucets. Even a small drip can waste litres of water per month and add to your water heating costs and increase your utility bill.

Awareness of energy consumption is a timely topic as we celebrate Earth Hour on Saturday. From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. local time, people around the world — including here in Peterborough — will turn their lights off for one hour as a symbol of environmental awareness.

What began in Australia eight years ago has become an annual event celebrated worldwide. Organized by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour has become a grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet which engages a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues. Since its beginnings, the global event has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide.

If you’d like to learn more about Earth Hour and participate in a local event, Fleming College is holding an Earth Hour event on Saturday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Peterborough campus on Brealey Drive.

The college will be screening the film Chasing the Ice followed by “unplugged” musical entertainment featuring Roy Asselstine and others. You’re invited to bring your own instrument. The event is free to attend and runs until 9:30 p.m. For more information, get in touch with the Fleming Office of Sustainability at 705-749-5530 x1096.

Spider-Man Earth Hour 2014 Superhero Ambassador