Household Challenge Week 3 check-in:

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.

Tyrone Mills, Somenos For week three we maintained our water reduction levels, but didn’t manage to decrease it any further. Our grey water capture/reuse was expanded to the kitchen and bathroom sinks.

We are happy to say that in the three weeks we have been in this challenge we haven’t had to turn on a hose to water our garden once.

We have not yet managed to reduce our electrical consumption to less than $2 a day, but we are still working at it. There has been no need to run the furnace at all yet this fall thanks in large part to the attic insulation we added this spring, so our natural gas consumption is zero.

Our mentors are such a terrific source of information and encouragement and have helped us so much as we’ve gone through this challenge. After visiting our mentors at their home and seeing what they have accomplished, we

were left feeling even more excited and inspired than ever.

After our visit we purchased a number of books on permaculture and will be converting half of our front yard to a natural “forest garden” to complement our existing garden and nine fruit trees.

We have a lovely harvest of potatoes from our garden and apples from our trees, just in time for the “Eating Local” portion of the challenge. And to top it all off, this past week we have diverted over eight kilograms of diapers from the landfill.

Franya Jedwab, Crofton Last week was a lot of fun for the whole family and quite an active one.

Our mentor brought a windmill science experiment to put together, and we had fun learning about earth-friendly alternatives

to energy. We also set up a back yard clothes line to help reduce our energy use, which was fantastic and something we have wanted to do for quite some time.

We have also been very focused on reducing our water usage and installed all of the low-flow aerators for the sinks and shower So far, we have all learned more than we ever thought we would, and it has been exciting and interesting to learn about how others are doing in the challenge, and to spread information about what we are doing, so that others may learn, too.

Noni Battye, Maple Bay The water week was interesting for us.

At the beginning of the challenge, we figured that this would be a difficult one for us. We already did full loads only of laundry, ran

the eco-friendly dish washer on the shortest cycle, and have a couple of rain barrels. Now, we’re realizing how much more we can do. We’re looking at the low flow shower heads, dual flush toilets, and an upgraded timed sprinkler system for our garden (for when we’re allowed to water).

A highlight of our week was a visit with our great mentors, John and Susan, who showed us around their house, with their various green changes and their very large rain collector (way bigger than a barrel) which we’re now looking to get installed. Our family is definitely looking forward to the food challenge next week!

Heather Taylor, Chemainus The weeks go by so fast! Water… it’s so easy to obtain; just turn on a tap and out it comes. There seems an endless supply, and yet so much wastage. We can’t live without it yet we tend to use it, abuse it, and take it for granted, without the respect it deserves.

I calculated our water use in the first 13 days compared to the latter eight days and found our use was actually less per day in the beginning -112 units a day compared to 118. That seems a lot of water…certainly don’t use that much when camping! It’s like we have it, so we use it.

Sure we flush less (two to four times a day), use six litres instead of 11 litres for dishes, save the dishwater for the garden, keep showers under three minutes, turn off the shower when shampooing hair, changed over to lowflow shower head and learned to read the water metre, but I think more than anything I’ve changed my relationship with water and how I think about it.