Dubai residents mark Earth Hour on March 29, 2014. Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: Despite a busy Saturday night in Dubai, the joint effort of its residents to switch off lights for 60 minutes during Earth Hour resulted in energy savings of 255,000kWh – enough energy to power 16 average homes for one year – which is 22 per cent higher than last year’s savings.

The figures were released by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) after the hour-long environmental movement on Saturday night that was celebrated in the UAE and 7,000 cities worldwide.

Earth Hour is an annual, global movement that started in 2007 that called on cities and homes to switch off their lights for one hour to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that is the main cause of global warming and climate change. The event was first celebrated in Dubai in 2008.

To give you an idea, the energy that residents conserved on Saturday night was equal to the greenhouse gas emissions of 37 passenger vehicles for one year or about 63 tonnes of waste sent to the landfill, according to the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator of the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

This year’s savings increased by more than 20 per cent compared to 2013 savings of 200,000kWh. In 2012, Dubai residents saved some 216,000kWh – equivalent to Dh1 million.

“Earth Hour this year achieved strong results in reducing electricity consumption thanks to our partners from ministries, government departments and private institutions, and significant participation from the various segments of society, which underlines the strong environmental awareness of the residents of Dubai,” said Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of Dewa.

Since 2008, Dubai has reduced a total of 1,036,000kWh of electricity consumption and 622 tonnes of CO2 emissions. This roughly means about 150 cars taken off the roads for one year or greenhouse gases saved from about 256 tonnes of waste in landfills, if the EPA calculations were to be used.

The same amount of CO2 emissions is equivalent to burning gasoline from 9.5 average tanker trucks that carry 8,500 gallons of gasoline each.

Earth Hour saw iconic landmarks of the country such as the Burj Khalifa, the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Shaikh Rashid Tower, the Sharjah Museum, and more than 100 official supporting organisations dim their lights for 60 minutes on Saturday.