Jennifer: Two weeks ago today, almost 4000 towns and cities throughout the world participated in a bid to reduce power usage for an entire hour. On March 28, between 8:30 and 9:30 pm, Perth’s power usage was reduced by 2 per cent, as 40 per cent of the city’s residents switched off their lights.
The results are now in for a world-wide energy-saving experiment organised by the Association of Science and Technology Centres based in Washinton, DC. In the week leading up to Earth Hour, Perth schools were encouraged to switch off televisions, microwaves, computers and photocopiers, and to record for how long each appliance was switched off. My colleague Kelly- analyser of data received and chief motivator of schools participating, encouraged the entire Scitech staff to take part in this bid to determine the amount of energy that can be saved by switching off stand-by power.
In joining forces with 11 metropolitan schools, we collectively saved $2307 in stand-by power over the entire week. If these power-saving behaviours were to continue for a year, we would save $63 175 in power, reduce our annual carbon emissions by 362 tonnes and produce the same effect as planting 2170 trees.
In the Scitech Outreach office, we aim to continue to switch off the microwave at the wall after heating up our lunch, to turn off the photocopier when it’s not being used and to make sure the lights are off when the office is empty. In altering our behaviour minimally, we reap enormous financial and environmental rewards.
The success of the ASTC experiment would not have been possible without the input from its enthusiastic participants. However only one person can take the credit for our new motto at the office- my colleague Jane, who coined the phrase: “Scitech Outreach: we’re switched on to switching off”.