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Don’t forget to UNPLUG for Earth Hour this Saturday!

(UPDATED information March 25, 2013) March 19, 2013 - Shortly after Earth Hour concluded, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) reported lower demand for electricity in Ontario of 2.7% or 448MW as a result of Earth Hour. This drop is more than the average peak energy needs of a city the size of Burlington, Ont., it said.

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March 19, 2013
By Alyssa Dalton

On Saturday March 23, various cities across Canada will join the world in marking Earth Hour by turning off the lights between 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Earth Hour is a global event dedicated to raising awareness about conserving energy and fighting climate change—“Everyone can make a difference by taking steps to conserve energy after Earth Hour when the lights go back on”, organizers noted.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, 39% of Canadians participated in Earth Hour in 2012. This year also marks the fifth year the Ontario government is participating in Earth Hour. Approximately 70 government-owned buildings will be turning off the lights.

“When it comes to managing electricity use and energy costs, we can all do more,” said Bob Chiarelli, Ontario’s minister of energy. “Conservation is an important part of our collective effort to lower greenhouse gas emissions and continue building a clean, reliable, modern electricity system.”

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Don’t forget to power down Saturday March 23 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The Ontario government suggested several tips to help manage energy use:

• Seize the daylight: In the winter, keep curtains open during the day to draw in sunlight.
• Drafts be gone: Install weatherstripping and caulking around windows, doors and dryer vents, and insulate your home properly to help minimize heating and cooling costs.
• Get with the program: When properly set, a programmable thermostat can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 10%, it said. In the winter, set your thermostat to 20°C when you’re home and 18°C when sleeping or away.
• Heat efficiently: Have a qualified technician service your furnace on a regular basis to ensure it is working at maximum efficiency. Clean or change the filter regularly – a dirty filter reduces airflow and makes the furnace work harder to circulate the air.
• Off-peak pays: Take advantage of lower energy prices during off-peak hours.

“Earth Hour reminds us we can each make changes at home to conserve energy and take a load off the environment. Small actions add up to big changes for the better,” said Jim Bradley, Ontario’s minister of environment.