Saturday, March 3, 2007

Missing the Target on Energy Conservation

British Columbia is again talking about energy and this time they’re pushing for more consumer conservation.

The new B.C. energy plan encourages residents to turn down their thermostats and live in more energy-efficient homes.

Under the new plan consumers will also end up paying more during peak energy hours and may have ‘smart’ meters installed in their homes to track the amount of power they use each hour.

Conserving energy should be a main target for big city centers, like Vancouver, that want to improve their sustainability. But, far too much emphasis is being placed on the average homeowner and not enough on big businesses and energy wasters.

On any given day you can walk down Vancouver’s sidewalks and see thousands of streetlights needlessly lighting up empty alleys, thousands of closed stores with their lights on and countless buildings with illuminated hallways and offices.

Realistically, the majority of the power-wasting is being perpetrated by those who can afford to do so.

Not surprisingly, if you take a stroll down some of the wealthier areas of Vancouver, you will notice more front lights, track lighting and ornamental lights on than you would in poorer areas of the city.

If anything, there should be caps on the total amount of energy that can be consumed per household each month.

Instead of forcing the consumer to pay more, and the poor to freeze more during the winter and sweat out the summer, regulations should force businesses and the upper crust to give up some of their electrical luxuries.

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