Utahns urged to turn off the lights

By By Arthur Raymond

By Arthur Raymond

A simple flick of a switch.

That’s all that will be required to participate in Wednesday’s “Lights Off Utah” event, an effort to encourage residents and businesses to turn off all non-essential lighting statewide between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.

The event is an off-shoot of “Lights Out London” which took place June 21 to coincide with the summer solstice. During the event, many of London’s most recognizable landmarks were darkened, including Parliament, Piccadilly Circus and Buckingham Palace. Organizers quoted in a BBC article about the effort said that 380 tons of CO2 emissions would be prevented if all Londoners participated.

The U will be one of many state agencies to join the effort.

Campus administrators, facility managers and the Office of Sustainability are all working on coordinating efforts to ensure the U’s participation in the event. These efforts include assigning staff to turn off non-essential lighting inside campus buildings and evaluating what exterior lighting can be suspended without creating safety concerns.

Organizers of “Lights Off Utah” hope that the lights at Rice-Eccles Stadium, which is hosting a Real Salt Lake soccer game Wednesday night, can be doused at the stroke of 9 to create a campus exclamation point at the start of the event. Dan Furner, vice president of sales and marketing for eCube Energy-a company helping to organize the event-said that this possibility was still under discussion.

In a press release endorsing the Utah version of the event, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. said, “Each individual can make a difference, and ‘Lights Off Utah’ enables us to see the impact of our individual efforts. I encourage every Utahn to participate in this effort.”

ECube, which specializes in energy saving devices, is organizing the experiment along with KSL’s Nightside Project.

“Turning off unneeded lighting is the fastest and most efficient way for an individual to address energy conservation with immediacy,” Furner said.

He said the demonstration has received outstanding support from both the business community and local government. Rocky Mountain Power is promoting the efforts, as is the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance.

Many individual businesses in the downtown area will be turning off lights, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will eliminate as much lighting as possible at Temple Square, the Church Office Building, the Family History Museum and its other properties downtown.

Furner hopes the event, which he believes is the first of its kind in North America, is the beginning of a bigger effort in Utah and across the country to recognize that conservation begins at the level of the individual. He encourages all Utahns to take part in the event Wednesday.

Additional information and opportunities to participate can be found at www.lightsoffamerica.com.

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