NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

'Energy conservation is king'
Cost-saving measures shared at Inuvik Energy Fair

Miranda Scotland
Northern News Services
Published Monday, January 28, 2013

There is no point in residents investing in alternative power sources if they haven't reduced their energy consumption as much as possible, said energy management specialist Ken Baigent.

"Energy conservation is king," said Baigent, an Arctic Energy Alliance (AEA) employee.

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to reduce power consumption is to airseal the home. Residents can do this by using caulking or spray foam to fill gaps around where wires and pipes enter the home, he said.

Arctic Energy Alliance program co-ordinator Linda Todd suggested some other cost-saving measures for residents to try.

"When (construction workers) put the window in they have to level it to fit it in and that gap in many homes is not filled," Todd said, instructing residents to carefully remove the trim around the window, insert foam rope into the gap and then put the trim back on.

Another cost-saving measure, she said, is to switch all incandescent bulbs in the home to LED or compact fluorescent lights. The next steps would be to purchase Energy Star appliances, put plastic around windows and invest in power bars.

"Most electric appliances have an automatic on, so they're taking a little bit of power all the time," Todd explained.

With a power bar, the flow of energy to that equipment is stopped with a flick of a switch.

Baigent, Todd and other AEA employees visited Inuvik from Jan. 13 to 15 for the town's energy fair, which was held at the Midnight Sun Complex. Businesses such as Inuvik Gas, La Crete Sawmills and Blaze King also set up booths at the event.

Todd encouraged visitors to look at pellet stoves and Blaze King's woodstoves. Both units have disadvantages and advantages.

In a nutshell, pellet stoves are generally more convenient and safer than woodstoves but chopped wood, which is usually cheaper than pellets, can't be used to fuel them.

Residents who settle on pellet stoves also need to consider a number of factors before purchasing one, said Todd. First, they need to look at how much space they are planning to heat, where they are going to buy the pellets and whether they have access to a Wood Energy Technology Transfer (WETT) technician. Pellet stoves can't be installed without a WETT technician.

Also, program co-ordinator Steve Outlet added, residents have to be prepared to handle the upkeep.

"You just can't leave them and forget them," Outlet said. "They're not as maintenance-free as an oil furnace."

Like pellet stoves, Baigent said, there are a number of factors to consider when looking at renewable energy sources.

In the case of solar energy, for instance, residents have to consider the best angle to tilt the panels, how best to attach the sheets and whether there are any objects that will cast a shadow on the panels.

"Solar development can occur in the Northwest Territories if it's set up properly," he said.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.