Singapore, 28th March 2010
It would be hard to ignore Earth Hour, which was held around the world last night from 8.30 to 9.30pm local time. Started 4 years ago by an environmental group in Sydney, Australia, this event now spans around the globe with some 4000 cities and 120 countries involved, according to news sources. Earth Hour started with the idea to switch off lights for one hour to draw attention to the impact of climate change by reducing energy consumption. It started last night in New Zealand and Australia with famous landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House switching off all decorative and non essential lights and continued around the globe.
In Singapore even the airport went practically dark when the terminal buildings switched off decorative and dimmed up to 80% non critical operation lights. It was reported this morning that the one hour switch off at the airport had yielded an energy saving enough to power a typical 4 bedroom apartment for about 3 months! Now that is a considerable saving!
While light is the most visible component of energy use, there are many other applications that can save even more energy. I was interested to read in a related news article that an outdoor concert held in one of Singapore’s parks at the occasion of Earth Hour was generator-powered by environmentally friendly bio-fuel, which was converted from used cooking oil collected from restaurants. In fact there are now clean energy companies that apparently do nothing else than collecting organic waste to convert it into bio-diesel, bio-gas or compost.
Earth Hour is a great initiative which fully deserves the support it is getting around the world. It should inspire us to be even more explorative in finding ways in our lighting designs to further reduce energy consumption.