News

Global TV's Darling dishes on melted shoes, fab beaches and charity

steve_darling_family_550x310.jpeg

'The more energy you save, the better off everyone else is': Steve Darling

Rob Klovance
bchydro.com

Walk rather than drive.

Do the math before buying a heat pump.

And if you must go camping, don't place your wet shoes too close to the campfire.

Those are three sample nuggets of wisdom Global TV morning news anchor Steve Darling will pass on to his daughter and son. But it's different advice that daughter Hayley, 3, is getting these days.

"I think we try to instill in our daughter not to judge people," says Darling, a Team Power Smart leader. "That's a big thing. The other thing is that if you're out there willing to lend a hand to someone else, it makes a big difference.

"There are lot of people out there in need, and we're very lucky."

Darling uses his TV celebrity clout regularly at various Lower Mainland charity events, and he's made a habit of taking his wife Jen and Hayley along. And now that entourage includes his 4-month-old son Hunter.

Steve and Hayley DarlingBeautiful B.C. is growing fast

As one of the most stunning, livable places on the planet, British Columbia attracts residents and businesses from around the world. BC Hydro estimates that electricity demand in B.C. will grow anywhere from 20 to 40 per cent in the next 20 years.

What will B.C. look like when Hayley and Hunter are both in their 20s, 30s and beyond? It's something that dad has been thinking about a lot.

"Having kids really does change your perspective, because you want to leave the world a better place for them," says Darling. "When we're gone, they're still going to be here, and their kids after that."

The family owns two vehicles, including a minivan, but both cars are much more efficient than the car they got rid of. And the family loves to walk.

"We walk a lot now," he says. "We walk to the park every night after dinner. Rather than drive there, it's about a 15-minute walk."

About a year and a half ago, the family moved into a new home, adjacent to fields and the dike in Pitt Meadows. Steve had an energy audit done and discovered that, thanks to upgrades such as more efficient windows, this house was even more efficient than the last.

He also learned that while he had heard that a heat pump might save him money, that's not always the case. A Power Smart expert calculated that the cost of the heat pump, and the increased electricity demand, would outweigh the benefits — the existing high-efficiency gas furnace would be more cost efficient.

"It's nice having the air conditioning [from the heat pump] in the summer time, but having said that, how much time do we actually get when the temperature's super, super hot?," he says. "Are we going to put in an air conditioner for 3 or 4 weeks. Probably not."

One change he did make was the addition of a programmable thermostat, which allows the family to optimize heating in a rather unique family schedule. Steve is up at 3 a.m. each day in advance of his morning anchor stint at Global, and the furnace kicks in just before he gets out of bed on winter mornings. Then it's off again a short time later, and back on in time for his not-quite-as-early rising daughter.

"That three or four hours of savings can add up to a lot when you think about it," says Darling, adding that Hayley now knows to grab a sweater or a blanket when the home's a bit cold. "

Through Power Smart, he learned that he didn't have to spend a lot of money to save a lot on electricity. He also gained a better appreciation of what BC Hydro has to build and maintain — in generating stations, transmission and distribution lines — to continue to deliver a reliable electricity system.

"We live in a province where we think there's so much water available," he says. "But it's getting that water and harnessing it that costs the most money, and the only way to do that is through infrastructure.

"The more energy you save, the better off everyone else is. You use less, your bill is less. "

If life is a beach, it's Rathtrevor

In a province riddled with natural beauty, Darling picks Rathtrevor Beach on Vancouver Island, as his favourite. He loves the smalltown feel of neighbouring Parksville, the fact he has a friend who runs a golf course nearby, and most of all, walks on the beach.

"The beach is so beautiful, incredible," he says. "It seems to go on for miles and miles."

If the kids are going to learn about camping, however, they won't get much insight from dad, who hasn't done it since the 1990s. As much as he likes the outdoors, he feels far more comfortable in Global's studios than he does at a campsite.

"I'm not really a camper," he says with a laugh. "I went camping a couple of times years ago. One time I didn't have a tent and had to sleep in a little Tracker [mini SUV]. That wasn't a lot of fun.

"The other time I put my running shoes beside the fire to dry them. They melted and I didn't have any shoes for two days."

Lesson learned.

Rob Klovance is managing editor of bchydro.com and enough of a camper to detect the faint smell of burning rubber before it's too late.