COLUMBIA — From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, residents of Columbia connected with the world as they shut off their lights to participate in Earth Hour.
Columbia Climate Change Coalition encouraged citizens to participate in this year's Earth Hour by asking them to voluntarily shut off their lights to help increase awareness about climate change, save energy and avoid greenhouse gas emissions. Earth Hour is a global initiative, sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund, in hopes to "cast a vote in favor of action on climate change," according to its Web site.
Columbia Water & Light staff estimated that Columbia's involvement in Earth Hour resulted in a 1.27 megawatt drop in the electric load during that hour, according to a news release from the department. For the hour, the electric load was 161 megawatt hours. The drop in electricity is comparable to the amount of power used in 50 homes in Columbia for one average day, according to the release. Electric consumption was evaluated on a 15-second interval and was compared with the previous week's electric load, according to the release.
During the 2008 Earth Hour, Columbia Water & Light estimated there was a 1.72 megawatt saving, with the electric load at 144 megawatts. According to the release, that electric load is equivalent to the amount of power used by 70 homes in Columbia on an average day.