LEED AP – Vice Chair – Reliance Home Comfort
Mr. Brydon is currently a Senior Account Executive with Reliance Home Comfort where he supports New Product Development projects within their Builder Markets Group. He is both a LEED Accredited Professional, and an NRCan Certified Energy Evaluator with the EnergyStar and Energuide programs. In addition to his role as Vice Chair with Sustainable Buildings Canada, he has also served as Chair of the Canada Green Building Council – Greater Toronto Chapter and is a past Board Director for BILD, the Building Industry and Land Development Associations (formerly Greater Toronto Home Builders Association and The Urban Development Institute).
Back to school: A valuable lesson on reducing electricity costs
The alarm clock buzzes an hour earlier, signalling the start of a new school year. I look into my teen daughter’s room and am reminded of a scene from our camping trip: dozens of little green, red and amber lights flickering in the darkness…the eyes of chipmunks, raccoons, even a bear, reflected in the beam of my flashlight.
But in my daughter’s bedroom, those flickering lights are LEDs, gently reminding me that her iPod, iPad, cell phone, laptop, desktop PC, bedside radio, TV, CD and VCR player, even her curling iron, are all, like my daughter, asleep. But each of those appliances are still consuming energy. I walk down to the kitchen and the coffee maker is winking at me, along with the countertop radio, the rechargeable phone and the rest of the household communication devices, camera and thingamajig chargers. As homework looms, so to will the tools of learning – multiple media devices, calculators and rechargeable pencil sharpeners – they all come out of the closet to be left on and added to my energy bill.
We’ve all heard of the ecoENERGY audits and water audits, but how about a lifestyle audit? Do you know how much energy all of these devices consume? When was the last time you actually used that combination rechargeable hedge and beard trimmer?
In-home energy monitors like the OWL or Watt DR can help in recognizing and putting a stop to what is referred to as phantom energy loads. These monitors let you see how much electrical energy you are consuming in real time, and help you communicate the value of not only shutting off those wasteful appliances but disconnecting them from the power supply with a power bar.
Once you’ve installed them, start by shutting off all of your non-essential appliances and disconnecting them from their outlets (but leave on the furnace and fridge). The display will tell you how many dollars and cents per hour it is costing you to operate these basic appliances — your baseline. Now plug all of the appliances back in again without switching them on. The difference between your baseline and the new reading is your phantom power load.
“What’s this cup doing in the shower”, asks my daughter from behind the bathroom door as she prepares for her first back to school shower. “When the cup is full, it’s time to get out,” I reply. Electrical and hot water expenses are greatly affected by your family’s lifestyle. Do some homework and examine what you can do to reduce “your back to school energy consumption.” Here’s your top 5 vampire killers!
- Connect multiple nearby appliances to a powerbar and power them all down with one click.
- Go room to room and disconnect anything you are not using every day (like clock radios in the spare bedroom).
- When buying any new appliances, always choose an Energy Star-rated model.
- Install a plug with a timer to shut down power completely overnight.
- Remove battery and cell phone chargers from the socket when you are not using them.