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Whistler, Pemberton in top four in B.C. for Earth Hour

Two communities made significant cuts to energy usage



Earth Hour was a major turn off in the Sea to Sky region - which proved to be a very good way to save energy.

Out of 91 communities that signed on to take part in the March 31 event, Pemberton came second in British Columbia by reducing its energy use by 6.8 per cent. Whistler was fourth, reducing energy use by 5.6 per cent, and Squamish was over halfway down the list, at 49th, with a reduction of 2.2 per cent.

The most successful B.C. community was Revelstoke, where residents and companies cut overall energy consumption during Earth Hour by an impressive 12.1 per cent.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler marked Earth Hour by turning off festive lighting in the Village and Whistler Olympic Plaza, turning off lights at municipal buildings, turning off lighting on the Lost Lake cross-country ski trails, and turning off all heat tracing in the Village.

British Columbians saved 121 megawatt hours of electricity and reduced the provincial electricity load by 1.67 per cent or the equivalent of turning off nine million 12.5-watt LED light bulbs, according to a release from BC Hydro. This is slightly worse than 2011, when electricity usage was cut by 1.8 per cent.

Earth Hour is an annual global event hosted by the World Wildlife Fund, with residents and companies asked to use as little energy as possible between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. This year marks the fifth year of BC Hydro's support of the event. The goal is to encourage individuals to turn off unnecessary lights and electronics in an effort to conserve power and in doing so, demonstrate support for climate change reduction efforts.

In the release, BC Hydro said that by 2020 it wanted ensure that at least 66 per cent of new electricity demand was covered through conservation and energy efficiency. In the last three years, BC Hydro's Power Smart programs saved close to 3,000 gigawatt hours of electricity - enough to power 270,000 homes annually.

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