Everyday energy-saving ideas

I live in a small town in Northern BC. I have been passionate about protecting the environment since I was nine years old. My participation in the 2010 Students On Ice Arctic expedition furthered my knowledge about many environmental issues, including the effects of climate change on the Arctic. Since that experience, my awareness and passion for preserving the environment has increased exponentially. My family and I have been working very hard to become as energy efficient as possible.

Organize your appliances

I felt it was only fitting for my first blog to discuss simple ways to conserve energy. First, it is important to remember that many items absorb electricity even when they are not in use; for instance, a cell phone charger continues to conduct electricity even when the phone is not in the charger. This “phantom power” is easily forgotten, and often goes unnoticed. In order to reduce your electricity usage, you can organize objects on power bars and turn them all off with a single switch. For instance, my family has our computer, monitor, printer and external hard drive all organized on one power bar. It is also really important to remember to turn off and unplug as many items as possible before leaving home for an extended period of time. Common items that are often forgotten include alarm clocks, televisions, DVD players, phone chargers, microwaves, etc. If an item is plugged in, it is a fairly safe bet that it is using at least a little bit of electricity; it’s always best to unplug the appliance, if possible!

Be smart when cooking

I would also like to address the amount of energy used for cooking. The more aware you are of trying to reduce energy consumption, the easier it becomes. For instance, boil only as much water as you actually need, using the smallest burner possible to optimize the energy required. Barbeques, microwaves and toaster ovens are great energy-saving alternatives to using a regular-sized oven and reduce cooking time. When cooking, try to plan meals strategically. For example, bake your cake at the same time you are cooking a casserole. Using the same burner to cook two different things, one right after the other, requires less electricity than heating up two separate burners. If everyone in Canada began to pay more attention to the little ways they can reduce energy consumption, no matter how small, the savings would be huge.