Residents switch off for Earth Hour

Saturday's environmental challenge sees a 1.7 per cent drop in electricity consumption

Thousands from across the Okanagan and Kootenays joined one of the largest environmental campaigns on the planet by switching off for Earth Hour on Saturday.

As part of the FortisBC-sponsored Earth Hour Challenge, residents were encouraged to make a pledge to switch off non-essential lighting, appliances and electronics between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. The winning community with the highest per capita participation this year was the Village of Salmo, earning them bragging rights and a $5,000 energy upgrade for the Salmo Public Library.

In total, over 6,000 pledges to participate were registered with FortisBC, a record-setting number that is more than triple the amount from last year. This level of engagement resulted in a 1.7 per cent drop in electricity consumption during Earth Hour. That is equal to switching off approximately 90,000 60-watt incandescent light bulbs and represents an increase of 1.9 megawatts or 30,000 light bulbs over last year.

“We credit the success of this year’s Earth Hour Challenge to the tremendous leadership shown by the participating communities and non-profit organizations,” said Tom Loski, vice-president of customer service at FortisBC. “They reached residents in their communities by engaging businesses, schools, libraries, recreation centres and more in the effort to spread the word about Earth Hour.”

In Penticton, residents were asked to pledge for the Shatford Centre and in Summerland pledges were made for the Summerland Asset Development Initiative. Oliver was hoping their seniors centre would win, and in Osoyoos it was the child-care centre society earning pledges.