Yes I do want to I ruffle a few feathers. Oh yes, I might say some things that will offend a few "self rightest" out there. But at the end of the day, if some of you learn something, then my post is successful. With the help of my wonderful husband I present to you.....
One hour that you could spend actually changing the world, one choice at a time!
How many of you lit candles, did you ever consider the energy consumed in the making of those tea lights or candles?
The problem with gimmick events like Earth Hour is that many people will participate publicly to appease their conscience while at the same time judging those who don't participate. What they won't consider when they go back to their regular lives (and regular energy consumption) is that some people have made changes in the way they live their lives that do so much more than one hour could do.
Consider that in our house for example, we have a device that shows us real time energy consumption so we can see how much power we are using at any one time and turn off extra lights, the TV, etc. to reduce the numbers. The kids see the number and want it to be a "little" number to save electricity and the planet. If they sit down at breakfast and the number is 0.5 kW (~500W), they remember that the TV is on and they go turn it off. They are learning young to save electricity because it is the right thing to do. We also have a device which uploads this information online (see screenshots) that lets us track exactly when we use electricity so that we can shift usage to lower usage times (province wide - http://www.ieso.ca/) to reduce the impact of our energy use on the environment as well as costs to the province for power. Its not a perfect system, unfortunately our biggest winter power user, the dryer, doesn't have a timer function, so it has to run while we are awake and sometimes not at ideal times.
Getting back to Earth Hour, based on an average evening, we use anywhere from 100 - 300 W over baseload of about 170W (the fridge, deep freezer, furnace, always "on" computer equipment like modem, routers, switches and server) during the 8:30 - 9:30 time period. If we turned everything off during that time period, we would have saved at most 300 Wh of electricity, 3 cents worth at flat rate (or less than 2 cents on weekend low peak time of use rates). The energy we save hanging one load of laundry to dry outside is approximately 3000 Wh or 10x one Earth Hour. Now I know for some people they would have saved more during Earth Hour because they normally use a lot more, but since we've managed to be very efficient as it is, making a couple of candles to light up our house during Earth Hour would likely take away a good chunk of our energy savings for the hour. How many Earth "Hourites" bother setting up clotheslines? I know in the area around my house, there is one "hidden" clothesline, other than ours which spans the whole backyard, in the 12 or so backyards I can see from my own. I know that the dryer is the biggest energy waster in my house and have taken steps to mitigate the impact of this device, that alone is worth a heck of a lot more than turning off the lights for an hour.
If you did participate in Earth Hour, make sure you made lasting changes. Otherwise it is just as I said, a way to appease consciences, because what good is awareness if you don't make any changes from what you learned.