Unplug this blog!

Exposed!.. by our new Compare Your Home tool

This detail of my result from the Team Power Smart's new Compare Your Home tool shows I have plenty of work to do. Not shown is the low-consumption end of the scale, coloured in shades of green.

Posted by Rob Klovance

I am humbled.

When we recently released the new Compare Your Home tool to Team Power Smart members, I figured it was a chance for me to beef up my energy-saving resume. After all, here I was with a 15% reduction in home electricity savings last year, and another 10% so far this year.

The tool, so I thought, would prove that, compared to others in B.C. with a similar-sized home, electric heating and three occupants, I would come out on the "green" side of average.

I was wrong.

About the tool

The Compare Your Home tool, exclusive to members of Team Power Smart, takes less than a minute to use. And so far, it's been very popular with those who can use it – BC Hydro account holders like me with at least one year of consumption data at their current address. So I selected my home type, square footage range, home and water heating type and number of occupants.

Within seconds, I had the answer – rather than being in the green range, or even in the average range, the data from similar homes across B.C. indicated that I was in the orange, significantly above the average.

Deep down, I think I knew this was coming. Despite a lot of good changes by me and my family – lowering the heat, using CFLs, etc. our electric baseboard-heated home is too drafty for its own good. So, moving up the top of my to-do list is draftproofing, starting with those leaky doors.

BC Hydro Power Smart is cautious with expectations around use of the Compare Your Home tool, as it's meant to be a bit of a snapshot of your relative consumption compared to an average across B.C. That average doesn't take into consideration unusual energy costs, such as swimming pools or heat pumps, that may help push some homeowners to the high end of the consumption scale.

But I dont' have a swimming pool as an excuse. And if I was to get down to the average consumption for my household type, it would save me $150 or more a year at current rates.

Meanwhile, others are smiling

Out of curiosity, I asked how others on our Digital Communications team at BC Hydro have fared with tool. And out of that query emerges a new Conservation Champion, a hiking and photo enthusiast named Vida Morkunas.

In the past year, Vida has used what she describes as "small, behavioural changes" in the way she uses electricity to trim her consumption a whopping 50%. And she was very pleased to see that the tool proves she's on the right track, showing that she consumes about 15% less electricity than those with similar size homes in B.C.

She has accepted her victory with extraordinary grace.

"I will continue on the conservation track – this was easy to do and another year of Team Power Smart should not be too difficult," she says. "I will make that small extra effort to conserve even more – to be happy with myself, to treat our environment with respect – and to do even better than my neighbours."

Hey Vida, with all the money you've saved, lunch tomorrow is on you.

Rob Klovance is managing editor of bchydro.com and will be buying his own lunch after all. Vida is donating her savings to a local charity.

Return to the Unplug This Blog! main page.

Source: BC Hydro News