One of the key factors that influenced our move into the Olympic Village was the advanced features for conserving energy and water. In our old apartment we stealthily replaced the old thermostat with a programmable one, but heating was included in the rent so we never knew what impact it had. Now, our energy use is front and centre – not only do we pay for it, but we have a monitor beside our front door that shows how much electricity, heating, hot water, and cold water we’re consuming in real-time.
That information has allowed us to be smarter about how we consume energy and water, but it does come with a cost. 30% of what we pay BC Hydro for electricity and 50% of what we pay Enerpro for heating and water are flat monitoring/usage fees – $15/month.
Last week we signed up for BC Hydro’s Team Power Smart Reward Initiative which promises to pay us $75 if we can reduce our electricity consumption by an average of 10% for a full year. We’re already very conscious consumers, so normally that wouldn’t be an easy task. However, on May 7 we cancelled our cable account with Shaw and got rid of the PVR/cable box. It’s amazing how much energy the PVR used, even when it wasn’t “on”. Our PVR was consuming 60 watts of electricity 24 hours a day – that works out to $3/month, or 25% of our electricity costs.
Since getting rid of the PVR, our electricity consumption dropped 15% in May and 21% in June. Right now we’re in good shape to get that $75 (plus $36 in electricity savings).
Because of the Enerpro billing mess, the city has been paying for our heating, hot water, and cold water bill, but that changed on July 1. Now we’re responsible for paying it (except cold water, but that doesn’t cost much anyway).
Our water consumption is quite low, especially compared to the average British Columbian that uses 490 litres of water per day. We’re averaging 86 L/ day for two people – 52 L of hot water and 32 L of cold water. Now that doesn’t include our dual-flush toilet (which is flushed using rain water, or will be once they fix the system), and doesn’t include laundry (we don’t have in-suite). For the average Canadian, toilets normally account for 30% of water consumption and laundry 20%. So our benchmark for water consumption would be 245 litres per person. That puts our consumption at 18% of the average BC couple.