High rise lights go out for Earth Hour

Fermilab will shut off all nonessential lights in Wilson Hall between 8:30-9:30 p.m. CDT on Saturday, March 26, as part of Earth Hour.

Fermilab’s Wilson Hall stands 16 stories above the surrounding prairie, serving as a beacon for the northwestern suburbs.

For one hour on Saturday, March 26, between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., Fermilab would like to improve its energy conservation efforts in Wilson Hall by joining businesses, organizations and homes around the world in darkness. Earth Hour, a global 60 minutes without electricity, delivers a powerful message about the need for action to pull the plug on global warming.

“Earth Hour is a simple act that gives us an opportunity to think about the way we consume energy and the impact of how we use energy on the environment,” said Eric Mieland, an environmental specialist at Fermilab.

Nonessential lights in Wilson Hall shut off at pre-determined times based on annual occupant surveys. Lights necessary for safety, such as those in stairwells, and those needed to run experiments remain on. Those who need to work on Saturday night should try to do so before or after 8:30-9:30 p.m. If you must work during that time, please remember to switch lights off when done.

Wilson Hall building manager John Kent hopes that employees will do their part by turning off personal computers, task lights or any other personal electronics before leaving for the weekend.

In a 2010 press release, Commonwealth Edison, the electric company that provides power to Chicago and northern Illinois, said that the Earth Hour event cut the metropolitan area’s energy consumption by an estimated 100 megawatt hours, the equivalent of removing 124,320 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or planting 15 acres of trees. Already this year, thousands of cities in 120 countries have signed on to participate in this year’s event.

For more information on Earth Hour, visit www.earthhour.org. Contact Eric Mieland, x2248, mieland@fnal.gov, with questions.

— Rhianna Wisniewski