The refusal to change our habits
I am already experimenting with dynamic pricing with Hydro-Québec. Without making too many accommodations, I save on my annual bill by adapting my lifestyle. All household appliances are programmed, it’s not so bad to start the dishwasher or the washing machine in the evening. Programmable or connected thermostats can make our lives easier…why not take advantage of this technology to distribute our consumption? What I see when I hear these people who criticize is the refusal to change our consumption habits. Again. With all the environmental consequences that entails.
Program our devices
Over 40 years ago, I traveled to Germany to visit friends established there for the Canadian army. Already at that time, electricity was expensive, so the houses were equipped with small hot water tanks for the installations of the kitchen sink, the shower in the bathroom. This controlled consumption, because the tank emptied quickly! 10-minute showers, not possible! For years, manufacturers of dishwashers and clothes washers have offered the delayed start of these appliances, but here in Quebec, it was not widely used as a function because the price per kilowatt hour is always the same. This function will probably be more popular with the fluctuation of the rate of it. This is not at all restrictive for most households. There are also devices that work with Bluetooth that are easy to program! It’s another way of realizing that you have to consume in moderation and it’s no more restrictive than learning to recycle or compost!
The logic of the informed consumer
It’s very simple, digging into consumers’ pockets. It’s like the price of gasoline. When it becomes too expensive, we calculate our outings, the fuel consumption of the vehicle and the distances to be covered. This is the logic of the informed consumer. Everyone must learn to reduce their electricity consumption; young and old, rich and poor. It’s a question of company culture, and yes, that can be changed. Let’s look at the behavior of Europeans who have to manage their electricity, which is on average seven times more expensive than in Quebec. If they can do it, so can we, and society as a whole will benefit.
1. Reduce car advertising. 2. Improve and make public transport service free. 3. Surtax the import of products with planned obsolescence. 4. Overtax the purchase of heavy vehicles for users, unless there is proof that they are essential to their work.
I consider it absolutely essential that we reduce our energy consumption. The energy abundance of the past 200 years has allowed us to reach levels of comfort that are absolutely unsustainable. Energy is everywhere and we are addicted to it. The correlation between GDP, energy consumption and pollution no longer needs to be demonstrated. The planetary limits are largely exceeded. Learning to live with less, to heat less our homes which must become smaller, to take shorter and colder showers is very important. We must reduce the consumption of meat in our diet. Our vehicles must be smaller, slower and shared. Electronic gadgets are impossible to recycle and require huge amounts of materials. Energy abundance has reached its peak (all energies combined: fossil, hydro, nuclear) and the energy descent is in the process of materializing. We must contribute to the effort, too, and this, from now on!
Me, I’m waiting for Hilo to be compatible with water central heating for a short term horizon, but in the long term in 10 to 15 years, I would like to have solar panels with a storage battery to be more independent of the network in the event of a breakdown and remove pressure from it. I would be a winner in savings on the electricity bill, I would also be able to have power in the event of a breakdown and I would be a winner by allowing Hydro to export more electricity, thus making Quebec richer.
I have been living in Saguenay for a short time and either I use public transport for my trips, or I walk when possible. As in most areas, there is an increase in the number of pickup trucks and SUVs on the roads. In order to slow down this energy-intensive trend, I thought of imposing an annual and progressive slimming tax on the weight of this type of vehicle. For example, cars weighing less than 1000 kg would be taxed annually at $300. This amount would increase by $100 for each additional 100 kg. In addition, there are many large free municipal parking lots. I believe that cities should impose a sticker that is renewable annually and have parking meters on sections of commercial streets, because there are none here. Finally, tax gasoline even more, users, pay!
Pierre Allen, Saguenay
For my part, I have been contributing to energy sobriety for a long time. As soon as the weather is nice, the barbecue becomes my way of cooking for almost everything, even breakfasts. Regarding washing, I do it in the morning and again and again I use a wind dryer, a clothesline. But yes, and I love it more. For heating, we are people who like to breathe good air, so we put the thermostat at 19°C only, we prefer to add a little wool. I’m retired, but when I was working I had the same routine. This is my contribution.
Ginette Auger, Beauharnois
Snow transport and other ideas
1. My dishwasher has a delayed start function. I sometimes use it in winter in very cold weather, out of environmental awareness, but if I had a financial incentive, I would do it much more easily. 2. Air conditioning in public places: I often freeze in these spaces! It seems to me that a degree more would be tolerable, especially if an education is made in this direction. 3. The transport of snow, an environmental aberration if there ever was one. It seems to me that we have to look at this with a fresh eye. Everyone laughed at the mall owner melting the snow from his parking lot, but it seems to me there’s a way: to reuse the “lost” heat from the buildings (ask the people who live on the street, they know the places…) to melt the snow “locally”. I don’t know the snow/liquid ratio but I estimate that it should be around 15 centimeters for 3 cm, so a ratio of 5/1. And if the truck itself is equipped with an electric device to melt the snow on the spot and discharge it directly into the sewers, that’s five times fewer snow trips! I would very much like to have a comparison of the cost paid by the shopping center compared to that paid by the City of Montreal to remove the same amount of snow. And the cost must include the GHGs emitted by the trucks going back and forth to the snow dumps.
Lucie Forand, Montreal