Household Challenge Week 2 check-in:

Sheila Jones, Prevost Okay, North Cowichan Home Energy Challenge…I’m exhausted – can’t decide whether to cry, to go find someone to give me a hug, or now that today’s episode is over, maybe I’ll laugh! I have expended way more energy trying to save energy and take a bus than I ever do driving my car!

After 1.5 hours, I am back home – this starts out with planning my day, reading schedule, marking it out, etc. to take 1:05 p.m. bus from downtown.

That part was simple, arrive there to see a bus leave, but it said nothing like the bus and name planned from last week’s learnings. Went inside, they were no help, went to a different waiting bus outside – yes, I have the new schedule, but that was your bus leaving already – “but it didn’t say Quamichan, it said Crofton” (but told it was the right bus? Huh, but it wasn’t going where I wanted and was told it would be going) – back inside, no, that wasn’t the right one, but sometimes they don’t change their signs until after they have left (like, duh?). Now, that doesn’t sit well.

No one there was straightening me out, so I decided to go to transit office and figure this out. I was then given totally wrong directions to the office, and in the wrong area, no one would talk or help when I was in wrong area – no help.

Finally a man with a brand new phone experimented, but couldn’t help, but sort of steered me in the right direction. Only half helped, so finally I called the number on the schedule and they gave me wrong directions to the office! (Turns out it was a call centre.)

Nearly an hour has passed by now – and I found it, only because a bus was pulling out from between two buildings!

Man in the office was no more help, finally (turns out the shop steward) comes along, we go outside and had a great chat – the schedule isn’t in effect until next week!

Now, do I cry, go look for a hug, or laugh? One and a half hours to save energy, North Cowichan Home Energy Challenge, and I still haven’t done my transportation thing!

Heather Taylor, Chemainus This past week’s focus was transportation. This is probably the toughest for me. I drive a fuelefficient vehicle (Honda Fit) but found myself often in conversation about electric vehicles and am seriously considering one. I’ve managed to keep my speed down to 80-90 kilometres per hour. James and I will adjust our work schedules to carpool together once a week and I’m going to keep biking one to two days a week. My plan is to take the bus to work from Chemainus at least once and see if its do-able….definitely bit of resistance here as it means foregoing my 6 a.m. workout at Dragon Fitness!

The other thing James told me to say is that I noticed that when I reduced my speed I was also calmer, one of those unintended (and positive) consequences.

Tyrone Mills, Somenos Week two turned out better than we expected. With my long commute and school in Cobble Hill, we had to get creative to reduce our travel.

We are parking at one end of town (Beverly Corners or Superstore) and walking to all the other stops we have to make, rather than driving from store to store.

I was scheduled to attend two conferences this month and have decided to catch the sessions I care about online rather than attending in person. That will avoid flights to both Amsterdam and Boston.

We just started composting our biodegradable diapers (wet ones only) and in two days we have diverted over six kilograms from the landfill.

The focus of this next week is water conservation, so we’ll be continuing our efforts and trying to expand on our grey water capture/re-use.

One of the most interesting things that has happened, is people that we don’t know asking us about the challenge and what we are doing and how it is going.

Franya Jedwab, Crofton This week we really focused on reducing our waste, as well as reducing our carbon footprint with transportation. We have become very aware of purchasing products where packaging can be recycled, instead of having to be thrown away. Last week, we did not even have enough garbage to bring to the curbside for pick up! We have started to brainstorm

ways of reducing our vehicles’ usage, and had a lot of consideration around carpooling options and busing ideas. Crofton is quite small, so it is easy to bike together to the grocery store here and this makes it a car-free zone.

Noni Battye, Maple Bay Wow! We can’t believe another week has flown by. With the focus on transportation this week, we took a look at what we have been doing to get us from A to B. As Sean and I both work in Lake Cowichan, walking or biking to work isn’t an option. We do, however, cut costs and cars on the road by carpooling with one or more colleagues.

We also make sure our van is regularly serviced so it isn’t leaking anything. Juggling after school/evening activities isn’t always easy but we try to combine them into one trip, often meaning that one or two of us are reading or doing homework while we wait for another to finish and on to the next activity. Trips into town from Maple Bay are often combined with a list of errands to avoid more frequent trips. One of our goals is to start using the bus more often to get to appointments or meetings.

Editor’s note: The Municipality of North Cowichan has chosen five households who will compete to see who can lower their energy use the most over the five weeks from Sept. 21 to Oct. 6 in the Community for Climate Household Challenge. The Citizen is checking in with the participants each week for tips, tricks and to find out how it’s going.

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