Unplug This Blog!

Thanks to Team Power Smart, I'm more than $400 ahead

Bottles with ice in cooler

Rob Klovance

Since joining Team Power Smart in October 2007, I'm more than $400 ahead — thanks to a combination of electricity savings at home and the two reward cheques I've earned by twice hitting my 10 per cent annual savings target.

I'm batting .400 on hitting my 10 per cent reduction targets, having hit what I'll call a line-drive single back in 2007-2008 (15 per cent savings) and a home run two years later with a whopping 24 per cent savings. But I've always saved something — 7 per cent one year, 5 per cent another — and I'm on track for 6 per cent over the past year.

Obviously, I recommend joining Team Power Smart. If you've had a BC Hydro account at your current address for at least 12 months, we have enough usage information for you to activate a 10 per cent challenge of your own. But don't forget that you first need to create a MyHydro profile, link your account to your profile and activate a challenge.

Am I changed man? Maybe a little

That beer fridge sitting at the top of the stairs by my rooftop deck is now unplugged most of the year. When the weather heats up, I plug it in for a week or two. But more often, when company arrives I'll grab the cooler, and toss in some ice and water. It's a quicker path to a cold one, and much cheaper.

  • My portable electric fan is gone. I've learned that even when it finally gets really hot in Vancouver, strategic use of window coverings, and opening windows and doors creates a beautiful fresh-air flush of interior air in all our rooms. No need for a fan.
  • We love picnics. Warm spring and summer nights take us to Spanish Banks or Second Beach. It keeps us cool, my son and his friends love to eat and play outdoors, and we're not heating up our home by cooking there.
  • We do full loads of laundry, except when I'm washing that stinky hockey gear. Big loads are efficient, and the dryer gets a little less use all the time — clothes last longer (and shrink less) when they're hung to dry.
  • We keep our feet warm in winter. In the winter months, wearing thick socks or slippers has helped our family stay comfortable without cranking up our baseboard electric heat. That's key in a place that has hardwood floors throughout. And we make it even more comfortable by bringing a wool rug into the living room, just for the fall and winter months.
  • We love our sweaters and hoodies. My wife jokes that I have a lot of "for camping" clothing, stuff that's not exactly stylish enough to be out in public with but which gets used when we camp. A couple hoodies, including a grey one from a Whistler hockey tournament with "CHAMPIONS" emblazoned across the back, also gets used at home on chilly nights when we don't have company. My wife tolerates it.
  • With thermostats throughout our place, we're able to turn the heat up or down to suit our needs. Rooms we're not using are left cool, and we all feel more comfortable with the temperature lowered overnight.

A challenge: Have you saved more than me?

So there you have it. More than $400 ahead via a few changes in the way we use energy around our home. And I'm betting there's someone out there who's saved more than I have.

We'd love to hear your Team Power Smart savings story. Have you ever beaten my 24 per cent annual savings number? Does your kilowatt-hour savings total as a Team Power Smart member exceed mine? I'm at 3,291 kWh and counting.

If you've got me beat, let us know by sending us an email. We'd love to feature your story on bchydro.com and in our Connected eNewsletter.

Rob Klovance is managing editor of bchydro.com.