County to Celebrate “Earth Hour” by Turning Lights Out
Montgomery County will join the worldwide “Earth Hour” celebration on March 29 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. by turning out most lights in the largest of its downtown Rockville government buildings. Residents, schools, businesses, community groups and organizations are urged to join the County in supporting Earth Hour to make a statement about reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
“One person turning out their lights for one hour is a small gesture, but millions of people around the world participating makes a powerful statement about our ability to reduce energy use and take action to address global warming.”
“We can be part of the collective solution, not only on March 29, but also every day by taking simple steps to cut our greenhouse gas emissions on an ongoing basis,” said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett.
Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia in 2007 when 2.2 million people and 2,100 businesses together reduced the city’s energy consumption by 10.2 percent for one hour. Earth Hour has now spread to be a global celebration.
The County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) offers the following tips on ways that everyone can reduce their energy consumption everyday:
- Get an energy audit to identify specific home improvements that will reduce energy costs and improve a home’s comfort. More information about audits is available on DEP’s website.
- Seal the holes and gaps around the foundation, windows, doors and attic to stop conditioned air from leaking out and prevent outside air from leaking in.
- Install a programmable thermostat to automatically regulate home temperature, reducing heating and cooling costs when no one’s at home.
- Use energy-efficient appliances and electronics, which comprise nearly 20 percent of a home’s energy bill.
- Reduce hot water heating costs by insulating the water heater and pipes. Heating water accounts for about 13 percent of a home’s utility bill.
- Eliminate the phantom loads of electronics, devices with digital clocks and cell phone or other battery chargers that draw electricity when plugged in, even when they’re not in use. Use power strips and switch them off to cut the flow of electricity to these devices.
- Switch to compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs that use less energy to produce light and save money over the long term.
- At work, turn off lights and computers at the end of the day. Speak to the office manager about installing motion-sensor lighting for use after hours.
- Spread the word and involve friends, family and co-workers. Ask local businesses, restaurants and stores to find ways to participate in Earth Hour.
The website Earth Hour offers more ideas on how to participate in Earth Hour.