It's just like your mom always said when you were a kid: put on a sweater.
FortisBC is teaming up with local business groups, including right here in Maple Ridge, to promote energy conservation and helping the less fortunate.
This Feb. 2 to 9 is Turn Down the Heat Week in a number of B.C. communities, in which homeowners and business proprietors are being urged to set the thermostat just a little bit lower. Simultaneously, local Business Improvement Associations (BIAs) and member merchants are taking in donations of sweaters for those in need.
It's easy to push the thermostat up and bask as warm air comes out of the vents. But that air is warmed by the combustion of non-renewable natural gas, or in some rare cases, by electricity created by damming mighty B.C. rivers.
Saving energy is a good philosophy, and one that shouldn't be practised just one week of the year. We have four to six damp and cool months every year in B.C., sometimes including June. A sweater, a pair of warm socks, and blanket while settled in for a night of TV are easier on both environment and bank balance than cranking up the furnace.
The simple lesson from our mothers' call to put on a sweater can be expanded out from there. Which is cheaper, putting more insulation in a house, or putting in a bigger furnace? In the long run, it's no contest, even if high-grade insulation is a bigger up-front cost.
In the summer, the same thing applies to air conditioning. The way we build our homes and offices, from double-glazed windows to the colour of paint to the use of shade trees, can make a big difference and cut down on the energy we expend.
Here in B.C., we're not known for dealing well with the cold, compared to the rest of Canada. We should acknowledge that making a home a couple of degrees cooler is still better than moving to Winnipeg.