OPSEU/NUPGE is participating in Energy Conservation Week (ECW) - May 25 - 31, 2008

Organized by the Ontario Power Authority, the goals of ECW include awareness raising and taking action to reduce energy consumption and pollution – particularly during electricity peak periods.

Toronto (23 May, 2008) - OPSEU/NUPGE is participating in Energy Conservation Week (ECW) – May 25 – 31, organized by the Ontario Power Authority. The goals of ECW include awareness raising and taking action to reduce energy consumption and pollution – particularly during electricity peak periods.

ECW is also an opportunity to let you know where we’re at with some of the major components of OPSEU’s environmental program, in particular, combating global warming & climate change. 

Here’s what OPSEU/NUPGE is up to for Energy Conservation Week (and beyond):

  1. Greenhouse gas reduction targets announcement
    Following on the unanimous Greening OPSEU Convention resolution in 2006, OPSEU sought the advice of outside experts who produced a report that has been guiding OPSEU’s work on the environment. That report sets out a number of ambitious, but achievable goals. The initial 3-year implementation plan has been extended to 2010. The next milestone was to set measurable targets. On May 15th, the EB adopted a greenhouse gas reduction target policy. Targets are set between 2% & 3% annually until 2040. This will represent an 80% reduction over 2006 levels. More to follow.
  2. Lighting improvements at Lesmill
    In late 2007, OPSEU hired a small team of green energy consultants to have a look at the buildings we own. Their reports have a number of recommendations for investments and improvements in our buildings that will both reduce our energy consumption and save money. The main focus for this year will be on lighting at Lesmill and the boiler and windows at Wellesley. Building services has converted the head office stairwell lighting from incandescent to compact fluorescent. Those energy savings are the equivalent to that of 6 average homes plus savings on maintenance. This one measure represents about 5% of the target for head office electricity reduction for 2008. Other lighting changes have also been made and are being planned.
  3. Raise office temperature by 2 degrees in OPSEU-owned offices
    A 2 degree rise in temperature should be hardly noticeable but will make a big difference in electricity consumption. Staff members are encouraged to dress comfortably and casually for the week and, if the weather is hot, to let visitors know in advance.
  4. Notice of intent to ban private, bottled drinking water at OPSEU events & facilities
    OPSEU policy says that “Public services must not be provided by private firms or individuals whose profit-seeking priorities and lack of accountability are incompatible with public services.” Post-Walkerton policy states that drinking water should be tested by public laboratories. The production and transportation of private, bottled water uses a lot of energy, contributes to greenhouse gases and produces mountains of waste. It is also costly. As such, OPSEU, like many other organizations, is moving toward a ban on bottled water (including bottled water coolers) using our existing policies as a guide. The target for OPSEU to be completely bottled-water free is November 1, 2008 (except under extenuating circumstances). Detailed plans to follow. A fact sheet on bottled water can be found here.
  5. Encouraging members and staff to “Count Every Kilowatt” on May 29th
    With over 120,000 members, collectively we can do a lot. We will be sending a special email to the OPSEU network and highlighting ECW on the OPSEU website. There are many ways that members can get involved. It’s also important for members to see that OPSEU is involved. “Count every kilowatt day” is “a day intended to demonstrate the power of individual initiatives on the province’s overall conservation goals. Ontarians will be encouraged to “Take Part. Take Action” as we monitor Ontario’s energy consumption” (ECW website).
  6. Head office Energy Conservation Week meeting
    It is hoped that next year’s ECW event will be province-wide. For this year, there will be a 30 minute meeting on May 27th at 10:00 a.m. to discuss Energy Conservation Week and to provide an update on the Greening OPSEU program.
  7. The little things at work
    Staff in all offices are encouraged to turn off computers, printers and faxes at night. If you’re a laptop user, ensure that external monitors are powered off. Find other ways to conserve during Energy Conservation Week – let us know what you’ve done and we’ll post it on GreenUnion, OPSEU’s newest blog.
  8. Join the “Green Staff” email distribution list
    For regular updates, breaking news, interesting stories and links, email Greening OPSEU’s MDT – Gary Shaul to subscribe to periodic emails and join a growing network of more than 40 concerned staff.

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