Put on a sweater or - hockey jersey - and turn down the heat for National Sweater Day


Most animals in British Columbia are equipped for colder winter weather. Bears and birds get an extra layer of insulation from thicker layers of fur and feathers. Sea otters and seals rely on blubber to keep them warm. Even our pets grow more hair as the temperature drops in the fall, although my kids love to laugh at every dog they see wearing a coat.

We can take inspiration from our furry and feathered friends; wearing a sweater, or another layer of clothing, is a great way to keep warm when we get cold.

National Sweater Day is February 7

If all Canadians dropped their thermostats by just two degrees Celsius for a day, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says that greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by about 4 megatons. Doing so can also save you up to five per cent on your home heating costs.

Wearing a sweater instead of turning up the temperature is the goal of National Sweater Day, an initiative of the WWF. Last year over a million people participated.

This year's event takes place on Thursday, February 7 and you are encouraged to wear a sweater that day in support of the idea that you can leave the thermostat alone and find a cleaner, cheaper way to warm yourself up.

You don't have to wear that ugly sweater, either. Hockey fans can choose to wear their favourite jersey now that the NHL is back.

There are 12 games on the schedule for February 7, including the Vancouver Canucks who are in Minneapolis to play the Minnesota Wild. And even if Team Power Smart member Ryan Kesler hasn't quite recovered from shoulder and wrist injuries, you can still wear your number 17.

Sears is a source for sweaters

In the Team Power Smart members' contest this month, you could win one of six $100 gift cards to Sears (you have to be a member of Team Power Smart to enter).

While you can use the gift card towards the purchase of any product available at Sears, the department store has a great selection of sweaters and hockey jerseys, and you can use the gift card to make online purchases:

Other ways to reduce heating costs

Slippers are a great accompaniment to a sweater. Getting your body active with a vigorous walk is another way to heat up a bit.

You can easily manage your heating at home with a programmable thermostat. Program it to drop the temperature by five degrees for eight hours every night and you can save about 10 per cent on your heating bill.

The slick Nest thermostat doesn't even need to be programmed. It uses motion sensors to automatically detect when there's nobody home and it turns the temperature down automatically. And you can teach it your family's patterns in about a week.

Consult the BC Hydro heating guide for more suggestions include maintaining your heating system and upgrading your insulation.

And don't forget to wear a sweater on Thursday, February 7, National Sweater Day.