Posted on 01 April 2019
Earth Hour 2019: The Most Massive Ecological Action in the World
On Saturday, March 30, at 20:30 local time, homes, offices, streets lighting, illumination of architectural monuments, government buildings and shopping centres in 188 countries and territories all went out for one hour. Lights on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Sydney Opera House, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the Egyptian Pyramids, the Empire State Building in New York, the Olympic Stadium in Beijing, and the statue of Christ the Saviour in Rio de Janeiro were extinguished. The #EarthHour and #Connect2Earth official hashtags received more than 2 billion impressions.
In Ukraine, more than 70 cities and 4 national parks joined the Earth Hour campaign. A number of restaurants and cafés are collaborating in the event by offering candlelit dinners, and together with the Scouts, and advent #Connect2Earth Calendar has been produced which offers daily environmental tips instead of sweets. Local cinemas cooperated by screening Earth Hour advertisements.
A pedestrian bridge across the Dnipro, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, the "Motherland" Monument, St. Michael's Monastery, St. Sophia's Cathedral, the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the flagpole on Independence Square and the Kyiv City State Administration were plunged into darkness for an hour. WWF-Ukraine together with Svitlo Concert and Virtuosos of Kiev organised “Music of the Earth” classical music concert in the dark.
The lights on St. George's Cathedral, the TV tower on Castle Hill and the Town Hall were switched off. Scouts in Plast organised a flash mob to attract attention to the action and environmental issues, and the Fest! Network organised thematic events with candles.
The Vernisage Centre of Culture held an exhibition by candlelight.
It was lights out in Odessa’s city centre - Primorsky Blvd., Dumska Square and City Council building, Catherine Square, Derybasivska St. and Pushkinska St. all quenched their lights. WWF-Ukraine together with Impact Hub Odessa held a thematic evening devoted Earth Hour, which included eco-dating and listening to live acoustic performances at candlelight.
And many others...
Earth Hour is an amazing world-wide event; saving energy, raising awareness, and coming together for the survival of our planet. However, while important, that event is just one hour of a given day. There are many simple things you can implement at home or at the office that make and impact every hour of every day. Asking yourself what more you can do on a daily basis, not just one hour a year?
Here are some tips:
- Powering off electrical appliances (rather than leaving on standby): Many newer electrical appliances (particularly televisions) have a 'standby' mode, where although they are not operating, they are still consuming electricity. A lot of power can be saved by not leaving televisions on standby for long periods. Standby lights on TVs, just TVs, just in the US, consume as much electricity as one nuclear power plant each year. Add to that DVD players, stereos, monitors, routers, modems...Some equipment these days, like routers and modems, do not even come with an off switch! Plug everything into an extension cord with a master-slave switch. When you leave for work or go to bed, or when the stuff is generally not in use, just flick the master switch. Appliances still draw power when turned off but plugged in.
- The refrigerator should not be located in a hot place (e.g. next to a cooker, next to a washing machine, in direct sunlight etc.). Make sure that a thick layer of dust does not accumulate on the coils at the back. It is recommended that they are cleaned once a year. Position the refrigerator so that air can circulate freely around the coils.
- Pipe insulation: If pipes carrying hot water are routed through unheated parts of a building (e.g. through a roof space) then a lot of energy will be wasted. Insulating the pipes will save large amounts of energy, and will also increase the temperature of the hot water supply.
- Getting the most from radiators: Optimally positioning radiators can help to improve the comfort level in a room, and ensure that the occupants of the room benefit from the heat that the radiator produces. Where a radiator is mounted on an outside wall, using a reflecting layer fitted to the wall behind the radiator can reduce the amount of heat loss. This stuff is basically bubble-wrap packaging with a layer of aluminium over it, and can be found at most major hardware stores for about 1 Euro/m2. Moreover, thermostatic radiator valves reduce energy waste by allowing the heat output of individual radiators to be regulated to match needs.
- Door or window snake: This is simply a fabric 'sausage' that is placed on the floor against the bottom of a door, or between 2 window panes to prevent drafts.
- Door sweeps: These are strips of soft brush material that fit to the bottom edge of doors to reduce drafts. Easily attached, and unlike a door snake, these close behind you. Nor is there any concern closing the door because of tile height.
- Insulation panels on doors: If doors are thin, a lot of heat can be lost by direct conduction through them. This can be reduced by fitting insulating panels.
- Door closing springs: Despite efforts to raise public awareness, people are still likely to forget to close doors. Springs can be fitted to close doors automatically, and reducing heat loss.
- Shutters: Wooden shutters which are closed at night will reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
- Plastic film/secondary glazing: Heat loss through windows can be reduced by 25-40% by using clear plastic film to form a cheap, simple but temporary form of double-glazing.
- Heavy curtains on windows and doors: If they are closed at night, heavy curtains can prevent heat loss through windows. It is important to make sure they do not hang in front of radiators. Heavy curtains can also be hung over front doors to prevent heat loss.
- Window catches: If window catches do not work properly, windows do not close completely, and heat may be lost.
- Roof insulation (flat roofs) or loft insulation (pitched roofs): A very large amount of heat is lost through the roof of a building. Although it can be quite expensive, insulating the roof (or the loft space where there is a sloping roof) is usually very cost-effective.
- Carpets: Carpets will reduce the heat loss through floors as well as improving comfort. Where floors are wooden with an air space beneath, cold air (and dust) can leak in through the gaps between the floorboards. Where floors are solid concrete, they are cold and unpleasant to walk on.
- Luminaire selection and maintenance: The luminaire is the name given to the whole structure that a light bulb is fitted in. Some luminaires are better at directing more light to where it is needed. All luminaires are more efficient if they are kept clean.
- Task lighting: Electricity consumption in homes and offices can be reduced by using individual task lights (for example, desk lamps) to provide bright light only where it is actually needed.
- Water-saving taps and shower heads: These are simple and cheap attachments which mix air with the flow of hot water. The tap / shower head works just as well as before, but only requires about half as much hot water. Less hot water down the drain means less energy wasted.
- Behaviour changes: Surprisingly large amounts of energy can be saved just by changing behaviours. Obvious examples are switching off lights that are not needed, not leaving a hot tap running unnecessarily, boiling only as much water in the kettle as you need.
- Boiler thermostats: Large amounts of heat will be wasted if a boiler is heating water to an unnecessarily high temperature. Fitting a thermostat to the boiler can prevent this.
- Awnings: These are canvas shades which are stretched above the outside of windows in summer to prevent direct sun from entering the window, helping to reduce overheating of buildings in summer. This will not actually save energy unless the building is air-conditioned, but it will improve comfort.
- Planting trees as a windbreak: A row of trees can prevent the wind from blowing directly on a building, so reducing the heat loss.
- Conservatories: These are structures made from glass, a bit like a greenhouse, but built against the south wall of a house. They trap the heat of the sun and so reduce the amount of heat lost during winter.
- Greening of walls: A layer of climbing plants growing over a wall traps a layer of air around the building and acts as an insulating blanket.
- Plugging leaks in hot air ducts: In some buildings, the heating system works by heating up air in a central heating plant. The hot air is then blown through a system of ducts into the rooms. If these ducts have leaks, then hot air is being wasted.
- Gaskets behind electrical fittings: Some buildings are constructed with a cavity between the main wall and an interior layer of cladding. Cold air can leak into a room through the small gaps around light switches and electrical sockets. The fitting of rubber gaskets behind electrical fittings can reduce this.
- Caulking of leaks: Caulk is a general term for any soft material that is used to fill cracks permanently. Many different materials can be used, with different costs, different lifetimes and different environmental qualities.
- Clean filters, ventilation, and fans such as those in computers so they will run more efficiently and draw less energy. Also clean your light bulbs and lamp shades.
- Keep the thermostat at 20 C or below. If you are chilly, throw on a sweater or go cuddle with someone.
- Lower ceiling height to 2.5 meters.
- Insulate your windows. Avoid the cheap foam strips. The foam strips are not very efficient, and disintegrate in a year anyway. Buy silicon p-profile strips.
- If you are putting in a new bathtub, put Styrofoam or other insulation around the tub before tiling.