Environment: If Earth Hour Saves That Much Energy, Why Don’t Hotels Do It More Often?

Climate Change

After receiving several press releases from hotels boasting about how much energy they conserved by turning their lights out for one hour on 29 March 2014, Michael Taylor wonders why they don’t do this more often.

An initiative of the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour was launched in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 to demonstrate how simple steps could make a significant impact on addressing climate change.

With 2 million people turning off their lights for one hour, Australia’s largest city reduced energy consumption by more than 10%.

More that 50 million people around the world took part in Earth Hour the following year. In 2013 alone 345 million people were reached through the campaign’s website and social media.

“Earth Hour is one of the many ways we show our commitment to energy conservation while delivering great guest experiences,” says Rudolf Troestler, General Manager at the Hilton Pattaya in Pattaya, Thailand.

“We are encouraging our guests, neighbors, and Team Members to join us in support of this global effort.” 

Candlelight Dinners

While I laud the initiative, I can’t help but wonder – if so much energy can be saved by switching off hotel lights for one hour once a year, why can’t this be done more often?

What if exterior lighting, for example, was simply turned on one hour – or even 30 minutes – later each evening? What if it was turned off 30 minutes or one hour earlier?

What if candlelight dinners were served on special occasions such as Christmas Eve or Valentine’s Day – with reduced lighting?

Perhaps one night of the week could be declared ‘candlelight night’ – with reduced lighting in food and beverage outlets and other public spaces.

Silent Day

I was in Bali for Silent Day on 31 March 2014, and the entire island was supposed to go dark – and silent – for 24 hours. Street lamps were turned off. There were no flights into or out of the international airport. Television and radio stations did not broadcast.

Only hospitals, emergency services, and hotels were given an exemption.

Can you imagine how much energy was conserved?

Bali’s Hindu majority does this for religious reasons, and everyone else on the island is expected to go along. But I couldn’t help but think what a positive impact this must have on the environment.

You could see far more stars that night. And the air was perceptively cleaner the next day.

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