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Team Power Smart members learning from each other

Paulo Caputo (right) of Kamloops celebrates joining Team Power Smart and winning 2010 Winter Games tickets with an Outreach rep.

Very few British Columbians who join Team Power Smart arrive on the team without some experience in saving electricity. But everyone quickly learns many more ways to save.

New members from Kamloops, Lumby, Lantzville, Vancouver and Coquitlam all told of ways they were already saving energy, plus new ideas they've added to their list. All six were also celebrating the fact that they'd won tickets to the 2010 Winter Games after their names were drawn in a monthly draw among Team Power Smart members.

British Columbians can join Team Power Smart by signing up online or by using the Team Power Smart kiosk at community events attended by BC Hydro Outreach staff across B.C.

Butch Williamson of Lumby said he was "very excited to be going and to be a part of such a great moment in our provincial and national history." He also reported that he has been adding a dry towel to his wet clothes to speed up drying time, a tip recently shared by Nanaimo's Jo-Ann Stone, another new Team Power Smart member.

Williamson and wife Alexis (in photo, right) have also lowered the temperature of their hot water tank, used the clothesline to dry clothes whenever possible, switched out incandescent bulbs for CFLs, done laundry in cold water and unplugged electronics. He's impressed with the money he's already saved by sealing older windows in the winter, and on his energy-efficiency hit list is the installation of more efficient windows, and the purchase of a more efficient hot water tank.

Thinking of going solar

Paolo Caputo of Kamloops figures the 10% reduction goal asked of Team Power Smart members is realistic. But it appears he's bent on exceeding those savings.

Caputo, who already turns lights, his radio and computer off whenever they're not needed, is looking at purchasing solar panels for his home. "Big dreams, but you have to start somewhere," he says.

Caputo says his family takes comfort in knowing that they're doing what they can not to waste electricity. And he's rather looking forward to attending the 2010 Winter Games after winning two tickets in the Team Power Smart draw. He never misses the Olympics on TV and says there are numerous things that make him a fan of the Games.

"The competition, the sportsmanship, the true life struggles of athletes who make it," he says, adding: "And maybe lastly, the realization that so many amateur athletes have achieved their dreams!"

Following up on an audit

Switch to CFLs. Check. Buy ENERGY STAR appliances. Check.

Vancouver's Mimi Simon (in photo, left) has now taken the next step, an energy audit on her home that will result in draftproofing of all her windows and outlets.

"We received a lot of great tips from the BC Hydro website," says the 2010 Winter Games tickets winner. "So I would suggest that everyone look at that."

Looking for our tips? Start with our no-cost, low-cost tips tool and, for more in-depth information, our Green Your Home section.

Draft proofing is easy

Sophie Coulson of Lantzville figured she was quite Power Smart before joining the team recently and winning 2010 tickets. But her inspiration to do more has paid off with draft proofing of her home.

"I didn't even have to spend a lot to improve drafts in my home, plus it's relatively easy to do on my own," she says. "I have sealed up any cracks around doors and windows, so when I do turn my heat on in the winter it will stay within my house."

Coulson plans to wrap her energy efficient hot water heater and the pipes to prevent heat loss. Add that to the stuff she's already doing — she says turning off lights and the TV have become habits — and she's well on her way.

A tip? Coulson suggests setting bathroom fans to go on only when the humidity is high, and to shut off when the humidity decreases and the mirror is clear again. If you don't have a programmable fan, you can try this manually.

A few more tips

Coquitlam's Merill Winder, who also won 2010 Winter Games tickets in a recent draw, says she has seen a significant reduction in her BC Hydro bill, in part by switching out incandescent bulbs for CFLs. Her aim is to replace all her lights with CFLs.

"I am excited for the Olympics to come," she says. "I feel that our city will undergo a huge change, and that is why conservation is so important."

Yiran Sun of Vancouver is pleased with her purchase of an ENERGY STAR-approved front loading washer, which she says cleans better while reducing water consumption and reducing drying time. She now hangs clothes to dry — she recommends hanging clothes on an indoor rack — and rarely uses the dryer.