North Cowichan Household Challenge Week 1 check-in:

. FOCUS: HOME ENERGY USE

All of the five participating households had an energy audit, and had monitors installed in their homes to measure their energy use. Here’s how the experience is going so far:

Heather Taylor, Chemainus

We LOVE the monitors! I am obsessively checking it every time I turn on the stove, the iron, lights, toaster oven…ooooh and the hot tub…might just have to unplug it for a bit. We compared the first three days with the three days of the previous week and found we had decreased our consumption by 30 per cent. Amazing how reliant we are on lights. We’re limiting out toilet flushes to four times a day and eating by candle light…very romantic 🙂 Dog poo in the garbage weighs a lot. What do other people do with their dog poo? Was turned onto David Suzuki’s website and James has now made a dog poo septic in our back yard. I love it. And I’ve passed this on to my friends and coworkers with dogs.

Tyrone Mills, Somenos

Week one has been both enlightening and encouraging. Going into this challenge we thought we were already doing almost everything we could to conserve energy. The energy meter that was installed for us last weekend has helped us realize how much we could still do to improve. By giving us the ability to measure our consumption in real time, we have an opportunity to understand the impact that our choices throughout the day have on our overall energy footprint.

We managed to take our baseline energy consumption from 2,072W to 645W during the first week of the challenge. To put that in terms of dollars and cents, we were averaging roughly $5/day in electricity, we are now under $2.50/day. So our $150/month in electricity will be less than $75/month going forward. We aren’t done with the energy conservation, in fact it has become part of our routine to check the monitor when we turn on a TV, plug in a phone charger, etc. I’m not sure how much lower we can realistically get our daily consumption, but I’d like to see it below $2/day before the end of the fifth week.

One of the ideas our mentors shared with us was to save the bath water when our kids bathe and use that to water our plants and trees. What a great idea, I wish I’d thought of this months ago!

This coming week we add transportation to the challenge. This one will be tough as I have a long commute and odd hours, but it might be time to check Ride-Share again just in case.

Noni and Sean Battye, Maple Bay

Our first week of the household challenge was very interesting. The kids were quite excited to watch the monitor to see how much energy we were using at any given time and what the changes were if the oven were on, the toaster, or washing machine. We figured out how to check our water meter, weighed our garbage, and also have been watching our hydro use. The biggest differences we’ve seen this week have been in turning lights off, unplugging items not in use, and in shorter showers. Our goals for this week are to start focusing on local foods and getting some of the insulating products put into the sockets.

Franya Jedwab, Crofton

I talked to my son (who is six) and my partner and we talked about how much learning has already begun in our first week and after meeting with our wonderful mentor, Reed.

Reed took us through a very interesting and helpful questionnaire and it was useful to think about our own personal values and prior understanding about energy conservation and then to learn about what we can now do to improve our household energy consumption and conservation.

We have begun the process of changing out light bulbs to the CFL bulbs that came in our energy kit. The kit was a fun and interactive way to go through the importance of energy saving for the planet (and in our household).

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