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Santa joins Team Power Smart, chases reward

Santa joins Team Power Smart at the recent West Coast Christmas Show in Abbotsford.

Posted by Rob Klovance

Santa has seen the light, and it turns out it's an LED.

Since his secret move to British Columbia from the North Pole just under two years ago, Santa Claus has managed to cut his home electricity consumption by 200%. And because he no longer relies on diesel generators for his power supply – B.C.’s wealth of hydro-electricity makes our power 90% clean and renewable – his carbon footprint has shrunken dramatically.

Santa confirmed his move to B.C., at an undisclosed location near Fort St. John, while joining Team Power Smart at the recent West Coast Christmas Show in Abbotsford. As a member, Santa quickly registered his BC Hydro account online and started working toward the challenge of cutting his electricity consumption by 10% or more over the next year.

He feels he's off to a good start with a recent switch to holiday LEDs. And Mrs. Claus has just finished knitting sweaters for her man and his elves, something that allows the household to program the thermostat to go no higher than 18 °C.

“Overnight, we have it programmed to go down to 14 °C,” said Santa, before adding with a mischievous laugh. “I find it brings Mrs. Claus and I even closer together, and the elves have stopped complaining about sleeping four to a bed.”

As a member of Team Power Smart, Santa has a chance at a reward cheque - but only if he can cut his electricity consumption by 10% or more over 12 months. He figures he's up to the challenge, in part because of some home renovations he and the elves worked on last summer.

Relying on the federal Home Renovation tax credit, Santa significantly upgraded his home's efficiency. The big-ticket item there was an upgrade of his home's attic insulation, from a measly R-10 to R-50, a move that earned him a $750 grant through the  ecoENERGY Retrofit program.

"The test was the first cold snap, and it's pretty obvious the house is warmer and more comfortable," said Santa, who also switched to an ENERGY STAR front-load washer and dryer combination. And while he and Mrs. Claus were skeptical, they're now doing all their wash in cold water.

Santa is finding other ways to help lower electricity consumption in B.C. as well. He has made it a priority of the elves to build more wooden toys and fewer energy-sucking electronic games and other devices. And when electronic devices are built, he's insisting that the elves' work meets ENERGY STAR standards.

"As for the TVs this year, I'm going ENERGY STAR all the way," says Santa, who claims to have a soft spot for LED-backlit TVs, which he says are efficient, slimmer and lighter, which takes some of the weight off the sled and gives the reindeer a break.

Santa also pledges that if he earns the Team Power Smart reward for meeting the 10% electricity reduction target over 12 months, he's going to use the money to buy current-sensing power bars that will allow him to more easily shut down computers and peripheral components when they're not in use.

"I like to think of myself as Power Smart," he says, "even if my showers are still a bit long."

As for the chance to win tickets to the 2010 Winter Games, including a shot at tickets to the men's gold medal hockey final, he's already thinking about who he might take if he wins.

"I really like that guy who did the energy audit on our home," says Santa. "I think I might just treat him to a game, so long as he's willing to fly by sleigh all the way to GM Place in Vancouver!."

Rob Klovance is managing editor of bchydro.com.