The History: Whistler had one of the most substantial reductions in BC during the 2008 Earth Hour (reduced community electrical load of 5.6%), but we then completely eradicated that performance with an INCREASED load during Earth Hour 2009 of 1.4% – one of the worst results in BC. The same year as our poor showing, Pemby did a fantastic job of turning it off: achieving a 4.6% reduction in electrical load and placing them second in the province.

So, for Earth Hour 2010 on Saturday March 27th at 8:30pm, it’s time to show our neighbouring communities (and ourselves!) that Whistler’s competitive spirit runs almost as deep as our commitment to our Whistler2020 vision: to be the premier mountain resort community as we move toward sustainability.

We can do it Whistler! We’ve been training for this event for a while now as evidenced by the Whistler2020 Energy Strategy, our Integrated Energy, Air Quality and GHG Management Plan and on-the-ground actions we’ve had in place for some time. To get things rolling, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (our local government organization) has already committed to turning off the heat tracing in Whistler Village and the lighting at most municipal buildings.

Here’s an important tip for you from our Whistler Centre for Sustainability associate and energy guru, Ted Battiston: Electric baseboard heaters consume about 250 watts per lineal foot of heater. An average living room might have 5-7 feet of baseboard (consuming about 1,500 watts) that’s the equivalent consumption of 65-100 compact fluorescent light bulbs. So in addition to turning off your lights on Saturday (and all the days that follow), make sure you drop your thermostats during Earth Hour and find other fun ways to keep warm!

In addition to these Earth Hour ideas from BC Hydro, here are energy consumption stats for the average Canadian home that can help you focus your reduction efforts Saturday and everyday thereafter:

  • Heating and Cooling 45+%
  • Appliances 30%
  • Water heaters 13%
  • Lighting 11%

More about Earth Hour: Earth Hour has moved rapidly from being a single event in Sydney, Australia in 2007 to a global hour of action. It’s anticipated that more than one billion people in more than 100 countries around the world will turn off their lights and other energy-using devices for one hour. The goal is to raise global awareness about climate change.

By Shannon Gordon