Whistler reduced energy use by six per cent during Earth Hour on Saturday, March 29, beating out dozens of B.C. communities for the biggest savings in the province.
The resort was tops on the list of 69 B.C. communities participating in Earth Hour, an internationally recognized event hosted by the World Wildlife Federation that asks individuals to turn off all unnecessary lights and electronics for 60 minutes to show their support for climate change reduction efforts.
Coming in a close second was the township of Esquilmat on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, whose residents reduced electricity usage by 5.8 per cent. Squamish tied with the City of Vancouver, dropping the electricity load by 2.1 per cent. Figures were not available for Pemberton. A BC Hydro spokesperson said that was either due to an error in the data collection process, or because the information was not yet available.
Last year, Whistler reduced energy use during Earth Hour a resort record seven per cent, placing 12th in the province-wide rankings. All 11 communities that beat out the resort were located on Vancouver Island.
Pembertonians had a similarly strong showing in 2013, reducing energy use by 5.9 per cent, while Squamish finished in 36th place with a savings of 2.9 per cent.
A number of resort businesses played a role in the energy savings achieved for Earth Hour this year, like the Fairmont, where guests were served candle-lit dinner and given the opportunity to pedal stationary bikes to make organic smoothies. In 2013, participants pedalled to a 39-per-cent reduction in electricity at the hotel, saving 536 kilowatts, and producing 400 mini-smoothies.
The RMOW took part as well, turning off non-essential lights across all municipal operations and encouraging residents and visitors to do the same. The muni also hosted a free skate by candlelight at Whistler Olympic Plaza.
On the whole, British Columbians saved 65 megawatt hours of electricity on Saturday, dropping the provincial load by one per cent, the equivalent of turning off about 1.4 million lights, according to BC Hydro. This was less than last year's provincial decrease of 1.95 per cent.