Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earth Hour Toronto Success-City exceeds goal for power savings

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

Adaptability is strength. Inconsistency is weakness. A compromise you are considering is best described by the former adjective. There is a subtle difference; keep that in mind and you will prevail.

Gemini (May 21 — June 21)

No longer can a certain someone oppose your every suggestion, challenge every contribution or dismantle every attempt to be constructive. Halcyon winds are blowing your ship in a different direction. Power is on your side.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

You are beginning to wonder if your life is really your own. There is a temptation to give up hope of living it for yourself. It would be better now to establish your own agenda and keep control of it.

Pisces (Feb. 20 — March 20)

It is as if you have an inner glow. You are exuding lovely charisma. So be careful what you say and to whom. You may find yourself inadvertently winning hearts and captivating minds. Use this power wisely.

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City exceeds goal for power savings
Toronto Hydro officials monitor Toronto's power consumption eight minutes into Earth Hour at Hydro's control centre, March 29, 2008.
March 30, 2008

Staff Reporter

The numbers flashed on a huge digital clock: 20:00 hours, or 8 p.m. as we know it.

In Toronto Hydro's top-secret control room – so secret that reporters are forbidden from revealing its location – a dozen heads turned toward one of many giant screens watching for any sign of change in the city's electricity use.

It started at 2885 megawatts (the average for this time on a Saturday is closer to 3000 megawatts, according to the power company), perhaps reflecting the fact that a lot of big consumers began powering down before the hour began.

Toronto's goal for Earth Hour was a 5 per cent drop, to about 2745 megawatts. The line dipped a little, and then a little more. Within five minutes, the city's power use had dipped by close to 50 megawatts, or close to one-third of its target.

The control centre is where Hydro staff monitor the city's electricity consumption, minute by minute, 24 hours a day, ready to act at any sign of trouble. Excitement buzzed in the air as staffers bet on how low the numbers would drop. While most expected a sudden drop, it was more a slow, steady decline.

Earth Hour began just as the sun set and the street lights turned on, which may have offset the drop, a manager said. By 8:15 p.m., the line had dropped to 2810 megawatts, halfway to the goal.

"It's still dropping," said supervisor John Fletcher. "People may have been watching TV or forgotten to turn the lights off. And it takes large buildings a long time to power down."

It seemed to level off halfway through the hour, but the downward trend continued until the very end. At 8:36 p.m., Toronto reached its goal. The numbers hit their lowest – 2738 Megawatts – at 8:54 p.m. That's an 8.7 per cent drop.

When the giant clock jumped 21:00, then 21:05, the numbers rose as surely as they dropped.

"People will forget to put out the lights ... but they won't forget to put them back on," Fletcher said.


100 million
Number of people Earth Hour officials hoped would turn off their lights worldwide

Number of Danish cities that took part, including 160 major companies and organizations

Number of lights turned off on the Ferris wheel at Chicago's Navy Pier

Number of Canadians who signed up for Earth Hour as of yesterday

Number of Canadian towns and cities expected to participate

Number of Earth Hour Toronto Facebook members

Number who participated in Zamboanga, Philippines, where the power utility simply imposed an hour-long brownout

One third
Buildings account for about one-third of the carbon emissions scientists say will boost global temperatures by between 1.4 and 4.0C this century

Number of floating candles in the pool at the Fairmont Royal York's candlelight swim

2,738 mw
Lowest Hydro measure in Toronto last night

Amount Christchurch, N.Z., cut energy consumption, enough to power 420 homes for a week

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