For the sixth year in a row, Mayor Thomas M. Menino is encouraging residents and business owners to take part in Earth Hour and Lights Out Boston, two campaigns that work to raise awareness on the importance of climate action/energy conservation and wildlife migration, respectively.
In an effort to raise awareness on climate action and the importance of climate education, the city is participating in the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour, an international event that raises awareness about climate change. Earth Hour 2013 asks participants to extinguish all non-essential lighting for one hour on Saturday, March 23, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.
“Dimming the lights on some of Boston’s iconic buildings and skyscrapers draws attention to the important role of local action in addressing the global challenge of climate change,” Menino said. “The actions of the Boston community to raise awareness on climate change highlight how simple changes can make a significant impact in reducing energy use and improving our environment.”
In Earth Hour 2012, Boston joined more than 5,000 cities and towns worldwide to reach a record-breaking year of participation. For Earth Hour 2013, iconic Boston buildings and landmarks such as the Customs House, the John Hancock Building, the Prudential Center and Boston’s first green skyscraper, Atlantic Wharf, will be participating, along with a host of building owners and property managers, businesses, institutions, universities, hotels and neighborhood organizations.
Additionally, the City of Boston’s partnership with Mass Audubon and major property owners in the award-winning Lights Out program, is also entering its sixth season. This program encourages building owners and property managers to voluntarily turn off or dim all architectural and non-essential lighting between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. during the spring migratory bird season, ending June 2. Dozens of commercial skyscrapers in Downtown Boston are participating.
“We look forward to partnering with Mayor Menino for a sixth year on a project that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves energy and protects birds while saving money for local building owners,” said Jack Clarke, director of public policy and government relations at Mass Audubon.
By dimming the Boston skyline, this innovative program is an example of businesses using energy more efficiently. When a city skyline — especially buildings over 20 stories high — is brightly lit at night, the lights can disorient the birds traveling through the urban environment. Although scientists are unsure of the exact reasons for this problem, birds can fly as low as 500 feet during inclement weather, and skyscrapers are the most visible part of the city to migrating birds.
The city’s participation in Earth Hour and Lights Out Boston are part of Menino’s Greenovate Boston initiative. Greenovate Boston aims to encourage sustainable behavior by Boston residents and businesses in order to meet the mayor’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals of 25 percent by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050.
Any lighting that is essential for operation or is related to public safety, such as street and emergency lighting will remain on. For more on Earth Hour in the City of Boston visit http://www.cityofboston.gov/earthhour.
“Under Mayor Menino’s leadership, we are once again bringing the community together to highlight the issue of climate change,” said Brian Swett, Boston’s chief of environment and energy. “We encourage residents, building owners, and tenants to always be thoughtful about energy use and ensure that all lights are off when they are not serving a purpose.”The City of Boston is a nationally recognized leader in environmental and energy policy. Boston is the first major city in the nation to require all large private construction projects adhere to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards and is the largest municipal purchaser of wind power in New England. For more ways to reduce carbon footprints throughout the year.
visit the City of Boston’s Environmental and Energy Services page online at www.cityofboston.gov/environmentalandenergy.