March 29, 2011: Whistler, BC - Whistler residents take a bow. Whistler’s commitment to the Saturday, March 26 Earth Hour challenge resulted in a power consumption reduction of 4.35 per cent between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., enough to handily beat out the competition in the Sea to Sky corridor. This marked a decrease of 1.15 per cent over last year.
Squamish dropped its electricity usage by 1.49 per cent, while last year’s victor, Pemberton, saw an increase in consumption of 1.95 per cent. Saturday night’s outcome clearly delighted Kiran Pal-Pross, Earth Hour coordinator for the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW).
“Earth Hour is the largest grassroots environmental movement in history and an international message to world leaders requesting action on climate change. Whistler’s efforts helped to lower the world’s overall energy consumption and celebrate renewable energy,” said Pal-Pross.
“More than half of the world’s electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels, which is responsible for the majority of our global warming issues. So Earth Hour encourages us to come up with creative ways to reduce and power our daily activities, and shows us the power we have when we come together under one goal.”
In Whistler Village, creativity was key to achieving that goal. Diners were served by candlelight at restaurants not normally known for romantic ambience. At Whistler Olympic Plaza more than 400 reggae fans took part in an Aaron Nazrul & the Boom Booms concert using pedal-power to fuel the show’s highly efficient LED lights and sound system. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler featured a cold menu with raw items from their Lifestyle Cuisine Plus menu handwritten on handmade paper. The RMOW turned off the festive ambient lighting throughout the village and Whistler Blackcomb saved an impressive 2.1 megawatts by turning off its two main power feeds. The steps helped Whistler tie for third place in the province with Kitimat. Tumbler Ridge came in second with a reduction of 4.95 and Powell River took top honours by cutting its electricity consumption by 5.7 per cent.
"I am very proud of the community and the way so many people responded to the challenge to improve our performance. It was really a community wide effort which shows that a small amount of additional effort can have a measurable benefit. I think that we can take this up another level next year and set our mark on tops in the province,” said Mayor Ken Melamed.
Special thanks goes out to Tourism Whistler, Sharp's Audio-Visual, Rotary Club of Whistler, Watermark Communications, Evolution, Teeks Tekniques, Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Westin Resort & Spa, the LUNA Crew, Whistler Blackcomb, Restaurant Association of Whistler, Whistler Facility Managers Association, Grassroots Pizza and lululemon athletica for their support during Earth Hour.
Whistler has been celebrating Earth Hour for the past four years. The world-wide event was founded by the World Wildlife Fund in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. This year a record 134 countries participated in Earth Hour. In Canada, 422 cities, municipalities and towns took part in the event.