Earth Hour is coming up this Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

North Cowichan council has issued a challenge to residents and businesses to improve on their Earth Hour participation for 2014.

Earth Hour is coming up this Saturday (March 29) from 8:30-9:30 p.m., and North Cowichan council is putting out a challenge.

Earth Hour is an annual global event hosted by the World Wildlife Fund and supported by BC Hydro where people are encouraged to turn off their lights and unnecessary electronics and appliances for one hour to conserve as much power as possible.

In 2013, North Cowichan residents and businesses saved 7.7 per cent electricity for the one-hour period. By comparison, residents and businesses in Duncan saved 7.8 per cent, and in Ladysmith, they saved 7.3 per cent. Comox and Courtenay saved almost 10 per cent.

In a press release, council asks if North Cowichan residents and businesses can improve their participation for 2014.

“I am confident that the citizens of North Cowichan will respond to this challenge” states Mayor Jon Lefebure. “As Earth Hour approaches, we all have an opportunity to acknowledge the need to reduce our energy consumption for the future of the planet. Let’s surpass our energy reduction from last year and be vigilant in incorporating energy-saving habits into our daily lives.”

By switching off for one hour, British Columbians reduced the provincial electricity load by 1.95 per cent and saved 136 megawatt hours of electricity. This is the same as turning off about nine million 12.5-watt LED light bulbs, according to the press release.