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Tips offered on how to cut energy costs
Arctic Energy Alliance holds winterization workshops

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, December 15, 2011

From using heat shrink plastic on windows to replacing old or inefficient dryer vents, there are lots of things people can do to help conserve energy in the winter.

NNSL photo/graphic

Linda Todd, a special projects co-ordinator with the Arctic Energy Alliance, demonstrates the use of a thermal leak detector during a workshop on winterization the Alliance held in Fort Simpson on Dec. 1. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

Linda Todd, a special projects co-ordinator with the Arctic Energy Alliance, covered a number of the energy-saving measures during a winterization workshop held in Fort Simpson on Dec. 1.

"It's not glamorous, high tech," said Todd.

By doing a lot of little things people will start to see savings, she said.

One of the Alliance's goals is to promote energy conservation. The winterization workshop was all about how to reduce electrical, water and heating costs and create a more comfortable living environment, said Todd.

During a one-hour afternoon workshop, Todd introduced 27 women to projects they could use in their homes or apartments.

Applying energy-conservation measures is the least costly and most effective way to reduce energy bills, she said.

A series of videos provided step-by-step instructions for the workshop's participants on how to replace exterior weather stripping, install a block heater timer, plug air leaks in walls and around windows, and seal electrical outlets, among other tips.

One of the most effective ways to keep heat in homes in the winter is to put heat shrink plastic on windows, said Todd.

"No matter how well made, there is a heat loss with windows," she said.

To illustrate the point, Todd demonstrated how to use a thermal leak detector and an infrared thermometer to detect surface temperatures. The detector showed the windows in the Dehcho First Nations' boardroom, where the workshop was held, were a number of degrees cooler than the surrounding walls.

Many of the products people can use to winterize their house, including a programmable thermostat and a weather stripping bar for a door, were given away as door prizes at the workshop.

"It's very informative," said Ria Letcher, one of the participants.

The winterization workshop was one in a series Todd and Teresa Chilkowich, the Alliance's community energy project co-ordinator for the Deh Cho, offered in the village during the week. An earlier workshop on safe and efficient wood heating was held on Nov. 30.

Approximately seven people attended another workshop that covered the difference between older wood stoves and new energy efficient ones.

Part of the workshop focused on the safety aspects of using and maintaining a wood stove.

The workshop is designed to increase awareness and to promote the use of wood stoves, said Todd. It's useful information for people who are thinking of changing to a wood stove or purchasing a new one.

New energy-efficient wood stoves have a number of features that create a more efficient burning chamber.

The new stoves burn the particulate matter that escapes in the smoke from older stoves, leading to an up to 90 per cent reduction in smoke, said Todd. The new stoves also have an up to 30 per cent higher efficiency.

"You're getting more heat from less wood," she said.

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