Military residences compete in Earth Hour power reduction

Military residences compete in Earth Hour power reduction

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

It’s game-on and lights out for two military residences in CFB Esquimalt.

Residents of Bernay’s Block N123 and N124 are competing to see which one can use the least power during this year’s Earth Hour.

The contest, organized by the Energy and Engineering branch of Real Property Operations (Pacific), goes well beyond the light bulb. Residents will have their power consumption tracked during the March 24 Earth Hour between the hours of 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. The building that consumes the least power within the hour will be declared the winner.

Kim Arklie, a Mechanical Engineering student from the University of Victoria, developed this year’s contest as part of her duties during a four-month cooperative education placement at RPOps.

“The reaction to the contest itself has been favourable and throughout the planning process everyone I have worked with has been very supportive of this initiative,” said Arklie. “During my work-study placement I have also met people at the base who are highly interested and motivated in saving energy.” 

A key factor in making the contest work was the same number of residents, approximately 250 in each building, and thus nearly identical power needs. Plus residents have a great deal of personal control on how much power they consume and which appliances, electronic equipment, and other devices they can switch off.

Derek Knudsen, Technical Advisor (Energy Management) for Defence Construction Canada, worked with Arklie on this year’s contest. In past years he has helped organize similar energy-reduction competitions at Naval Fleet School Pacific and between two Transport Electrical and Maintenance Engineering (TEME) buildings at Work Point.

He says on average past contests have seen five to eight per cent reductions in hourly power consumption, but this year’s contest in Naden has the potential to see much greater reductions, noting that most residence rooms have thermostat-controlled electric heat that can be switched off for 60 minutes or greater.

Power-reducing contests are a good way to boost morale through friendly competition, and are a good fit for the Department of National Defence (DND) because of its commitment to environmental sustainability through its Energy and Environmental strategy, he says.

“These building competitions are a subset of our behavioral program, which is a subset of the strategic energy management plan for the base itself, which was established in 2011 to both save money and reduce greenhouse gases,” said Knudsen.

During last year’s event, British Columbians saved 24 megawatt hours of electricity with Vancouver Island accounting for a 3.3 megawatt hour reduction, according to data from B.C. Hydro. The province-wide total is the equivalent of turning off 1.1 million LED lightbulbs, reducing the provincial electricity load by 0.3 per cent.

Not to be confused with Earth Day, Earth Hour began in 2007 as a grass-roots effort by the World Wide Fund for Nature in Sydney, Australia, meant to draw attention to global climate change, pollution and biodiversity. Last year millions of people, businesses and government institutions in 170 countries took part in Earth Day observances and switched off their lights. World landmarks such as Rome’s Colosseum, the Pyramids of Egypt, and the Eiffel Tower all went dark for an hour for the 10th anniversary of the event.

For more information on Earth Hour and what you can do to reduce the carbon footprint in your home or workplace visit:

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  1. Mccrank Resident says:

    For a list of major water and power saving ideas, rebate information, as well as what the future of residential services looks like Google “Oppose Bracebridge Sewers” for the website. If all the water saving ideas were subsidized like the City of Guelph does you could easily cut your water and sewer costs by 50% or more and not even notice. The future is the need for ALL residential services will be greatly reduced then eliminated.

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