DUBAI // About Dh1 million worth of electricity was saved in Dubai by dimming the lights for Earth Hour last year, and there are hopes the savings could be 20 per cent higher for the event this week.
From 8.30pm to 9.30pm on Saturday, those participating will turn out the lights and unplug non-essential appliances.
It will be the sixth time Dubai has participated in the global campaign to reduce energy consumption by powering down homes, businesses and landmarks, and the fifth time for the UAE. More than 140 countries, including 7,000 cities and towns around the world, participate in the event, which began in Australia in 2007.
“The success we witnessed last year was the result of efforts exerted by all sectors believing in this world campaign and supporting its goals,” said Saeed Al Tayer, chief executive of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa).
Dubai residents saved 216,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 130,000 kilograms of carbon emissions last year, Dewa said. That means savings of about Dh1 million in energy consumption.
Mr Al Tayer said that figure was expected to rise by 20 per cent this year.
The savings represent a huge increase from 2008, the first year Dubai took part, where it saved 100,000kWh of electricity and 60,000kg of carbon emissions.
Ida Tillisch, acting director general of WWF-UAE, said the increased projections for savings were calculated against the greater awareness of the event.
“There are more and more people participating in Earth Hour,” Ms Tillisch said. “This year we have record participation in terms of sign-ups.”
Across Dubai, key landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab will cut lights to mark the hour, and Emaar Properties will shut off exterior lights at its malls.
An Earth Hour walk will be held at the Burj Plaza, Downtown Dubai, where thousands are expected to mark the event with candles.
Dubai Municipality yesterday said lights at its key buildings would also be cut, and asked the public to follow its example.
Mr Al Tayer said the event was not supposed to be only once a year, but was meant to foster genuine change.
“Earth Hour goes beyond turning off the lights for one hour,” he said.
“It is an international call for strengthening collaboration to promote the culture of conservation, and making it a part of daily lifestyle.”
For more information, or to sign up, visit www.uae.panda.org/earthhour.