FortisBC has released details regarding the impact of Earth Hour on electricity consumption in 17 B.C. communities, and the winners of draws for energy upgrades randomly chosen from more than 1,300 pledges.
FortisBC measured a 5.7 megawatt drop in electricity consumption, or the equivalent of switching off over 96,000 incandescent light bulbs (60 Watt), from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 23.
In Castlegar, a number of neighbourhoods were darker than usual and only necessary lighting for safety and security was seen on public buildings such as City Hall and the Ministry of Environment.
Earth Hour, one of the largest climate action events in the world, encourages residents and businesses to turn off unnecessary lights and electronics and commit to taking some energy saving action.
The winning non-profit, Salmo Valley Swimming Pool, hopes to use the funds they received to purchase a new tankless water heater and new lighting for the change rooms. “We could put the money we save towards other things, like lifeguard wages and kids’ programs,” said Patty McNeil, an administrator at the Salmo Valley Swimming Pool. This year marked the first time that businesses could also pledge and more than 200 entries were received.
The winning business, Copper Creek Country Store in Greenwood, made a commitment to encourage staff and customers to pledge to support Earth Hour. Owner, Hardy Skott will receive an energy assessment of his store that will help him determine where best to apply the $4,000 to achieve long term energy savings. “Whether it was making a pledge to turn off unnecessary lights, or hosting a community event, communities and individuals stepped up to the challenge to turn every hour into an ‘Earth Hour’,” said Tom Loski, vice president of customer service FortisBC. “Congratulations to everyone who participated and encouraged friends and family to do the same.”
Canadian astronaut, Cmdr. Chris Hadfield, is aboard the International Space Station and took photographs of some cities participating in Earth Hour.
Hadfield posted images of the aurora borealis on his Twitter account (@Cmdr_Hadfield) and wrote in a tweet, “When we turn our lights down, nature lights up the sky.”