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Conserving energy this winter

Dave Sullivan
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Sep 24/01) - It's late, you have the munchies, but your brain is in neutral, unable to tell the hand to pick something.

Opening the fridge tends to cause minds to go blank, and send energy bills skyward. - Dave Sullivan/NNSL photo

We all do it - staring blankly into the open fridge, hoping for a tasty miracle to appear, like a chunk of dried caribou or maybe something chocolate.

"A lot of the time, when people put stuff in their fridge it's not organized," says Nunavut Power Corp. worker Jobie Inuya from his office in Iqaluit.

Why would he care about the sloppy but nonetheless private fridge-organizing habits of law-abiding Northerners?

He and others workers with the Nunavut Power Corp. are concerned, and they're anxious to pass on energy conservation tips.

The corporation burns about 30 million litres of diesel fuel each year just to generate electricity.

Fridges are hungry machines

Refrigerators, Inuya says, are one of the three most electricity-hungry things in homes, right up there with the oven and clothes dryer.

"Each time you open the fridge, dollar signs are getting out. Know what's in it. A lot of people even open the door to get a drink, and leave it open while they get a glass."

The same principle applies to the oven. Try to cook more than one thing at a time.

"People like to check on their cooking but they forget to use the light. Whenever you open the door it sets the oven temperatures way back."

More electricity is consumed as the oven elements turn back on to restore the temperature.

Clothes dryers, with their high-resistance heating coils, are also energy hogs. Hang clothes to dry whenever possible, Inuya suggests.

When the dryer must be used, "avoid small loads and use the timer. Turning the coils on and off when you check on your load burns a lot of electricity."

Where there's a dryer there's a washer. Inuya reminds homeowners that the machines have water level settings, and that many forget to reduce the full-load setting when "just washing a pair of pants."

Other pointers? There's the obvious, like dropping the home thermostat down a couple degrees and wearing a sweater. ven oil-fired furnaces use electricity to get going.

No longer part of the NWT Power Corp., Nunavut Power is working on pans to help people learn about saving electricity. "We'll by trying to continue that," says Inuya. Plans being made for NPC to build its own Web site.