TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 20, 2013) - With Earth Hour coming up this weekend, BMO Bank of Montreal reminds Canadians to review their household energy usage as a way to reduce their environmental footprint and help manage their household utility expenses.
According to a BMO survey, the majority of homeowners (51 per cent) cite utility costs as the biggest financial surprise after they move in.
Earth Hour is a great opportunity to take a moment to review your energy consumption. The rule of thumb is that total housing expenses should not consume more than one-third of total household income.
BMO is a National Sponsor of Earth Hour, which is a worldwide event organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that encourages Canadian households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change. This year's event takes place on Saturday, March 23rd between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. local time.
"WWF is grateful to BMO for their support as National Sponsor of Earth Hour. Businesses have a critical role to play in addressing climate change, and BMO has taken a lead role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including becoming carbon neutral in 2010. Through Earth Hour, WWF and BMO are encouraging all Canadians to reflect on how we can reduce our environmental footprint, all year round," says Josh Laughren, Director of WWF's Climate and Energy Program.
BMO offers the following top 5 energy-saving tips to help reduce your environmental footprint and lessen total household expenses:
- Programmable thermostat: One of the most effective ways to keep heating costs down is to limit the time the furnace is running. Program your thermostat to turn on only during times when you will be home.
- Windows: To prevent cold air from sneaking into your home, make sure to winterize all windows - especially if you live in an older house. Also, take advantage of the sunshine and keep curtains and drapes open during daylight hours to allow Mother Nature to warm up your home.
- Insulation: In addition to insulating windows, properly insulating your entire house (including the attic) and sealing any leaks can keep warm air in and cold air out. This will reduce the amount of work your furnace has to do and can cut utility costs and emissions by almost 10 per cent.
- Internal Heat: Utilize heat generators within your house to keep the temperature up and thermostat down while you're home. Appliances, such as the dishwasher, laundry machine/dryer and the stove/oven all provide a generous amount of warmth when in use, so dial down the thermostat while these large appliances are on.
- Service your furnace: Be sure to service your furnace and the ducts every spring to ensure that it is working efficiently. Old furnaces - or those that work poorly - have to work harder, increasing utility costs.
To learn more about how to better manage overall household expenses, spending and savings, please visit www.bmo.com/smartsteps.
BMO and the Environment
BMO achieved enterprise-wide carbon neutrality relative to its energy consumption and transportation emissions in August 2010. This goal was achieved by reducing and limiting emissions from transportation and energy use, purchasing electricity from renewable energy sources and buying carbon credits to offset the remaining emissions. BMO has also set an emissions reduction target; the bank plans to reduce absolute enterprise carbon emissions by 10 per cent - versus 2011 baseline levels - by the end of 2016.
BMO is one of the initial investors in the Greening Canada Fund (GCF), the first-ever voluntary carbon emissions reduction fund aimed exclusively at large Canadian corporations. The fund provides direct access to high-quality carbon offset credits and helps BMO support Canadian-based energy efficiency projects in Canadian public schools, hospitals and community housing. BMO's initial investment commitment in the fund was $10 million.
BMO is listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index, the Jantzi Social Index and the FTSE4Good Series Index. BMO has also been included on the Maclean's/Jantzi-Sustainalytics list of the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada and Corporate Knights Magazine's Best 50 Corporate Citizens. For three years in a in a row, BMO Financial Group has been named to the Global 500 Carbon Performance Leadership Index by the Carbon Disclosure Project.
To review BMO's environmental performance data, visit www.bmo.com/environment.
About BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at January 31, 2013, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.