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Group takes climate change effort home

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 12/01) - Ecology North is planning a home-based approach to climate change.

The Yellowknife-based environmental group is organizing a campaign, modelled on the Yukon's House Calls 2000 program, aimed at reducing wasteful energy consumption in city homes.

Energy use

- Electrical: 38%
- Space heating: 62%

Energy costs

- Electrical: 60%
- Space heating: 40%

Single biggest expense: water heaters account for over half of the electrical bills for most homes.

Note: based on space heating using heating oil and electric hot water heating.

Source: Arctic Energy Alliance

"I think that's what we want to look at, things that are really easy for people to do," said Ecology North's Doug Ritchie during an organizational meeting Thursday evening.

Between September 2000 and August 2001, Yukon Conservation Society representatives visited just under 1,500 households, mostly in smaller communities on diesel generated power.

During each visit, YCS representatives informed residents how their energy use was linked to climate change. Home owners were given free insulating blankets for their hot water tanks, a low-flow shower head and an energy efficient light bulb.

"People were keen to find out what they could do to not only save energy, but to make their homes more comfortable," said Craig Olsen, the Yukon Conservation Society member who spearheaded the program.

Olsen said saving money was another reason homeowners took advantage of the House Calls program.

At Thursday evening's meeting, John Carr, energy management specialist for the Arctic Energy Alliance, gave an overview of home energy use and costs.

Carr brought along a selection of energy-saving devices, including a low-flow shower head, programmable thermostat, timers, materials to seal in heat and a variety of energy saving light bulbs.

Ritchie said government funding will determine the scope of the program.