26 March 2009

The Big Switch Off

This Saturday (28 March 2009) is 'Earth Hour' when everyone is encouraged to switch off lights and other electricial equipment for one hour at 8.30pm local time. http://www.earthhour.org/home/ has more information.

I have also received the following from Reading Borough Council (thanks to Ben Burfoot their Sustainability Manager):

"The Big Switch off took place on the weekend beginning Jan 30th and involved council employees switching off all unnecessary equipment on Friday evening before leaving for the weekend. In addition this year it was opened to businesses to join in the challenge 15 local businesses took part many of them making significant energy savings.

The event gained greater coverage due to support from the radio station Reading 107.

The Big Switch Off served as a reminder to council staff to turn off equipment for the weekend. Staff at the civic centre and Hexagon achieved a 13 per cent drop in out of hours electricity and there was an average 20 per cent drop in electricity use in leisure centres. 

Businesses were asked to take meter readings before and after the weekend which meant they and we were able to monitor success. For example local company Designation used 23 per cent less electricity over the weekend than usual by turning off computers, printers and other equipment on Friday night. 

Since the last Big Turn Off two years ago, when the council achieved 22 per cent savings in electricity use in the civic centre, an ongoing series of energy efficiency measures have been put in place with the result that our out of hours drop in use was smaller in the 2009 initiative. 

In order to keep up the momentum the council is challenging businesses and individuals to switch off for Earth Hour on March 28th for one hour to send a message to global leaders to take action on climate change. The council will be repeating the Big Switch Off that weekend in addition. More information about this event can be found on the website" www.reading.gov.uk/earthhour

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