Nunavut needs energy conservation programs


I would like to make a few comments to Nunavut residents regarding energy use in Nunavut that I hope will get people thinking.

It is obvious to me that something must be done about the way we treat energy soon, as the current system is extremely expensive, inefficient and damaging to the environment. With our growing population, high cost of living and other costly problems, energy is the one area where we can actually save money and build for a future of self-sufficiency.

Only, however, if we begin to alter our present practices.

I am personally involved in efforts to install and maintain wind turbines in Cambridge Bay, as that is one fairly obvious way to improve our energy situation, but what all of us really need to do is to look at our own consumption of heat and power, and at our appliances, light fixtures and other uses of energy and think of the bigger picture as we buy, install or use them.

Use fluorescent lights, keep windows and doors sealed, and try to buy the best and most efficient appliances even if there is more initial cost and inconvenience in doing so. Governments need to look at ways to make their subsidies work toward long-term reduction in energy use, instead of making us complacent about the way things are.

Consider rebates on fluorescent fixtures, financial rewards for using less electricity, and other innovative and progressive ideas. Help our power corporation with their efforts to use waste heat and with other projects, such as wind energy and micro-hydro.

Hamlets should examine such things as waste-water recycling, co-generation of power, and co-operation with retailers and organizations to encourage the sale and use of efficient appliances, especially horizontal axis washers.

Existing organizations such as the Arctic Energy Alliance should do more to actively promote their recommendations, especially to ordinary residents. Schools should include responsible energy use awareness in their curriculum.

Energy costs are a huge part of the overall cost of living in Nunavut, and that cost of living must come down for us to really have a decent lifestyle and a healthy economy. With lower energy costs, Nunavut can reduce its dependence on the south, and lower the cost of living.

Greenhouses, bakeries, tanneries and other industries now not viable, could become so once we have driven electricity or heat costs down far enough. Existing activities, too, will become better, larger, and more profitable with lower costs. Lower energy costs should drive down grocery prices, decrease the pressures on families, increase local jobs, and stretch the buying power of Nunavut residents.

All these things are crucial for the future of our children. When it comes to the use of energy in Nunavut, the old adage “the easiest dollar to make is the one you save” is particularly relevant, and it is time we all started applying this old bit of wisdom. When so much of our economy depends on the south and its taxpayers, to do otherwise is irresponsible.

Peter VandenBrink
Cambridge Bay

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