Energy Fix Contest winner sets sights on savings

Delectable baked goods from Brambles Bakery and Cafe in Merritt, where owner Dorothy Molnar hopes to use her Energy Fix Contest prize to help improve the cafe's energy efficiency.

Nina Winham

It isn't every day you get to take a shopping spree at Home Depot and London Drugs. But Dorothy Molnar, co-owner of Brambles Bakery and Cafe in Merritt, is pondering just that after winning the grand prize in our recent Energy Fix contest.

The contest presented six online videos during the month of October, chronicling the "energy makeover" of Donald's Market in Vancouver. After watching each video, contest entrants could answer a question about the power-saving options they'd just learned about – and gain an entry in the contest draw for each one.

"I literally poured myself a glass of wine and sat down in front of the computer and watched them all in one sitting," says Molnar, who opened Brambles about a year ago. "We did a lot of renovations to this building before we opened, but I was curious to see what ideas I could find that we hadn't done, or could still do."

What she didn't expect was to take home the grand prize: a $500 gift certificate to both Home Depot and London Drugs, plus two ENERGY STAR® computer monitors.

"When the person called from BC Hydro my first thought was, "Oh, did I pay my bill last month? It wasn't until after she hung up that I said, 'Oh, I just won a contest!'"

Molnar says the videos have her thinking about whether plastic strip curtains would help reduce the energy lost from Brambles' walk-in refrigerator. She's also considering using her gift certificate to Home Depot to save water.

"I've been spending the money in my mind already," she says. "The Merritt area is semi-arid, so I'd like to get low-flow toilets with the Home Depot money."

Another winner, Samantha Penner of A W Jones Insurance in Victoria, bagged one of the three runner-up prizes, a Brother multifunction printer. She says she's not sure the company's leasing arrangement would allow a lighting retrofit in their office space, but they're already on the path to energy efficiency.

"I know all our printers are fairly new, they're Energy Star," she says. "We turn our computers off at the end of the day, our monitors are fairly new and they turn off automatically, so we do what we can to be energy efficient."

The two other runners-up were Janice Cook of Cooks Cuisine Catering & Bakery in Kamloops, and Sarah Dollinger of Praiseworthy Painting Ltd. in Abbotsford.

Congratulations to the winners! And even if you missed the contest – you can still watch the videos and see how one market transformed itself into an energy-efficient business. You might find some ideas that would work in your business: save money on your bills and qualify for a Power Smart rebate too. Now, that's a great way to keep on winning.

Nina is a Vancouver-based sustainability consultant and regular contributor to The Power of Business newsletter.