Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

It happened without much premeditation.

Last year in late March I took some night time photos of Vancouver - prior to Earth Hour, and on Earth Hour. I was pleased to see that many participated in that one-hour event, but there was a lot more conservation that could be done - during that one hour, and on that day.

Every day in fact.

That small exercise got me thinking. How could I conserve energy by taking small little steps to change my behavior?

I set a modest goal to conserve 5% of my energy usage over the course of the following 12 months. I examined the graph charting my previous year's energy usage, and saw an opportunity for conservation in the winter months - when my energy usage typically peaks. There are many ways to track progress - I chose to do so directly on my online account with BC Hydro, and by joining Team Power Smart

A year later I am rather surprised to see the results of my effort: I saved 50% of my energy usage by making small conscious changes:

- turning off the lights when I leave a room

- turning off the computer at the end of the day

- heating only the room that I am in, in the winter; and turning off the thermostat at night.

That was all I did.

On average this year, I used 5 KWh of energy a day, except in the winter when my usage bumped up to 7kWh a day. My monthly hydro electricity bills averaged about $15, about $20 in the winter. I only use electricity to heat my home..

I saved about $150 this past year on my hydro bills. What will I do with all this money? I am donating it to Covenant House (two blocks down the street from my home), a safe harbour for street kids living in Vancouver - there they can find a hot meal and a safe place to sleep.

Today, on Earth Day, I rejoice in the result that one year's of simple effort has brought. I am signing up for an additional year with Team Power Smart, with a goal of saving 10% over this previous year.

It should not be too hard to find an additional half a kWh or so to conserve every day.


Curmudgeon-at-Large said...

I thank you, and the planet thanks you.

Wanderlusting said...

Just found your blog through your comment on the Sartorialist...just from your name I knew you were from Vancouver! Us Seawall runners are a common breed I suppose :)

Great post, fab blog!