Value your time and energy

This weekend, I completed part two of three of ‘The Great Move 2011’. Technically, I moved to Ottawa from Toronto (not a great distance by any means) more than a month ago. But for reasons beyond my understanding, my moving process is happening in small spurts — something I would not recommend to anyone who values their time and energy. Indeed, after the second weekend, I am exhausted and can hardly fathom another three days spent packing, loading, unloading and unpacking.

I could have taken the ‘conservation’ route and only packed what I needed to live here, which in reality could have fit into one carload only cost me a single weekend. I could have been ‘efficient’ about it and thrown everything into a big, expensive moving truck and carted it up here, which would again only cost me the weekend. But, being a creature comforted by my possessions and lacking options for moving companies that offer free mileage, I’m moving my belongings carload by carload. In retrospect, this was, and is, a poor use of my resources.

Welcome to the Energy Diet Challenge

With that personal illustration of my lack of energy efficiency, I welcome our participating households to the Energy Diet Challenge! It certainly looks as if I could learn a thing or two about efficiency over the next few months. In a way, I’m participating in this challenge just as much as our households across the country.

To add to my list of personal challenges, my new home will certainly test my own methods of reducing energy consumption. Living in a heritage building, I am now the proud owner of poorly-insulated windows, a fridge that looks like it could be older than I am, and (drumroll please!) radiant heating, thanks to my cast-iron radiators.

Energy efficiency vs. energy conservation

We’ve heard it before: Energy efficiency is a fundamental part in our collective struggle with climate change and sustainable development. Though well understood by the experts, does the everyday citizen remember exactly how important their role in this can be? Kudos to people everywhere for taking the time and energy (pun somewhat intended) to challenge themselves to enact change in their lives, even if it just happens to show up in their living rooms in the form of old radiators.

If you are just starting down the path of working smarter, not harder, with energy, remember that energy efficiency does not equal energy conservation. Turning off the lights when you leave a room is energy conservation while replacing that incandescent lightbulb with a compact fluorescent one, or an LED light is energy efficiency. Energy conservation may not always be an alternative to efficiency, but it sure is a vital to achieving our shared goal — saving energy. Now if only I remembered that when I was packing.


Main image: flickr/radioedit,

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