What if wearing that old knit jumper you received for Christmas in 1998 could save both money and reduce your CO2 emissions?
In February, some of our hostels got cosy to show how easy it is to adopt a new behaviour that could make a difference on both electricity bills and the impact our activities have on the environment.
The Warm Sweater Day ( Warmetruiendag ), an initiative that started in 2012 in the Netherlands, had been happening already in Stayokay hostels. It seemed so fun, easy and positive, that it inspired other hostels and offices to take part in the activity this year, on both sides of the Atlantic!
What is the Warm Sweater Day?
Based on the motto that “The greenest energy is the energy you do not use”, the Warm Sweater Day (a national day in the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium and many others) is held annually on or around February 16, around the anniversary of the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol.
The idea seems too simple to be true: you put a warm sweater on (it can even be the ugliest one in your wardrobe), you lower the heating of one of two degrees, and you save 6% more energy and thus 6% CO2.
No rocket science needed! And the money saved on electricity can be invested in a heart-warming hot chocolate (responsibly sourced, please).
In the Netherlands:
In its 2015 edition, hostels in the Netherlands have collected jerseys alongside many fun activities and donated to various charities. They reached a whopping collection of 270 jerseys! This year again, they tried to make it a fun day for a good cause and guests and neighbours responded in a very positive way! Nearly every hostel joined the day: there were challenges for the employees to wear the most beautiful sweater, hot chocolate and coffee was available for everybody to stay warm, sweaters were hanging in the lobbies so guest could join and a clean-up activity for school kids in Edgmond was organized where pupils made handcraft out of some material that was washed ashore.
Despite being known for its particularly cold climate, Canada answered courageously to the call to lower the heating and save some CO2 emissions in a Regional Office in the Pacific Mountain Region (PMR): “The overall office temperature was lowered 5 degrees Celsius and the staff bundled up in their warmest sweaters, and the day carried on as usual even with lowered temperatures. All of this to promote better energy saving habits in the work place, and it went off as a success here at HI-PMR!”
Participating for the first time in the Warm Sweater Day, HI-Norway went on with a social media competition. The event was coordinated by volunteers who are part of a European exchange programme who worked on giving not only an environmental goal to the day, but also a social component: “We have made flyers that were distributed to neighbours living in the close proximity to the hostel, informing them about climate change situation, tips on saving electricity in their households, call on the possibility to donate warm clothes to the refugees in Oslo by bringing their unwanted clothes to the hostel as `Give a second life to clothes`. Those neighbours that participated on this activity were invited for a candlelight dinner taking place on WSD in the hostel (homemade lentil soup and cake).”
The dinner turned into a success when 20 people gathered around the table to share stories, the campaign turned into a learning experience about electricity in Norway and the lowering of the heating by only 2 degrees turned into a 7% of energy saving!
It was easy and fun to reduce energy waste and, on the long run, it can contribute to serious savings. See what you can do to make a difference while travelling!
DO try this at home
(And keep an eye on the Earth Hour 2016 events on the 19th of March with HI!)