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Updated: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 23:18:31 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

6 energy-saving tips as cold snap breaks Alberta record



CBC

CBC

This week's cold snap saw Albertans use a record amount of electricity.

Albertans exceeded previously set levels by using 11,139 megawatts of electricity Monday evening. 

"I think we always use these opportunities as a chance to remind Albertans to do their part and conserve whenever possible," said Dawn Delaney of the Alberta Electric System Operator — which oversees the provincial grid. 

But Alberta could set another record this week as the deep freeze continues, so officials are reminding residents there are ways to save on your energy bills.

Avoid running major appliances at peak times

Delaney says there is no danger of any outages because there is an adequate supply but it never hurts to avoid unnecessary power from 5-7 p.m. 

"In particular usually around that 6 p.m. mark when people are getting home now starting to do cooking, laundry, dishes — that sort of thing," said Doris Kaufmann-Woodcock of Enmax. 

Turn off unecessary lights

Alberta typically sets a new power consumption record on a cold day every winter because there are more people and businesses in the province each year. 

One of the best ways to reduce consumption is to remember to switch off the lights when you leave a room.

Program thermostat, lights on timers

It's the time of year when Christmas lights twinkle in homes around the province. Experts say you can save energy setting them to turn off during the day when you're not home.

Thermostats can also be programmed to reduce heating at night or when you are not home.

Invest in energy efficient light bulbs

Albertans rely heavily on electrical lighting during the dark winter nights, but energy efficient light bulbs can help reduce consumption.

Direct Energy says halogen lighting uses up to 40 per cent less energy than traditional bulbs.

Upgrade insulation, windows if needed

University of Calgary researchers are using infrared thermal imaging to measure heat slipping out of people's homes, which costs homeowners money and emits greenhouse gases.

The HEAT (Heat Energy Assessment Technologies) project features a free website — www.saveheat.co — that uses Google Maps.

It shows homeowners exactly where their homes are wasting heat, how much it's costing them and how to fix it.

High-efficiency furnaces

While energy can be saved by limiting the use of hot water in your home, there are also long-term savings in investing in an energy-efficient furnace.

Direct Energy also recommends installing a furnace filter alarm on your furnace, which will let you know when it is time to change your filters. 

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