Countdown to Earth Hour

MILTON, ONTARIO - In the countdown to Earth Hour, the Star is asking organizations and companies what they're doing for the environment. Today: the Town of Milton, the GTA community that saw the biggest drop in electricity use during last year's lights-out event.

Q: What are you doing for Earth Hour?

The town will turn off lights in eight buildings and shut down any non-essential equipment. Lighting levels will be reduced to emergency status or the minimum possible without affecting operations, said director of community services Jennifer Reynolds.

"It's similar to what we did last year, but with additional promotion and communication to encourage the continued participation of residents and businesses," Reynolds said.

For Earth Hour 2008, hydro consumption for 16,641 residential customers was cut 15.03 per cent.

Municipal buildings that will go dark from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. March 28 are Town Hall, Town Hall Annex, Hugh Foster Hall, Nassagaweya Community Centre, Boyne Community Centre, Campbellville Lions Club Hall, Nipissing Operations Yard and Brookville Yard.

Q: What has Milton done to reduce its carbon footprint?

Milton Hydro has converted all residential customers to smart meters, allowing them to save money by using appliances at off-peak times. A voluntary program called Peaksaver aims to reduce strain on the electricity system during weekday peak periods. Those who sign up get a programmable thermostat and allow their home temperatures to be reduced slightly during times of heavy demand.

Milton Hydro has also provided the local marketing for programs sponsored by Ontario Power Authority to reduce energy use.

Q: How are these initiatives important to Milton's brand?

"Milton prides itself in showing leadership on both environmental and energy conservation initiatives and sustainability," said Reynolds.

"We are a green community on a number of fronts."


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