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Report: Earth Hour participation dropping in B.C. despite support for conserving energy

VANCOUVER — A new report released today by BC Hydro finds most British Columbians still think Earth Hour is important despite four years of declining participation.

The report entitled Lights out: Why Earth Hour is dimming in B.C. [PDF, 320 KB] found British Columbians reduced their electricity use during Earth Hour – an annual global event hosted by the World Wildlife Fund that encourages turning off the lights for an hour to raise awareness around combating climate change – by just 0.3 per cent in 2017, or 15 per cent of the savings achieved in 2008.

The decline comes despite 7 in 10 British Columbians surveyed for the report saying they intend to participate in Earth Hour this year. The findings suggest BC Hydro’s largely hydroelectric generation may account for the lack participation in Earth Hour. Electricity generation accounts for only 1 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in B.C.

The report also found while British Columbians place importance on the environment, it is not the primary driver for them to conserve. At nearly 70 per cent, most British Columbians say their greatest motivation for reducing electricity use is saving money on bills. Only 15 per cent said their primary motivation is “the environment.”

When asked how much they would need to save on their bills to be motivated to conserve, more than 80 per cent of British Columbians said they would make the changes only if they saved $300 or more. BC Hydro customers who act on 10 no-cost conservation tips, including unplugging a second fridge and lowering the thermostat, can save up to $455 a year on their electricity costs.

“While Earth Hour may have lost some of its momentum in B.C. in recent years, we still see this as a symbolic event – a way to raise awareness about energy conservation,” said Chris O’Riley, BC Hydro’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “That’s why we are encouraging British Columbians to turn off unnecessary lights and electronics from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday in support of Earth Hour.”

BC Hydro customers can view an hourly breakdown of their electricity use for Saturday evening by logging onto their online MyHydro account to see how much they saved.

For conservation tools, resources and incentives, visit

Quick Facts:

To save up to $455 per year, BC Hydro recommends following these 10 no-cost conservation tips:

  1. Unplug that second fridge and save up to $90 per year.
  2. Lower the thermostat to 21 degrees Celsius during the day and 16 degrees Celsius at night while sleeping to save up to $72 per year.
  3. Unplug unused electronics and save $50 per year.
  4. Hang dry laundry to save about $47 per year.
  5. Be strategic with window coverings by keeping the warm air in during the winter and the cool air in during the summer to save about $45 per year.
  6. Skip the dishwasher heat-dry setting and save up to $37 per year.
  7. Cut one load of laundry per week by only running full loads and save $30 per year.
  8. Cut shower time by a minute to save $30 per year.
  9. Wash laundry in cold water and save up to $27 per year.
  10. Toss a dry towel in the dryer and save $27 per year.


BC Hydro Media Relations
604 928 6468