How do you power a solar oven in the North, where winter sunlight is scarce? The trick is to harness every last ray. Use a cooking pot for the main body — black, to absorb sunlight — Plexiglas for insulation and an old satellite receiver to direct light beams onto the oven. Constructed by the Kitchen-Kuiack family, Energy Diet Challenge winners.
Pint-size energy-savers from Duncan Cran Elementary in Fort St. John, B.C. are setting the bar high for taking action. The school not only had the highest percentage of participation in the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge; the students have also been taking part in a green school program, completing 200 environmental projects, as well as being part of the Destination Conservation Program, a five year plan to reduce the school’s energy use as a community. A plus for getting involved! Championed by Duncan Cran Elementary.
Most people are used to having multiple gizmos plugged in 24/7. “One hour no power” is an Energy Diet Challenge- inspired program to unplug all devices and use zero power for an hour. If every B.C. resident were to try “One hour no power” just once a week, the province would save nearly 270 million kilowatt hours per year — enough to power about 24,500 homes. Masterminded by Drew Belbin, Energy Diet Challenge contestant.
Charging your laptop just got healthier. If you hook up a stationary bicycle to a 12-volt battery and start pedalling, you’ll generate enough power to fully charge 25 laptops in just 2½ hours. Discovered by a grade-five class at the Calgary Science School, Classroom Energy Diet Challenge contestants.
MAKING EVERY DROP COUNT
From washing up in the morning to brushing their teeth at night, a group of students averaged 335 litres of water per day, up to one-third of which is used for showers alone. If they each switched to low-flow showerheads, they would save around 20,800 litres of water per year, which would almost fill a large tanker truck. Not bad! Researched by students in a grade-eight class at A.V. Graham Elementary School, Classroom Energy Diet Challenge participants.
Helen and John Taylor, fuel economy specialists, coached Energy Diet Challenge contestants in smarter pedal pushing. How do they do it? Here’s one tip: travel light. For every extra 45 kilograms you carry in your car, your fuel efficiency can drop by up to two percent. Driven by the Khiroya family, winners of the Smarter Driver Challenge.
Reducing waste by composting, recycling and reusing is a great way to cut kilowatts. A grade one class in Scarborough, Ont., decided to see just how much the students could reduce their garbage. By packing lunches and snacks in reusable containers, using metal cutlery and recycling when possible, the keen kids cut their wet waste trash count by half in less than a month*! Let’s do the math: If all Ontario residents cut their trash by half, the province would save about 140 million green garbage bags of waste every year! Tracked by Mrs. D’Souza’s grade 1 class at The Divine Infant Catholic School in Scarborough, Ont.
TRAVEL IN ECO-STYLE
How many people can say they drive to work in a BMW? For Kim and Randy Doyle-Begg and many of their fellow Montréalers a BMW — bike, metro, walk — is their transportation of choice. The average commute in Montréal is about 16 kilometres one way, according to a 2006 survey. About 60 percent of Montréalers commute by car, but if they followed the Doyle-Beggs’ example and took advantage of the Montréal BMW, the city could save about 4 million litres of fuel per day. Travelled by the Doyle-Beggs, Energy Diet Challenge superstars.
This city quit its dirty habit by passing a bylaw that fines motorists for idling their cars longer than three minutes every hour. For the average vehicle with a three-litre engine, 10 minutes of idling wastes more than one-quarter of a litre of fuel. Inspired by the Gagnon-Morneau family, Energy Diet Challenge heroes.
The provinces and territories on this map are scaled to reflect their respective per capita energy-use values, measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). Transportation and climate influence how much energy we consume. Industrial activity, also incorporated in these values, is partly why people in the west appear to be energy-guzzlers. Because energy is less expensive where it’s produced, westerners tend to use more. Through the Energy Diet Challenge and the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge, six households and thousands of students found innovative ways to save energy. Their efforts show that every kilowatt cut tips the energy-use scale in a better direction.