Getting smart: Energy Challenge families check in after one week

The Parks family of Coquitlam are working together to ensure all members of the family turn off unnecessary lights.

Week one of the Power Smart Energy Challenge had the Jones and the Parks focusing on introducing energy efficient behavioural changes into their homes.

“What both families have really accomplished this past week is all the so-called, 'low-hanging fruit,'"said Greg Morandini, Power Smart Team Lead and Coach for Team Jones. “They’ve identified all of the easy behavioural changes and have begun to incorporate those into their daily routines.”

Greg and Tony supplied both families with a few tips to focus on for their first week:

Natural light, air drying & more

Armed with these tips, the families seem to be on pretty equal footing so far.

“We’re really starting to appreciate natural light in our home, as we are all trying not to use lights every time we enter a room and trying to see if we can function in a lower light situation,” said Toby Jones.

The Parks are also being conscious of the lights they turn on. They're keeping one another in check and offering that reminder when each family member leaves a room.

“My family has been pretty motivated to decrease electricity this month," said Deborah Parks. "I'm finding that in order to decrease power, it does take time."

Both families have also incorporated air drying when it comes to both clothes and dishes.

“The Parks tell me that they are 'fully committed' to doing everything they can and are making the changes part of their regular habits, rather than part of a short term restriction,” said Power Smart engineer Tony Mauro, amd designated coach for the Parks family. “From my perspective, it doesn’t seem like they are doing anything extreme that isn’t sustainable over the long-term.”

Parks family gets innovative

The Parks went to their local library and checked out a Kill-a-Watt meter, which identifies how much electricity any given device uses when it is plugged into the meter.

“The Kill-a-Watt meter will help them identify how much each device they own consumes and allow them to make smarter choices when it comes to how those devices are used,” said Tony.

While everything they have done so far is a good step towards being Power Smart, they’re going to have to pull up their socks to take home the grand prize of $6,000 worth of energy-efficient home electronics. The coming weeks will get more difficult as the families begin to identify more ways to save.

“The Jones’ seem to have more electronics than the Parks family, so I think next week will be a big week for them as our focus shifts to appliances and electronics and how they impact consumption,” said Greg.

“The first week is the big week - now the goal is to hold onto the momentum,” added Tony.

Tune in next week to find out how the Jones’ and the Parks’ cope with changing their habits when it comes to appliances and electronics.

About the Power Smart Energy Challenge

The Parks' are going head-to-head with the Jones' from October 6-31.

The families were randomly selected from a long list of applicants for the contest, which features a winner's prize of a $6,000 home entertainment system featuring a 46-inch ENERGY STAR® LED TV.

The household which reduces its electricity use by the largest percentage over the challenge period will get the new TV, plus a variety of other energy-efficient electronics.

For updates on the contest, check or follow us on Twitter @PowersmartBC.