Energy Conservation Week: May 17 – 23/09

The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has come belatedly to the realization that we all need to practice energy conservation in a big way (i.e., simply not using energy that we really don’t need to use).

If we’d all focused on conservation all the way along, the Ontario government would not now be contemplating spending $26 billion on new nuclear capacity.(1)

I’m sorry to have to report that we individuals are plenty deeply implicated in this nasty situation.

Most of us use all sorts of ridiculous appliances and gadgets that are huge energy suckers. Did you know, for example, that plasma TV’s consume 4 times as much energy as the “old fashioned” kind? Maybe you didn’t – but now you do, hmm? Is this “convenience” really worth it? $26 billion in nukes? Well, give it some thought…

So, May 17 – 23rd is being used by the OPA to promote energy conservation. Their theme is “Count Me In,” and you can learn all about it here

If you want to download their poster with 100 tips, you’ll find it under the ‘Partners’ tab on that site.

We Canadians are overdue for some pretty strenuous energy use reduction, being major energy hogs on the world stage.

As simple a thing as all of us stopping using clothes dryers would take a very serious chunk out of our energy use. Use an outdoor clothesline or string some lines indoors – or use a sturdy wooden clotheshorse like the one I’ve been using for nigh on 30 years now. I do own a dryer (it was in this house when I bought it), but I doubt I use it more than a half-dozen times a year. Pretty simple and pretty “low tech,” huh? But something an awful lot of us could surely do….

Woodstock, Ontario now promotes an annual “Blackout Day” in commemoration of the major power blackout in August 2003. Go here to find out more. Why not consider coordinating a blackout day in your community?

“Off-grid” living – i.e., no dependence whatsoever on the big power boys and the electricity grid – certainly sets a gold standard example of energy conservation! Many groups now organize tours of off-grid, “sustainable” houses – and there are many ways to live off-grid: straw bale homes, Earthships, cob houses, etc. The use of residential solar and wind power is growing like a weed…and that’s a good thing!

If you like, take a virtual “tour” of green buildings around Ontario – a Clean Air Partnership initiative called “Green Doors Open.” You can find it here

You can also find a powerpoint presentation about sustainable building design here (3rd item down).

I have a friend who’s a very long-time energy conserver who’s created a list of energy-saving tips over the years to use at home to keep his personal consumption way down. I hope to get his permission to post it on this blog, so others can benefit from it.

Maurice Strong once pointed out “A citizen of an advanced industrialized nation consumes in six months the energy and raw materials that have to last the citizen of a developing country his entire lifetime.”

Are we comfortable with this dubious “distinction”?

Maybe lots of us will use Energy Conservation Week (and OPA’s four-month campaign) to start rassling with this, if we haven’t already done so.

It’s always good to remind ourselves, “If I’m not part of the solution, I’m part of the problem.”

The old environmentalist slogan “Think globally, act locally” is also still pretty darn good advice.


'Quotation for the day': “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait ‘til oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” – Thomas Edison (1847–1931)

(1) The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) in the U.S. has been preaching energy conservation since 1982. Conservation is not new… Check out RMI yourself!