Salmo shines in Earth Hour competition

Village of Salmo wins $5,000 energy upgrade for its library

Salmo shined the most in a lights-out challenge that has earned the community a $5,000 energy upgrade for the Salmo Public Library.

For the fourth consecutive year, FortisBC sponsored the Earth Hour Challenge, which encouraged residents from 17 communities to make a pledge to switch off non-essential lighting appliances and electronics from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday to raise awareness on climate change.

The community with the highest votes received bragging rights and the financial boost for the non-profit of its choice.

The money will help Salmo either update its lighting or replace doors and windows at the aging facility.

“I’m so thankful,” said Marianne Hansen, acting director at the Salmo Public Library. “A lot of people worked really hard for us and really went out there and got pledges. It’s kind of overwhelming.”

The challenge fit in nicely with Salmo’s push to expand and renovate the entire facility, a capital campaign started last spring for the library’s 50 years of service. The library has already raised nearly $30,000 for its $50,000 goal through fundraising initiatives and local contributions.

“We’ve been tracking our progress all week,” said Hansen. “We were quite a bit in the lead until last week when Kaslo started pulling ahead so we doubled our efforts and we were kind of neck and neck all week.”

In total, over 6,000 pledges to participate in Earth Hour were registered online, a record-setting number that is more than triple from last year.

This level of engagement resulted in a 1.7 per cent drop in electricity consumption during Earth Hour, or 5.48 megawatts – which is equal to switching off approximately 90,000 60W incandescent light bulbs – and represents an increase of 1.9 megawatts or 30,000 light bulbs over last year.

“We credit the success of this year’s Earth Hour Challenge to the tremendous leadership shown by the participating communities and non-profit organizations,” Tom Loski, FortisBC vice president of customer service said in a news release. “They reached residents in their communities by engaging businesses, schools, libraries, recreation centres and more in the effort to spread the word about Earth Hour.”

FortisBC could not provide specific results from the challenge by press time Sunday.