Dozens of buildings in Doha are planning to go dark this Saturday, March 28, as hotels, businesses and organizations across Qatar turn off their lights to mark global Earth Hour.
The annual event, organized by environmental group WWF since 2007, encourages people to switch off their lights and reduce their energy consumption for 60 minutes to raise awareness of climate change.
This year, 162 countries and territories are expected to take part and will mark the occasion from 8:30pm until 9:30pm, local time.
In Doha, the Qatar Tourism Authority has been asking hotels to participate in the event this year as part of a push toward sustainable tourism. So far, about two dozen hotels have signed on, including La Cigale hotel in Al Sadd, which will be taking part for the first time.
During Earth Hour, the hotels are being encouraged to switch off all external lights, dim internal lights in public areas and to share a 10-second video of their “lights off” moment on social media.
The effort comes as Qatar grapples with significant energy use and a reputation as one of the least energy-efficient nations in the world.
Over the next three years, the Qatar General Electricity and Water Company (Kahramaa) aims to cut electricity usage per person by 9 percent – from 43 KWh/day currently to 39KWh/day by 2018.
To help meet this goal, it has been conducting public awareness campaigns such as Tarsheed to encourage residents to be more mindful of their water and electricity consumption at home and at work.
Turning off the tap while brushing one’s teeth, for example, or switching off AC units when the room is not in use, are some ways people can do their part, Tarsheed literature states.
The government has also been working to phase out the sale of split air-conditioning units and tungsten lights in favor of more eco-friendly models.
Here is a run-down of what some hotels and organizations across Qatar have planned to mark Earth Hour:
The Torch Doha Hotel
The Torch, a 300m-high building near Villaggio Mall that is well-known for animated outside displays, will switch off all 3,780 of its LED lights, as well as all the outside lights on the building’s core, which should save around 200,000 watts of electricity.
Lighting in its public areas will be dimmed and dinner will be served by candlelight in its three restaurants.
Arguably the most recognized landmark on the West Bay skyline, this recently-refurbished hotel will serve dinner by candle light, and there will be an outdoor, candlelit yoga session.
Guests are encouraged to post videos of the “lights off” moment on social media with the hashtags #QatarEarthHour #YourPower and #SheratonDoha.
Grand Hyatt Hotel
All exterior lights at the Grand Hyatt will be switched off for the hour, and interior and exterior lights at the staff accommodation will also be turned off.
Guests will be encouraged to dim or turn off the lights in their rooms, and lighting in all public areas will be dimmed.
Intercontinental and Intercontinental Doha – The City hotels
Dinner will be served by candlelight at both the Intercon and the Intercon Doha. Indoor lighting will be dimmed or switched off where possible, and the outside of the hotels will go dark for the hour.
The Intercon’s illuminated, musical fountain at its entrance will also be switched off during Earth Hour, a spokesperson told Doha News.
Marsa Malaz Kempinksi Hotel and Kempinski Residences & Suites
The only hotel on The Pearl, the recently-opened Marsa Malaz Kempinski, along with Kempinksi Residences in Dafna West Bay, will switch off all its outdoor lights, including its logo, and dim or switch off all indoor lights for the hour, using candles to illuminate its restaurants, lounges and lobby.
Shops, restaurants and businesses on The Pearl-Qatar will be encouraged to go dark at 8:30pm to recognize Earth Hour, while the event’s logo “60+” will be created using solar-powered lights on the Porto Arabia boardwalk.
There will also be a tree-planting event on the island’s Grand Park.
Do you plan to switch off your lights for Earth Hour? Thoughts?