As mentioned in a previous blog Earth Hour took place at 8:30 pm on Saturday March 28th, but if you live in Vancouver you might not even have noticed it. Jeff and I did participate, but we could tell by the lights around us that very few other residents or business in our neighborhood took part. We enjoyed dinner by candlelight that we picked up at one of our favorite take out joints, Urban Fare, along with a bottle of our favorite wine, Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin. However, despite the great meal and drink, it was disappointing to see that other families or households did not get the message about Earth Hour or simply chose to ignore it.
BC Hydro has now published the results from Saturday night. British Columbians saved 72.67 megawatts of electricity from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., the equivalent of turning off 1.5 million lights. This may seem like a great deal of electricity but not when compared to 2008 or to other cities. Vancouver proper was only able to reduce consumption by a disappointing 1.3 percent while Pemberton was able to achieve the highest drop in provincial consumption at 4.6 percent and Victoria reported a 3.1 percent drop. Even more dissatisfying is that electricity consumption across B.C. dropped only by 1.1 per cent during Earth Hour 2009 as compared to a drop of 2 per cent in 2008. And for a city and province that I always thought was as ‘green’ and ‘active’ as the rest of Canada, Toronto kicked our not-so-green butts by reducing consumption by 15 percent or 455 megawatts. The Ontario provincial average was also an impressive 6 percent.
The good news is that as a worldwide event the results of Earth Hour are still impressive. There was participation from 3,929 cities, towns and municipalities in 88 countries across the globe with 70 national capitals participating as well as nine out of ten of the world’s most populated cities. Many of the world’s most famous landmarks went dark including the Pyramids and the Sphinx, the Eiffel Tower, the Vatican, the Acropolis, Big Ben, the Las Vegas Strip, the Empire State Building and the newly famous Bird’s Nest. The good news for British Columbians is that despite the lower than hoped participation on this one night, if these same residents implemented the same conservation measures just one hour every evening, the combined savings would be enough power more than 2,400 homes for an entire year.
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