Participate in Earth Hour
Take part in Earth Hour by turning lights out from 8:30 - 9:30 p.m. on the last Saturday in March.
Earth Hour is a global campaign to raise awareness for environmental issues and contemplate the most important thing we have in common - our planet. This year, Winnipeggers will join hundreds of millions of people around the world as they symbolically switch off their lights for one hour. During Earth Hour, only security and safety lighting will remain on at City Hall.
Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia and has grown to a global movement observed in over 150 countries and territories.
The best outcome from Earth Hour is that we all take action to reduce our energy use every day. Here are some ways you can do this at home, provided by Climate Change Connection and World Wildlife Federation Canada:
- Turn your thermostat down in winter. During the winter, turn down your thermostat a couple degrees when you aren't home, and then again at night (it's healthier!)
- Turn your thermostat up in summer. In summer, turn the temperature setting UP (25°C instead of 20°C) on your air conditioner if you are leaving your home for the day. Your home will be tolerably cool when you return and your cooling system will not have been working hard all day for no one. Adjust to the ideal temperature when you will be home for an extended time. Shut it off completely if you are leaving for several days.
- Install a programmable thermostat. Installing a programmable thermostat is one of the least expensive ways to lower your home heating and cooling bill. These thermostats raise and lower the temperature automatically. In winter, you can save 3 - 4% on your heating bill by turning your thermostat down 3°C for at least eight hours every day. If you also set your programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature during the day while you are away at work, you will see additional savings.
- Use blinds and drapes. If you don't have them, get them! Window coverings keep the heat of sun out during the summer days, lowering cooling costs. The same blinds and drapes trap heat inside during cold winter nights, keeping you warm and more energy-efficient.
- Turn off lights when you aren't in the room. Would you leave your car running for hours on end if you weren't in it? Same idea.
- Use motion detectors for outdoor lights. Instead of leaving lights on all night, use a detector that only comes on when you need it.
- Air dry dishes. Prop open the door and dry your dishes -- without spending a cent! The warm, moist air will be welcome during dry winter conditions. During the summer, minimize the heat added to your home by running the dishwasher during the evening and skipping the heat-generating dry cycle.
- Smaller appliances use less energy. Many meals can be easily and efficiently cooked in an electric frying pan or toaster oven. Electric kettles are the best choice for boiling water. Downsizing your appliance use will add up to big energy savings.
- Turn down your hot water heater. Turn your water heater down to 54°C. This will save you money and keep you from burning your hands. If your heater doesn't have a temperature gauge, run a meat thermometer under the hot water for a reading.
- Use a clothesline or drying rack. Do you really need to use a dryer? Some items never need to see the inside of a dryer -- rags, socks, dishcloths and pillowcases don't need fluffing. Passing on the dryer extends the lifespan of all your clothes. Drying your laundry on an indoor line or rack during the winter also adds welcome moisture to the air.
- Climate-friendly mower options. New electric models are cordless, rechargeable and do not require oil, gas, a starter rope or tune-ups. Solar models harness the sun's energy to get the job done. Better yet, manual equipment provides light exercise while keeping your green space trimmed.
- Plant trees strategically. Trees can help you save money on your energy bill and reduce GHG emissions from home heating and cooling. Plant evergreens on the north side of your home for shelter from winter winds. On the south side, plant leafy species for cool summer shade and warm winter sunlight.
- Drive Less. Instead of taking the car, why not walk, bike or take transit. Cars and trucks run on fossil fuels, which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
- Buy local and sustainable food. The average food product travels about 2,000 kilometres before it reaches your table. Along the way it burns up energy - creating greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change - as it's packaged, shipped and stored. WWF-Canada has created Sustainable Food Buying Guides for regions across the country to help Canadians shop sustainably. The guides are free and available at http://wwf.panda.org/get_involved/live_green/out_shopping/.
- Recycle, reduce and reuse. Recycling saves a lot of energy needed to extract, process, transport and make new materials and products. Recycle 100% of your glass, aluminum, plastic, and paper and compost your organic waste.
- Make sure your dishwasher and washing machine are always full before you run them as this will save energy and money.
- Weather-proofing your home is a great way to save energy. Caulk your doors and windows, add insulation or add shades to use in the summer!
- Fix leaking faucets. The constant drip wastes water, energy and money, so repair them as soon as possible.
- Unplug appliances and phone chargers when they aren't in use. If they're plugged in, they're drawing energy and costing you money.
For more solutions to home energy use, visit Efficiency Manitoba.