City buildings to go dark tonight for Earth Hour

Baltimore Sun

It's lights out in Baltimore today.

The city, as well as Annapolis and 3,500 other municipalities around the world, will be turning off their lights for 60 minutes tonight in observance of Earth Hour, an effort to reduce energy use.

Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake is encouraging residents to turn off lights and appliances from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Seven municipal buildings, including City Hall, will go dark.

The city, struggling to overcome a $120 million deficit, is seeing some lower energy bills, but using electricity is "still a significant cost for city government," said the mayor's spokesman, Ryan O'Doherty.

This is the second year that the city is participating.

Besides city-owned buildings, several other downtown landmarks will go dark, including the neon Domino Sugars Sign, Pier 3 and the main building of the National Aquarium at Baltimore.

Officials at the University of Maryland, the Constellation and Rusty Scupper restaurant are also dimming their lights.

Earth Hour is "a symbolic event," said Dan Forman, spokesman with World Wildlife Fund, which sponsors the light-dimming. "It's about the long-term changes that we can reaffirm in the hour."

He said 80 million Americans participated last year; this year, municipalities in all 50 states are going dark.

Maryland and 32 other states have passed Earth Hour resolutions.

Shaun Adamec, a spokesman for Gov. Martin O'Malley, said Government House, the governor's residence in Annapolis, along with the State House dome will darken tonight.

Forman said the event is designed to remind people to save energy, not just for an hour, but over the long haul.

"It's about the small things people can do - the easy things everyone can do - to shift their daily life," Forman said.

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