Despite a change in the rules to eliminate an advantage held by smaller communities

Salmo again tops energy saving competition

For the second straight year, Salmo has won FortisBC’s Earth Hour Challenge.

For the second straight year, Salmo has won FortisBC’s Earth Hour Challenge.

The village collected the most pledges in the power company’s annual conservation event to earn up to $4,000 in energy upgrades for the community swimming pool.

FortisBC’s Nicole Bogdanovic explains they changed the rules of the competition this year, which asked residents and businesses to turn off unnecessary lights and electronics for an hour and also commit to further energy saving actions.

Previously the winner was measured based on per capita participation, which tended to give smaller communities an edge. Last year Salmo led with 102 per cent participation. (Those pledging to take part didn’t have to live in the community they supported, but participation was measured relative to its population.)

This year the results were judged based on actual numbers — but Salmo still came out on top, with more than 300 of the total 1,300 pledges.

“They were by far the leader,” Bogdanovic said. “They did really well. They’re obviously a very tight community and get the message out. I think they also offered to do an early spring polar bear swim if they won.”

The Salmo Valley swimming pool will receive $4,000 towards replacing its ageing, inefficient heating and lighting systems with a new tankless water heater. The change room lights will also be replaced.

“We could put the money we save towards other things, like lifeguard wages and kids’ programs,” swimming pool administrator Patty McNeil said in a news release.

Last year Salmo’s victory resulted in a $5,000 energy upgrade for the library.

The Salmo pool was up against seven other non-profit organizations in the Kootenays and Okanagan in the Earth Hour Challenge.

The company says overall, participation Saturday resulted in a 5.7 megawatt drop in electricity consumption across its service area, although community-by-community breakdowns aren’t available.

Individuals and businesses who participated were also entered into a draw to win up to $2,000 and $4,000 respectively in energy upgrades. This year was the first time businesses could pledge and more than 200 did so in various ways, including turning their thermostats down one degree or improving their insulation.

The winning business, Copper Creek Country Store of Greenwood, committed to encouraging staff and customers to pledge to support Earth Hour. Owner Hardy Skott will receive an energy assessment to determine how best to apply the $4,000 prize.

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