Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association participates in Turn Down the Heat Week.

Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association participates in Turn Down the Heat Week.

Downtown Nanaimo turns down heat

NANAIMO – Annual event saves energy while helping local charities

From Oct. 23-29, shoppers across the province might get a chillier welcome than they’re used to at their local stores.

The customer service won’t have changed, but local businesses in 18 business improvement areas in B.C., including Nanaimo, will be turning down their thermostats for Turn Down the Heat Week.

As an initiative of Business Improvement Areas of British Columbia in partnership with Fortis B.C., the goal of Turn Down the Heat Week is to encourage businesses and their customers to don a sweater and save energy.

Each association will also have its participating members collect warm clothing that will be donated to charity.

Each business approaches the campaign a little differently, with some offering discounts on warm clothing or hot beverages, or perhaps giving out tips on saving energy at home.

“Turn Down the Heat Week allows participating BIAs to change their own habits to save energy, but also to give back to their communities,” says Corry Hostetter, president of provincial association. “Local business owners are connecting with those who live in their area every day, and are able to share their enthusiasm and knowledge about saving energy by making small changes like putting on a sweater. We’re very fortunate to have the support of Fortis B.C. to create this grassroots conservation campaign across B.C., in communities large and small.”

Fortis offers a range of resources for businesses to help them save energy and cut down on heating and hot water costs. Along with a wide range of energy saving tips, Fortis also has a rebate program for business owners to take advantage of when upgrading their premises, or retrofitting to improve energy efficiency. Tips and rebates are also available for home customers interested in conserving energy.

Turn Down the Heat Week is in its fourth year. Previously the campaign was held in February each year, but the decision was made to move it to October at the start of the cold season.

“Fall is when most of us turn on the thermostat, so moving the campaign to October means we can help people set up good habits when the temperature first begins to drop,” says Hostetter.

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