I joined BC Hydro’s Team Power Smart and started a Reduction Challenge and, for the last two months, I have lowered my electricity use by twenty one percent! If you want some free energy saving tips, here is how I did it… This post is sponsored by BC Hydro.

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I thought I was pretty energy conscious. I tried to keep the heat turned down, I turned off lights when leaving a room, I used some energy efficient light bulbs, I only ran full loads of laundry, etc.

So, when I took the BC Hydro Team Power Smart Challenge in October, I didn’t know if I would be able to reach the 10% reduction goal. “What more could I do?” I wondered.

But, after two months of following these power saving tips, I checked my results and my power use is down 21% from what I used in the same time period last year. Twenty One Percent! I can’t believe it.

Susan has also been doing the reduction challenge and she is thrilled with her results too. She is down 14% for her electricity use.

It feels incredible to know that making some simple changes and paying a bit more attention to our family’s power use has paid off so well.

Our Energy Saving Plan

Both Susan’s house and mine are less than twenty years old, so they are quite energy efficient.

We don’t have single pane windows, leaky drafts or out-dated furnaces and our appliances are energy efficient.

We figured there wasn’t much more we could do to reduce our family’s energy usage.

But we decided to try and see what we could achieve by continuing to work on some basic energy saving ideas that we detailed in these three posts:

Here is a list of our favourite energy saving tips and the ones with which we had the best success:

1. Turning the Heat WAY down

Susan and I have always turned the heat down when we go to bed. We learned that from our mom and we never go to bed without adjusting the thermostat. During the day, we also tried to keep the house at a reasonable temperature.

But this fall we have been extra daring, seeing how low we can go with our thermostat — and it has paid off!

Instead of just lowering the temperature a few degrees over night, we have turned it all the way down so the furnace doesn’t even come on during the night.

To compensate, we put extra blankets on our beds and in the morning we turn on the heat before the kids get up.

My teenage son heads straight to the shower when he wakes up and has never even mentioned to me that the house is cold.

If my ten year old daughter is a bit cold and resisting climbing out of her warm bed, I simply use the hair dryer for about 15-30 seconds to warm up her bath robe. Then I give it to her to crawl into while she is still under the covers.

Works like a cozy charm.

During the day, when the kids are at school and we are working from home, we keep the heat turned down and keep bundled up with blankets and sweaters while we work.

2. Keeping the Lights Off

I am confident that a large part of our reduced energy comes from using less electricity lighting our homes.

This time of the year it gets dark so early, it is tempting to keep all the lights on in the house to light up life a bit more.

Instead, to help fight off the dismal winter blues, I use the “energize” and “concentrate” settings on my Philips Hue A19 Smart LED Light Bulbs while I work.

Despite the short winter days, we are having success using less energy for lighting in three ways:

  1. Using energy efficient light bulbs like these LED lights we blogged about here…
  2. Using task lighting, such as a reading lamp, to only light the area we are working in.
  3. Turning off every single light that we do not NEED to have on. We try to make it a fun game to see how many lights we can remember to turn off and how few lights we can have on at one time.

3. Using Less Water — and Less Hot Water

Our motivation to become energy efficient isn’t just about the electricity bill. We all want to be more environmentally conscious and help our planet.

Every drop of water we save helps everyone.

We are working to conserve water by taking shorter showers, using a timer to help kids who tend to get lost in the luxury of cascading hot water, and turning off the water while brushing our teeth, etc.

4. Doing Less Laundry

Speaking of using less water, we are making an effort to do less loads of laundry by reusing bath towels, re-wearing clothes that are still clean enough instead of leaving them in a heap on the floor, and making sure a load is full before running the machine.

And, of course, we try to wash in cold water as often as possible.

Not only do we save water by not running the machine as often, we save on the electricity to heat the water and run the machine.

5. Hanging Clothes to Dry

Personally, I don’t like to iron. I am sure you don’t either. I mean, who likes to iron?

So, when I hang my clothes to dry instead of using the clothes dryer, I not only save energy but I avoid ironing.

When I take the clothes out of the washing machine, I put them in the dryer for a few moments to fluff them and then I hang them to dry.

Hanging the clothes gets rid of wrinkles for me and so I rarely have to iron. Win win.

6. Unplugging Unused Electronics

I admit, unplugging electronics that we aren’t using is a bit annoying and hard to remember to do.

But according to BC Hydro, standby power can account for 10% of an average household’s annual electricity use!

So we are all getting better at unplugging our chargers, computers, appliances, etc.

7. Avoiding the Oven

Finally, when possible, we are using smaller appliances to cook rather than the oven.

So instead of heating up the oven — and the entire house — we use our toaster oven, slow-cooker, pressure cooker, or air fryer instead.

Have you started using an Instant Pot yet? Check out our latest Instant Pot recipes for Instant Pot Risotto and Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken Recipe.

Take The Team Power Smart Challenge

If you live in British Columbia, BC Hydro wants to pay YOU to reduce your electricity bill!

Yes, BC Hydro is making it even more enticing to be smart with your power. If you reduce your power use by 10% over the 12 months, BC Hydro will pay you a $50 reward.

If you don’t live in British Columbia, we want to encourage you to get your family to make your own challenge. Talk to your kids about saving power and challenge yourselves to cut the amount you spend on electricity by 10% over the next year. Set a family goal and have fun trying to reach it.

For those of us who live in BC, we can join BC Hydro’s Team Power Smart and start an electricity Reduction Challenge.

How are you going to do it? BC Hydro will help…

With their Team Power Smart challenge you simply become a member of Team Power Smart and start a challenge to reduce your electricity use by 10% over the next 12 months.

If you’re successful, (let’s use some positive language, “when you’re successful,”) you’ll earn a $50 reward.

So, let’s do that math. You reduce your energy use by 10%, (that means you pay LESS money to BC Hydro,) AND they give you a $50 reward.

That is definitely a WIN-WIN situation.

How to Join the Team Power Smart Challenge

Okay — so you want to save money and get money from BC Hydro. But, this needs to be quick and painless. I understand. None of us has time to spare.

 

Fortunately, the process is simple. To be eligible you just need to be a BC Hydro residential account holder with 12 months of billing history at the same address.

  1. Start with creating an online MyHydro profile and link your BC Hydro account to it. Doing this gives you access to your bill, detailed electricity use graphs, Team Power Smart and other self-serve functions.
  2. Join Team Power Smart once you are logged into your BC Hydro online account.

    You’ll see a Green box “Join Team Power Smart” or join at at com/teampowersmart

    • Choose how to receive TPS emails and newsletters
    • Accept the Terms & Conditions
  3. Start a 10% electricity Reduction Challenge.

    You must have lived at least one year at your current residence (with billing history) to start a Reduction Challenge.

    • Navigate to the Team Power Smart Member Toolbox
    • Click on the “Start a Challenge” button.

BC Hydro wants to make sure you succeed in the Team Power Smart challenge as you reduce your power usage and lower your electricity bill, so they have compiled a helpful list of 21 no-cost ways to save electricity.

For more tips and to start a Team Power Smart Challenge, visit BC Hydro at bchydro.com/teampowersmart and follow them at:

Facebook: bchydro

Twitter: @bchydro

Instagram: @bchydro

YouTube: BC Hydro