Minutes before 8 p.m. on Saturday night, Kerri Macdonald switched the breaker in the basement of the Hunt Club-area house she rents, plunging it into darkness.
On the main floor, friends lit candles and for the next 60 minutes — over Earth Hour — they played board games, talked and had a few beers.
“It was nice to just sit around in the dark and talk,” she said. “It’s not something I’d do every weekend, but once a month wouldn’t be too bad.”
Yesterday, Hydro Ottawa reported that the citywide efforts of organizations, businesses and private citizens like Macdonald were the equivalent in energy savings of 35,687 homes switching off.
Using the previous Saturday as a benchmark, Hydro Ottawa reported a local drop in electricity consumption of 37 megawatts — 892 megawatts were consumed here on Saturday night compared to more than 929 megawatts a week earlier, on March 22. That represents a four per cent energy savings across Ottawa, attributed to the Earth Hour event.
While the Peace Tower and hundreds of businesses turned off lights, Macdonald felt Ottawa could’ve done better, noting how a store parking lot behind her home kept its lights burning.
“It was disappointing they didn’t turn them off. That kind of killed the mood.”
Hydro Ottawa spokeswoman Susan Barrett said the drop in consumption was not the only measure of Earth Hour’s success.
“The other measure is the number of participants and the number of people that signed on to the website,” she said. “In terms of engagement, we think this was a huge success.”