For Immediate Release
March 30, 2012
Environment, Energy, and Open Space
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Environment & Energy
Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced today the City of Boston’s continued participation in Lights Out Boston and Earth Hour, two campaigns that work to raise awareness on the importance of climate action and energy conservation. The City of Boston’s partnership with Mass Audubon and major property owners in the award-winning Lights Out program, entering its fifth season, encourages building owners and property managers to voluntary turn off or dim all architectural and non-essential lighting between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. during the spring migratory bird season, ending June 2. This year, more than 45 commercial skyscrapers in Downtown Boston will participate in Lights Out Boston program.
“The act of turning off the lights of some Boston’s most iconic skyscrapers draws attention to the important role of local action in facing the global challenge of climate change,” Mayor Menino said. “The collective actions of the Boston community to raise awareness on climate change highlight how simple changes can make a significant impact in reducing energy use and improving our environment.”
Lights Out Boston aims to both save energy and protect migratory birds. By dimming the iconic downtown Boston skyline, the innovative Lights Out Boston program is an example of businesses using energy more efficiently. When a city skyline -- especially buildings over 20 stories high -- is brightly lit at night, the lights can disorient the birds traveling through the urban environment. Although scientists are unsure of the exact reasons for this problem, birds can fly as low as 500 feet during inclement weather, and skyscrapers are the most visible part of the city to migrating birds.
To raise awareness on climate action and the importance of climate education, the City of Boston is once again participating in the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour, an international event to raise awareness about climate change. Earth Hour 2012 asks participants to extinguish all non-essential lighting for one hour on Saturday, March 31 from 8:30-9:30 p.m. In Earth Hour 2011, Boston joined over 5,000 cities and towns worldwide to reach a record-breaking year of participation. For Earth Hour 2012, iconic Boston buildings and landmarks such as the Custom’s House, the John Hancock Building, the Prudential Center, and Boston’s first green skyscraper, Atlantic Wharf, will be participating, along with a host of building owners and property managers, businesses, institutions, universities, hotels and neighborhood organizations.
“We are proud to support both Lights Out Boston and Earth Hour at our towers in Boston,” said Bryan Koop, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager of Boston Properties. “Hopefully, these icons of the Boston skyline will inspire awareness and participation in these important programs, furthering the Mayor’s vision of making Boston the greenest city in the county.”
Boston Earth Hour 2012 has received an enthusiastic response from the community, with area businesses, property owners and institutions pledging their support and finding innovative ways to involve staff and patrons. InterContinental Boston has produced a YouTube video that highlights the international nature of the event, and can be found on the City of Boston’s Earth Hour page at http://www.cityofboston.gov/earthhour.
"As part of our hotel's green initiatives, we feel it is a terrific synergy to participate in Earth Hour again this year," said Tim Kirwan, General Manager of the 424-room InterContinental Boston hotel. "Great things can be achieved when people, businesses and civic leaders come together for a common cause such as Earth Hour and send a message for awareness on climate action and energy conservation."
Mayor Menino invites all to join. Earth Hour is a great opportunity for all Boston residents, businesses, institutions and organizations to join city officials and other civic and business leaders in demonstrating the impact of working together to reduce the risk of climate change and to showcase the role of individual contributions to a larger solution. Any lighting that is essential for operation or is related to public safety, such as street and emergency lighting will remain on. For more on Earth Hour in the City of Boston visit http://www.cityofboston.gov/earthhour.
“Under Mayor Menino’s leadership, we are bringing the entire community together to address the issues of climate change and take advantage of the opportunities of our growing green economy,” said Jim Hunt, Boston’s Chief of Environment and Energy. “By simply turning out the lights, we can all demonstrate our commitment to a greener, more prosperous future for our people and planet.”
The City of Boston is a nationally recognized leader in environmental and energy policy. Boston is the first major city in the nation to require all large private construction projects adhere to the US Green Building Council’s LEED standards and is the largest municipal purchaser of wind power in New England. For these efforts, Boston was recently named the 3rd Greenest City in North America by Popular Science Magazine and 6th by Sustainlane.com.
To learn more about Earth Hour, Lights Out Boston, and ways to reduce carbon footprints throughout the year, visit the City of Boston’s Environmental and Energy Services page online at www.cityofboston.gov/environmentalandenergy.