We did it last year, and it was fun. I flipped the main breaker and we did our thing as a family for an hour. Last year we noticed several of our neighbors’ houses were also dark and thought they were participating, but then realized it was a Friday evening, and those neighbors were Jews observing Shabbat. Hey, whatever works :-)
This year, I have a new idea for EarthHour. With out power monitor, we now can see how much electrical power we’re using at a given moment. We have found that our “baseline” usage — the electricity we use when the lights are out, the fridge isn’t running, and everything is “off” — is still 200 Watts. I can account for some from: the TiVo (45W), the router (12W), the cable modem (?) and the aquarium filter (?), but 200 Watts seems like more than those things should draw.
So, this year, after all the lights go out, we’re going to leave the main power on and then start unplugging things, one by one, and find out where that 200 Watts is actually going. I’ll bet most of it is going to standby power. And once we know that, we should be able to either get SmartStrip power strips or maybe put some stuff that doesn’t really need to run all the time on a timer-switch. I’ll bet we can get down to less than 100W.
And if we reduce our full-time usage by 100 Watts, we’ll save about $190 a year.
Seems like a pretty good way to spend an hour to me. But then some of the things the Jews do on Shabbat is enjoy family, eat good food, and have marital relations.