Connecticut in the Dark About Earth Hour

Mar 22nd, 2010 | By | Category: Energy Conservation, Energy Efficiency

Make every hour Earth Hour

While international support of the worldwide energy conservation event known as Earth Hour has had explosive growth, a survey conducted by Direct Energy shows only 10 percent of Connecticut respondents are aware of Earth Hour, which is now approaching its fourth year.

While overall awareness is low, there is a slight growth in participation where 37 percent of respondents plan to take part this year, up from only 28 percent in previous years, according to Direct Energy.

On March 27, an estimated one billion people from 41,000 cities in 87 countries will participate in Earth Hour. Individuals, businesses, and international landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramids and the city skylines of Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Tel- Aviv pledge to turn out the lights for 60 minutes.

While Earth Hour draws everyone’s attention to the big impact that can be made in a short amount of time by turning off the lights, “Earth Hour means more than just doing without lights for an hour, once a year,” said Cory Byzewski, vice president and general manager of Direct Energy. “It’s about what actions we can take throughout the year to conserve energy, and how seemingly small efforts can add up to big results – environmentally and financially.”

Of those in Connecticut who plan to participate, 57 percent said they would not use electric lights for the hour, and 54 percent said they would run only essential appliances during that time. And seven percent said their employers plan to participate in the event this year, up from 1 percent in 2009.

This year, as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to supporting Earth Hour, Direct Energy will be offsetting an average hour of power consumption for all of its facilities across North America through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Nearly 60 percent of the company’s employees have also committed to taking part in Earth Hour in their own homes.

The Direct Energy survey also showed that while 35 percent of Connecticut respondents believe Earth Hour meets its goal of reducing energy consumption, only 12 percent understand the goal of drawing attention to global warming and climate change.

Direct Energy is focused on helping its customers use energy more efficiently to help them reduce their energy costs. To make every hour Earth Hour, and reduce your carbon footprint, Direct Energy offers the following energy efficiency tips:

  • Invest in timers and resolve to use them. Leaving the front porch light on when away or through the night gives a certain sense of security, but it also keeps the meter turning and racks up dollars throughout the year. A little here and there won’t break the bank, but added up throughout the year, it’s a significant waste of energy and money. Timers and motion-sensors can bring that same feeling of security while also avoiding unnecessary energy usage. It’s a fairly inexpensive investment requiring little change on the consumer’s end, but it can have a positive impact on those annual energy costs.
  • Use a programmable thermostat. Resolve to buy one and use it, or to actually set yours and not override it. Programmable thermostats allow consumers to cool or heat their homes only when it’s needed, and avoid running the cooling or heating system for an empty house. US Department of Energy stats reveal that you can save 5 – 15 percent a year on your cooling and heating costs when the thermostat is set back 10 degrees – 15 degrees for 8 hours – like when everyone’s at work and school, for example.
  • Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. CFL bulbs use two-thirds less energy, generate less heat and have a significantly longer life span. Installing six CFL bulbs will save over $60 per year on your electricity bill.
  • Turn it off and unplug it. How many times have you found the television watching the room in your house? Remember to turn off lights and whenever you leave the room unplug all vampire electronics that aren’t in use, like cell phone chargers and computers to prevent them from sucking power even when they’re not on. The simple flick of a switch and pull of a cord will help you conserve energy.
  • Commit to preventative maintenance. This can be as easy as changing the filter on the cooling or heating system on a regular basis to avoid the buildup of particles that make the system work harder than it needs to and can avoid unnecessary wear-and-tear on the system’s components. To maximize the efficiency potential, resolve to have the system checked annually by a qualified technician who can help diagnose problems before they cause system down-time at the least convenient moment – like the next family gathering.
  • Understand your energy pricing plan – Make sure you know who your retail electricity and/or natural gas provider is, what type of plan you’re on (whether it can change from month-to-month or depending on market changes, or whether it’s fixed), what the length of your agreement term is, and when it expires.

About the survey

The Earth Hour Awareness and Participation Survey, conducted by Polaris Marketing Research on behalf of Direct Energy, was conducted through online surveys of 1,816 consumers in both the United States and Canada. Consumers were screened to ensure they were at least 18 years of age. Online interviews were completed in early March with at least 300 qualified respondents in Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas in the United States, and Alberta and Ontario in Canada. The margin of error for n=300 at the 95 per cent confidence level is 5.7 percent.

Direct Energy is one of North America’s largest energy and energy-related services providers with over 5 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE: CNA), one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 20 states and 10 provinces in Canada.

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