Stick to your energy-use resolutions, which really add up
Small changes add up to big change when many jump aboard
If saving a few bucks each month on your BC Hydro bill isn't enough to convince you to stick with your electricity-saving resolutions for 2022, we ask you to consider how that energy use might add up.
Last month, we asked Team Power Smart members to choose one of 10 resolutions – ranging from wearing a sweater to save on heating, to reducing shower time – in return for an entry into our monthly Team Power Smart contest. If you were among those who chose a resolution, we're here to remind you why it matters to stick to it, and we have a few ideas that might make it easier to stay true to that resolution.
Key to the resolutions that we served up last month is that they're all very achievable.
"When we make a resolution, we really believe that this time it's for real," says Team Power Smart program manager Arien Korteland. "But the reality is that we often don't stick to them. New Year's resolutions are often unrealistic, so chances high that we will fall off the bandwagon.
"The good thing about New Year's resolutions related to energy conservation is that everyone can do them."
Energy-saving resolutions will save you money on your BC Hydro bills without sacrificing our home comfort. And combined, those electricity savings can really add up.
How many electric school buses could be powered by your efforts?
Of the 10 resolutions listed on the Team Power Smart contest question last month, the one most often selected by members was to "add layers like a sweater before turning up the heat". Here's why that change matters.
If you're in an electrically-heated home and make that change, you could save anywhere from $25 to $90 or more per year, depending on how much you lower the heat. And collectively, the kilowatt-hour savings can be huge.
If just one in 10 Team Power Smart members delivered on that resolution, the combined potential savings could add up to enough electricity to power about 450 B.C. homes for a year... or 250 electric school buses for a B.C. school year.
That's right. The collective energy could transport 18,000 B.C. students to and from school using BC Hydro's clean electricity, rather than diesel. And each bus would reduce carbon emissions by 17 tonnes per year.
Why use an electric school bus as a comparison? Because B.C. has added electric school buses to its fleet, with 18 buses introduced as part of $13 million in funding from B.C.'s Ministry of Education.
Now that you're reminded how these little changes matter, Team Power Smart's Korteland offers some advice on how to make it easier to deliver on a resolution.
"It may help to discuss your energy conservation intentions at the dinner table," says Korteland. "That way, we hold each other accountable. Most energy conservation actions are not difficult to do, but they do require a bit of devotion, and before you know it you have created a new household habit."
And if you're in a Team Power Smart Challenge, you may even get rewarded for those conservation efforts.
"Thanks for making energy conservation part of your New Year's resolutions," adds Korteland. "Let's stick to them this year."
Tips to help you to stick to your resolutions
Here's the list of energy-saving resolutions from January's contest, ranked by which were the most popular among members. For each one, we've provided a tip on how to stick to each resolution.
1. Adding layers like a sweater before turning up the heat
Tip: Don't forget to wear thick socks or slippers, which will also make you feel more comfortable and allow you to set your thermostat lower.
2. Only washing full loads of laundry
Tip: Has your kid or teenager really run out of socks to wear, or are there clean ones buried in a drawer or under a pile in their room?
3. Washing my laundry in cold water
Tip: If your washer doesn't have an eco-wash setting that auto-selects cold water, manually select to cold water after you've selected for a cycle such as "active wear" or "towels", which may default to hot or warm water.
4. Logging into my MyHydro account at least once a month
Tip: Set a monthly reminder on your phone or laptop to check your electricity use at MyHydro, perhaps mid-month so that you can see if there are any big fluctuations in your energy use that you may be able to act to correct.
5. Not overloading my clothes dryer
Tip: If your clothes are clumping up into a ball, that can be a sign that your dryer is overloaded. They need room to move freely of other items to speed drying time.
6. Using a small appliance like a pressure cooker to prepare one meal a week
Tip: There are hundreds of great recipe ideas online for using an Instant Pot, air fryer, or toaster oven. And you can get recipes and more in our kitchen savings section at powersmart.ca.
7. Setting my thermostat to 16°C at night
Tip: If your bedding is warm enough (or you're wearing pajamas), you should sleep well at 16°C. Avoid the discomfort of waking in a cold room by programming your thermostat to warm up a half hour before your wake-up time, or by getting your early-rising partner to adjust the temperature when they get up.
8. Keeping shower time to five minutes or less
Tip: Listen to (or sing) a song you know well. Unless it's Bohemian Rhapsody, by the time it's done, you'll be well under the five-minute limit.
9. Hanging my laundry to dry
Tip: Choose your drying rack wisely. Make sure it's easy to set up, easy to store away, and folds out so that it's easy to hang pants and other longer cuts of clothing.
10. Turning off the heat-dry setting on my dishwasher
Tip: Double-check that the setting is off. There's absolutely no reason to use a setting that just wastes energy. Most of your dishes will dry from the residual heat from the hot water used in the wash.