Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia in 2007. In 2015 more than 7000 cities worldwide engaged in the lights off event. Earth Hour is held from 20.30 to 21.30 in late March each thus allowing for coincidental sunset times due to the spring and autumn equinoxes in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively.
In Canada, Ontario State was one of the world leaders using 900 megawatt-hours less electricity during just the one hour, equating to a reduction of approximately 360 tonnes of CO2.
In Dubai, 100 megawatt-hours of electricity was saved through measures such as dimming street lighting by 50% in areas and turning off lighting at major city landmarks.
Calgary in Canada placed last with the city’s consumption increasing by 3.5%.
Hotels can play a significant and continuous role in promoting and educating guests about the need for energy reduction and the support of the Earth Hour initiative. Engage different teams in your hotel to take action.
Here are some ideas to implement during Earth Hour:
i) Operations: Switch off non- essential computers, printers and equipment; switch off façade, signage and non-essential lighting; dim the lights in public areas and exterior spaces.
ii) Reception: Encourage guests to reuse towels and linen, inform guests of the event and provide an educative pamphlet at check in.
iii) Management: Host a celebratory event to count down and offer a free cocktail or Earth Hour themed cocktails and canapés.
iv) Housekeeping: Leave lights off after turndown; reduce the air conditioning by increasing the chiller setting and decreasing the heat settings.
v) Restaurants: Increase chiller temperatures by 2 degrees, dim lighting and turn off non-essential music. Use a local music band or a musician for the evening. Dine by candle light offering a special menu featuring local organic produce cooked with energy saving methods.
For further information and details on how to work with WWF Earth Hour see http://www.earthhour.org/corporates-organisations
To make sure your hotel is working towards sustainability and is receiving a well-earned,