The arrival of winter means many households will be using more energy to heat their homes for the next several months.
But keeping the house warm and bright during the long winter season comes at a cost, according to ENMAX, which launched its Winter Wise campaign earlier this month. Corry Poole, the company’s vice-president customer experience, said the campaign is a collection of energy-saving tips for families to consider – helping both the environment and their own pocketbooks.
“We do know that during the winter, our days are certainly colder and the nights are longer,” she said. “With that, the average Albertan will consume more electricity and natural gas to light and heat their home.”
Poole said for every 10 C the temperature drops below zero, the average household will consume upwards of 40 per cent more natural gas and eight per cent more electricity.
“We wanted to come out...with some tips in order for Albertans to be proactive, and apply a few things in their home that are cost-effective and economical,” she said.
Cost-cutting ideas include changing furnace filters on a regular basis, resisting the urge to crank the thermostat at night and ensuring furniture, rugs and other items aren’t blocking vents, as airflow is key for heating efficiency.
When doing laundry, Poole said, running the washing machine on a cold setting and hanging wet clothes on a rack instead of using a dryer is a great way to use less energy.
For families that have decorated their households for Christmas, Poole said, LED bulbs are the most efficient type of lights.
Remembering to “harness the sun” is another way to conserve energy that many people may not realize, according to Poole.
“In Alberta, we have one of the sunniest provinces,” she said. “When you get up in the morning, just open the blinds and curtains to let that natural light in throughout the day – just be sure to close your blinds and curtains when the sun goes down, so you can trap some of that warm air within your home.”
Another energy-saving tip that people might be unfamiliar with is using a Crock-pot to prepare meals instead of a stove, which uses more energy.
“It’s a great time of year to be using a slow cooker, because on those cold days, we like to make stews and chilli,” she said. “The great thing about slow cookers is you can cook in bulk, and save those leftovers up for other meals when you’re not having to use your stove.”
If this winter is anything like last year’s, ENMAX’s energy-saving tips could come in handy. Poole said last February’s polar vortex – when temperatures in Alberta regularly plummeted to below -30 C – resulted in calls from more than 30,000 ENMAX customers.
“This year, we wanted to put the information out in advance of the cold winter months and allow that information to be available to all Albertans,” she said.
“It’s a great thing for the environment, but another great reason to keep energy consumption down would be to reduce our overall cost.”
More information can be found at enmax.com/winterwise