U.Va. to Mark Earth Hour by Turning Off Lights

March 19, 2009 — The University of Virginia community will observe Earth Hour on March 28 by shutting off unnecessary lights and electronics.

To mark Earth Hour, which will be held from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on March 28, lights around Grounds, including those at Campbell Hall, the John Paul Jones Arena, the Chemistry Building and elsewhere, will be switched off for the hour or longer. Some lights will remain on for safety reasons.

Earth Hour, which began in 2007, is a global event intended to create awareness of energy use and conservation. Participants in more than 1,500 cities and towns across 80 countries have committed to shutting off nonessential electric devices.

U.Va. students, faculty and staff are being asked to participate by turning off unnecessary lights and electronics in their residence houses and homes. Student and staff volunteers will also circulate on Grounds Friday to remind people to shut off lights and equipment in offices for the weekend.

A series of small measures can have a great cumulative impact. A 100-watt bulb, left on from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m., would use 511 kilowatt-hours, costing about $33 a year. A typical Dell desktop computer with an LCD screen, left in screen saver mode for the same period, would use approximately 603 kilowatt-hours of electricity, costing $38. Beyond their financial cost, both needlessly contribute to carbon emissions.

By marking Earth Hour, the University is demonstrating its commitment to sustainability and to reducing its carbon footprint.

The event is being organized and sponsored by the Office of Community Relations, the Facilities Management division and the Office of the Architect.

Information on Earth Hour and the University's participation is available on the Community Relations Web site and the event site.