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Gotta Catch'em all

by Nicole Bogdanovic
August 15, 2016

Energy efficiency

​When an afternoon of searching the neighbourhood for virtual characters with your eight year old eats up 95 per cent of your data plan, you learn pretty quickly how to use Wi-Fi in airplane mode and focus your search in Wi-Fi hot spots.

You can use similar insight to manage your energy use.

As a FortisBC natural gas or electricity customer, you have access to a very insightful consumption graph when you register for Account Online.

This makes it easy to detect spikes in your natural gas and electricity use. Arguably, this is less fun than detecting virtual characters in your laundry room, but very helpful in determining what could be impacting your energy costs. It's the energy use equivalent of "staying aware of your surroundings."

Case in point — here’s the electricity consumption for my home. Anyone care to guess when we switched on our air conditioner?

Account Online also allows me to dig a little deeper. When I click “View additional consumption history,” I can see my energy use for different timeframes and compare that usage to the previous year.

This gives me a pretty clear picture of what to expect if I don’t take action.

Managing air conditioner use in a hot Okanagan summer is a little trickier than switching to airplane mode but there are steps I can take like pulling down the shades, resetting my programmable thermostat a few degrees higher, and having a conversation with my family about closing the windows and doors (and opening them at night to let the cool air in).

And as these tools improve, I may be even able to see the impact of my manic pie-making day in August which I’m sure will be great motivation for learning how to use the time-delay feature on my oven.

Reality is, Okanagan summers are hot and my family loves pie almost as much as online games, so I am also willing to accept a certain amount of higher usage to keep my home bearable and make use of that abundant Okanagan fruit. This is much like being willing to turn on data to catch an iconic yellow character, but then again, I have a soft spot for electric types.