Signing up for Team Power Smart pays off with 2010 tickets

Amy Margison of Surrey, a newcomer to Team Power Smart, is going to the 2010 Winter Games.

The next time you go to a festival or event in B.C., or to a Rona store, see if you can track down a BC Hydro Outreach representative. Not only will you learn something about energy conservation, you may just win tickets to the 2010 Winter Games.

Four more British Columbians who recently joined Team Power Smart — three at B.C. events, one at a Rona store — have emerged as 2010 ticket winners. You can also enter the monthly ticket giveaway contest by joining Team Power Smart online.

The four recent winners have taken the time to let everyone know what the tickets mean to them, and what they're doing to deliver on their Team Power Smart goal of a 10% reduction in energy use.

"I have plans to build a home that will incorporate low voltage LED lighting, geothermal heating and cooling, light pipes, solar panels and wind turbines," says Don Briere of Abbotsford, who won 2010 Winter Games tickets after joining Team Power Smart at the New Westminster Car Show.

Briere is excited to go to the 2010 Winter Games, in part so that he can check out the green design of the Games venues. He has already lowered his energy bills, and he served up a couple tips to help others get there, too.

He suggests people use the sun coming in the house for light and heat, look at solar panels and wind turbines to power small appliances and electronics, and consider collecting rain water for gardening.

It may be a good idea to start collecting rainwater right now.

New house, new ideas

"An efficient day-to-day life is a small start to a global solution," says Dan Lowndes of Quesnel, who signed up for Team Power Smart at his local Rona store.

Lowndes recently bought a new home and is well on his way to making it more efficient, adding timed sensors for lights, switching from incandescent bulbs to CFLs throughout, and opting for more efficient windows and an efficient clothes washer. He's also replacing his exterior doors, installing a high-efficiency water heater and replacing his faucets with flow-reducing taps.

And he's already noticing that the furnace is starting up less often.

"I think our comfort change comes in the knowledge that we are doing what we can to support this cause," he says. "My wife and I both feel very strongly about reducing our waste, reducing our usage and finding ways to help out."

A longtime athlete who still coaches sport 10 hours a week, Lowndes says "the thought of attending the premier amateur athletic event in the world is amazing."

ENERGY STAR appliances a hit

Amy Margison of Surrey has seen her BC Hydro bill decrease since switching to ENERGY STAR appliances and washing clothes in cold water. She also uses CFLs and power bars throughout her home.

"It gives me real peace of mind to know that I am not spending as much anymore," says Margison, who won 2010 Winter Games tickets after signing up for Team Power Smart at the Spirit of the Sea Festival in White Rock.

"A lot of you out there think you're up to date... You're not!," she adds. "There is always room for improvement and you would be amazed at the result."

Meanwhile, Margison's daughter has started figure skating and has caught Olympics fever. Mom caught it long ago when she was in Calgary for the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Finding a way to the Games

Peter Smith was fully expecting that he would not be going to the 2010 Winter Olympics, simply because of the cost. But now he's going, after winning tickets by joining Team Power Smart at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival at 100 Mile House.

As a Team Power Smart member, he now plans to go beyond his initial energy-saving steps — programmable thermostat, CFLs, cold water laundry, turning off computers and lights — by upgrading a few more windows and installing weather stripping around doors.

"Everyone can make a difference to our environment even if it's only small actions we take," says Smith, who lives in Williams Lake. "They will all add up to make a big difference."