2009 a good year for energy conservation, says StatsCan



According to a Statistics Canada survey released on this week more Canadian households are taking measures to conserve energy and help the environment.   

These measures include switching to lights that consume less energy, depositing more unwanted electronics to drop-off centres, using programmable thermostats and relying less on bottled water.

The report, based on 2009 data, notes that on average 15 per cent of the average household budget is spent on energy.

The Households and the Environment Survey, which collects information on households' activities related to the environment, was conducted in late 2009.

According to details on the Statscan website, it aims to 'provide context to the science (i.e. the actual measures of air and water quality and greenhouse gas emissions) by gaining a better understanding of household behaviour and practices with respect to the environment.'

More than 14,750 households across Canada were surveyed by telephone.

Water Use:   Sixty-three per cent of households said they used low-flow shower heads, and 42 per cent had low-volume toilets. These systems are able to use water more efficiently and help reduce energy costs.

Fewer households were using bottled water as their primary source, and the percentage of households that relied on bottled water had gone down from 30 per cent in 2007 to 24 per cent.

Energy Savings:    The survey also notes that 88 per cent of households are using energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights, fluorescent tube lights, halogen lights or light-emitting diode lights. The proportion of households with fluorescent lights was highest in Nova Scotia.

StatsCan added that over half the households surveyed that used compact fluorescent lights did not recycle them correctly, and pointed out that this 'can have a significant impact on both human health and the environment' because of the amount of mercury in the bulbs. Ontario and British Columbia households were most likely to dispose of their unwanted lights correctly.

Lower Heat:Forty-nine percent of households were using programmable thermostats. Of these households 88 per cent actually used to programming options. Most people programmed their devices to lower the temperature while they were asleep.

The report also said that two-thirds of households in Canada had were using drying racks or clotheslines instead of drying machines and that eight out of 10 households said they had purchased environmentally-friendly cleaning products.

Recycling:     The report found that as the use of electronic devices was increasing in Canada, as was the percentage of households that recycled them correctly. In 2009, 45 per cent of households took their unwanted electronics to drop-off centres. Eleven per cent threw them in the garbage, while 22 per cent gave them away or donated them to charity.

The next Households and the Environment Survey should be conducted sometime in 2011, and the results will be made available in 2013.

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