Earth Hour was fun, let’s do it more often

Posted by Laura Grant on March 31, 2009
Posted in Lifestyle

lights-out
Tapei 101 building, via Boston.com

I decided to measure my household’s contribution to Earth Hour on Saturday to get an idea of what switching off my lights for an hour could potentially mean for the planet. (I have an energy monitor called The Owl.) Turns out that my household consumption dropped by 250 watts. In South Africa, this means that 24kg less carbon dioxide was pumped into the air because of me. (In SA, 0.978kg of CO2 are emitted for every 1 kWh of electricity).

To be honest, we did go a bit further than switching off the lights. We also switched off two PCs and the television. We lit some candles inside the house and sat on the back steps looking at the stars, enjoying a very peaceful evening – and a family conversation! It’s amazing what can happen when there’s no TV.

In fact, it was so nice that we’ve decided to do it more often.

My 250W saving is apparently the equivalent of planting 0.1 trees. So if I switched off my lights for an hour once a month for a year, it would be the equivalent of planting a tree.

Apparently more than 1,000 cities took part in Earth Hour. Click here for an amazing collection of Earth Hour “before and during” pics from around the world.

State electricity utility Eskom says that South Africans “contributed 400MW of electricity savings to Earth Hour”. That’s 10 percent of the output of a whole power station – Witbank’s Kendal power station, for example,  produces around 4,100MW.

It’s also a saving of 400 tons of carbon dioxide, 224 tons of coal and some 576 kilolitres of water, says Dr Steve Lennon, Eskom’s MD for corporate services and its “climate change champion”.

“The 400MW translates to about 4 million 100W bulbs or 6,7 million 60W bulbs switched off on Saturday. This shows a concerted effort by approximately 1 million households,” he said.

Can anyone seriously say that it isn’t worth taking part in Earth Hour?

(Update: Corrected a typo to read: That’s 10 percent of the output of a whole power station – Witbank’s Kendal power station, for example, produces around 4,100MW)

Comments

One Response to “Earth Hour was fun, let’s do it more often”

  1. Tracy
    March 31st, 2009 @ 10:48 am

    We also switched off everything we could (TV, radio, laptops, etc) and read stories to our children by candlelight, before settling down for a good old chat, the sort that we just don’t have often enough when all the electrical stuff is on. It reminded me of a wonderful evening we had with a friend back in England when the lights went out for 4 hours (fuse problem that we needed an electrician to fix). We chatted, laughed, played guitar and sang, and then made a cup of tea with Pete’s storm kettle. It was such an adventure, sometimes the simplest things are.

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