The polar vortex phenomenon
There’s no doubt about it — Canadians have experienced a long, harsh winter this year. Temperatures plummeted, the snowfall seemed endless and many of us became familiar with the weather phenomenon known as the polar vortex.
While the mercury may have dipped, home heating bills certainly rose for some of us.
According to the Ontario Ministry of Energy, heating and cooling your home can account for approximately 60 per cent of your home energy costs, and with polar vortexes bearing down on us, that percentage seems destined to rise. While we can’t control the weather, the good news is we can control our energy use.
Cut energy, cut costs
There are many simple and cost-effective ways to reduce energy use and cut energy costs. The Ontario Ministry of Energy has a long list of recommended energy saving tips for homeowners:
- Pay attention to the time-of-use rates and shift your electricity consumption to off-peak hours.
- Unplug electronics when not in use and upgrade old appliances to more energy-efficient models.
- Replace leaky windows and doors, and weather-strip and caulk drafty areas in and outside your home.
- Program your thermostat and make sure your furnace and water heater receive regular maintenance checks.
Tuesday, April 22 is Earth Day
Earth Day is a modern environmental movement that encourages people worldwide to participate in activities that promote greener, more vibrant living. Take time this week to partake in an environmentally friendly activity that you can be proud of — whether it’s programming your thermostat, planting a tree or spending 20 minutes outdoors cleaning up litter in your community.
For more information on Earth Day activities happening in Vaughan, visit our online events calendar. For more information on how Vaughan is working to make Earth Day every day, visit www.vaughan.ca/environment to learn more about our ongoing environmental efforts.
Tracy Wright, MPhil Env.
Environmental Sustainability Office