Turn off that light! A low-energy guide


If you call Annemarie Baynton a high-energy person, she might take it the wrong way. Baynton likes low-energy. Usage, that is.

Baynton (below, left), a fourth-year York bachelor of Environmental Studies student, was chosen as one of 20 national student energy ambassadors in a competition offered by the federal Ministry of Natural Resources. As a winner, she received a $1,000 cash prize at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Why was Baynton picked? It stems from the Consumer Guide to Energy Savings she developed as her senior Honours BES work project. The ministry described her project as “an excellent example of Canadian innovation and achievement in the field of energy efficiency…[and] a solid contribution to Canada’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.”

Baynton entered her guide in the ministry’s Energy Ambassadors Program competition, which is open to undergraduate students who, as part of their studies, have completed a project that has energy efficiency or reduced energy use as its theme.

“Many people are simply unaware of the large amount of energy they use or how their personal energy consumption and behaviour affect the environment,” Baynton writes. “Fuel-efficient vehicles and energy-efficient appliances currently exist, but if these products are not being purchased by consumers or used properly, then expected energy savings will not occur.”

Baynton’s guide is an educational and practical consumer resource, with advice about saving energy in all areas of the home – from appliances and lighting to windows, heating and cooling. There is information on the link between energy use and environmental problems in order to help consumers make educated decisions about their personal energy consumption. And there’s a section on how to cut greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

The guide also looks at the environmental damage caused by driving and offers tips on fuel-efficient driving, carpooling and buying a fuel-efficient vehicle.

Besides earning her the title of energy ambassador, Baynton’s work has caught the attention of the Clean Air Partnership, a Toronto organization that has hired her to help write the second edition of its Clean Air Consumer Guide.