REPEAT: Earth Hour-BMO Survey Shows 51% of Canadians Surprised by Costs of Utilities

Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:00am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

  TORONTO, ONTARIO, Mar 23 (MARKET WIRE) --
With Earth Hour taking place this evening, 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 tonight, 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: 


1.  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. 
    
2.  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. 
    
3.  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. 
    
4.  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. 
    
5.  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.

Contacts:
Media Contacts:
Russell Baker, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
russell.baker@bmo.com

Jessica Park, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
jessica1.park@bmo.com

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224
valerie.doucet@bmo.com

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596
laurie.grant@bmo.com

Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia

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