or the fourth consecutive year, Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear have pledged to participate in the international "Earth Hour," sponsored by the World Wildlife Federation.
Earth Hour is in an international call to action that directs lights be turned off for one hour in recognition of the need for energy conservation and the protection of our environment.
"Once again, we will proudly dim the lights at Kentucky's Capitol in support of Earth Hour to demonstrate our commitment to reducing energy usage in state government and in our Commonwealth," said Gov. Beshear. "Our state remains a national leader in developing and promoting progressive energy conservation measures, so we recognize the importance of taking small, everyday actions, like turning off lights and appliances when not in use."
On Saturday, March 31, beginning at 8:30 p.m. EDT, non-essential lights on the state Capitol campus, including the Capitol Dome and the spotlights that illuminate the exterior Capitol walls, the Capitol Annex and the Governor's Mansion, will go dark as state government joins people all over the world in a stand for energy savings and the global environment.
"The concept for Earth Hour this year is "I will if you will,' and we hope that many Kentuckians will join us and tens of millions of other individuals, governments and businesses from across the world on Saturday in turning off their lights to support Earth Hour," said First Lady Jane Beshear. "This gesture is a great way to teach our children that small actions play a big role in our environment now and in the future."
Kentucky was recently recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as a 2012 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for outstanding contributions to environmental protection through energy efficiency, marking the first time a state has received the honor.
Reducing energy use in government buildings is a critical element of "Intelligent Energy Choices for Kentucky's Future," the state's first-ever comprehensive strategy for energy independence. In that plan, Gov. Beshear set ambitious, aggressive goals for the reduction of energy use in public facilities. By 2015, state facilities will reduce their energy consumption by 15 percent and 25 percent by 2025. By 2025, public facilities will reduce their carbon footprint by 50 percent.
In January 2012, Gov. Beshear announced the launch of the Commonwealth Energy Management and Control System's (CEMCS) pilot project that allows building managers to optimize energy management in the 43 participating state buildings at 23 sites across the state.
"I am proud of the many great accomplishments Kentucky has made in the past few years on saving energy in state buildings and facilities and engaging businesses, schools, agriculture, industry, local communities and citizens to embrace energy efficiency in their daily lives," said Gov. Beshear.
Earth Hour has grown from a one-city initiative in 2007 to a 5,251 city strong global movement, last year reaching 1.8 billion people in 135 countries across all seven continents.
Several national monuments and iconic landmarks will also go dark this weekend during the observance including: the Las Vegas Strip, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Gateway Arches in St. Louis and the Empire State Building. International landmarks such as Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Buckingham Palace and the Colosseum in Rome will also take part.