A new survey from Direct Energy says that 64% of Canadians keep the summer temperature of their homes at 22 degrees or lower. Direct Energy considers that to be absolutely frigid and is encouraging people to reassess their energy habits.
Interestingly, the survey also concluded that half of Canadians do not know how much energy they consume. With a warmer than average summer predicted by Environment Canada, people should be aware of how much they use. Ontarians should especially take note because air conditioning systems are found in 80% of the province’s homes. Ontario has the highest penetration in Canada, compared to only 17% on the East coast and 20% in Alberta.
So, here’s a scenario. You live in Ontario. You work at a job where it is so cold inside that leaving work feels like walking into Mount Doom. You run your apartment air conditioner for hours but you don’t feel bad because it’s the cheapest unit Canadian Tire sells.It is 5200BTUs (about 1.5 kwh) and at a rate of 8.9 cents/kwh you are paying 13.35 cents an hour. That is not much but it could add up if you are using it often. Using it four hours a day, everyday, will result in a $16 bill at the end of the month. If you have a central air system (48000 BTUs), you’re paying $1.25 per hour. Assuming you have a large house to cool and it runs twice as much, your bill would be $300 per month. To caculate your own usage, look on your unit for how many kilowatts per hour it uses and then multiply by your energy rate.
According to the Ontario’s Ministry of Energy, every time the outside temperature rises above 16C it’s like adding a town the size of Burlington to the energy grid. That means the summer strain on Ontario’s system is extreme. Conservation is great way to ensure that prices stay low. Simple changes make a big difference so remember to turn up the thermostat a degree or two and upgrade to a modern, efficient unit.
In the midst of the green energy revolution, simple conservation has been largely forgotten despite the fact that individual efforts are essential. Let’s make sure we have enough power to avoid shortages and enjoy our summers long after this one.