Friday, September 5, 2008

Boston Turns Off the Lights to Save Energy

Boston has long been the home for revolutionary ideas in this country so it's no surprise that it would be one of the first major metropolitan cities to break new ground in energy conservation. How are they doing it? By turning off the lights. Property owners, acting at the request of Mayor Thomas M. Menino, have agreed to shut off the lights at 34 skyscrapers from the Back Bay to the South Boston waterfront - a move that will save about 25 percent in energy used for lighting. The pilot program - which involves extinguishing the lights above the 30th floor between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. - will continue through Oct. 31, but city officials said they expect to make it a permanent program at all high-rise buildings.

"If you drive around the city at night, you see a lot of wasted energy with lights being kept on late into the evening," said James Hunt, Menino's chief of environment and energy. "We're trying to target the tallest buildings and reduce unnecessary electricity use."

The initiative, by far Boston's most aggressive effort to reduce energy use, comes as cities around the world have tried to raise environmental awareness by turning off the lights for one hour on a designated night. Boston could become the first city to keep them off year-round, if the program catches on the way officials hope.

The effort, dubbed Lights Out Boston, comes as Menino prepares to host a national green building conference in November, when more than 25,000 people will flock to Boston to discuss cutting-edge environmental policies. In 2007, the mayor set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012 and to cut them 80 percent by 2050. Reducing lighting in buildings also reduces the emission of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, associated with the production of electricity.

Photo by Eric Hill via Flickr.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

This is a great idea. They need to implement it throughout the US/