Earth Hour will darken Pittsburgh's skyline Saturday
March 27, 2015 11:19 PM
The Golden Triangle lights will be dimmed on Saturday in celebration of Earth Hour.
By Don Hopey / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The dark night returns to the city of Pittsburgh tonight.
For an hour beginning at 8:30 p.m., more than 100 buildings, sports fields and stadiums, monuments, even Point State Park, will turn off non-essential lighting to participate in Earth Hour, a symbolic, global celebration of environmental awareness, energy conservation and climate change by businesses, building owners, governments and individuals in more than 7,000 cities and towns.
This year’s Earth Hour will see lights dimmed on the Downtown skyline and in Oakland. The local effort is led by the Green Building Alliance’s Pittsburgh 2030 District partners, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and the city of Pittsburgh. Carnegie Mellon University, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh and the Green Workplace Challenge.
“Our goal is dramatic darkness,” said Anna Siefken, director of the Pittsburgh 2030 District, an ongoing program seeking to reduce building energy, water use and transportation emissions in the city by 50 percent over the next 15 years. “This is an international event but also a way to focus our efforts and leverage our relationships in the central building districts.
”We always focus on climate change and on ways to be more sustainable. We’re working with building owners and managers to drive down electricity and water usage.”
Twenty-eight Downtown buildings dimmed their lights last year but the number has jumped four-fold this year and includes new additions on the North Side, Station Square and Oakland. The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will turn off lights around the the Point State Park fountain, which isn’t operating yet. The Pirates will dim lights at PNC Park and the Steelers will do the same at Heinz Field. Both inclines running up Mt. Washington also will go dark, as will all of the buildings at CMU and Carlow University.
This year’s Earth Hour in Pittsburgh also serves as the kick-off for “De-Light Pittsburgh,’ a year-long initiative designed to foster energy awareness and conservation among individuals and in their homes.
According to the World Wildlife Fund Global website, the first Earth Hour was held in 2007 in Sidney, Austrailia, when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned off their lights for one hour to support action on climate change. A year later, participation in Earth hour had grown to 50 million people in 35 nations, darkening the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Collosseum and Times Square billboards.
Last year, hundreds of millions of people in 162 nations on all seven continents participated.
”By turning off non-essential lights for one hour, we are joining a global network of cities, and citizens, who are working together to make a positive contribution,“ said Grant Irvin, sustainability manager in Mr. Peduto’s office. ”Every year we've participated in Earth Hour it’s grown … We encourage encourage residents and businesses to join us."
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