My company is as socially conscious as the next one, I guess, so I’ve been getting these e-mails about Earth Hour. Seems tonight at 8:30 PM, all the lights at the office go out. Of course, it’s Saturday night. There won’t be anyone there anyway. Seems like all the lights ought to already be out. But the eco folk want us all to do this at home, too. And that’s swell. I mean I do love me some Mother Nature, and I’d like to keep the old bitch around, too.
But it got me thinking. I mean it’s Saturday night and this is America. So what are folks gonna do? Sit home in the dark and read by candlelight like Abe Lincoln? I think not. (And candles, from what I’ve read, use more than three times as much energy as a light bulb compared one to one, and a 60W bulb offers something like 70 times as much light, so on a per-lumen basis, well, the comparison is off the charts.) Those who decide to play are gonna shut all their lights off and hop in their cars and go to a bar or out to dinner or to a movie or pretty much anywhere else.
A little time on Google and here’s what I get. Your average, run-of-the-mill light bulb – not the fancy-ass, twirled-like-a-pigtail fluorescent job, mind, but your basic 60W back-to-Edison incandescent deal – would burn up .06 Kilowatt hours of juice during Earth Hour. So how many of those puppies are you turning off? Five? Ten in your McMansion? You’re looking at 80 to 200 watts for the TV. Hell, let’s say you live in energy hog heaven and you save an entire Kilowatt Hour by shutting everything down and going out to dinner. Convert that Kilowatt Hour to BTUs and you’re saving 3413 units of energy.
That gallon of gas you’re gonna burn? 115,000 BTUs.
I’m gonna do the earth a favor. I’m gonna stay home and turn on all my lights.