Switch off: Earth Hour is a good time to adopt energy-saving habits

Along with a one-hour switch-off on Saturday, households are asked to take up an extra good habit

Clocks will prompt two actions by many millions of people this weekend – a switch on to “summer time”, and a switch-off of lights to save energy and reduce light pollution.

Summertime commences at 1am on Sunday, when clocks and watches go forward an hour, while Earth Hour takes place between 8.30pm and 9.30pm on Saturday.

Encouraging people to mark Earth Hour, Minister for the Environment Richard Bruton said it was "a great opportunity to reflect on our individual impact on the environment. We have a very small window of opportunity, whereby we can change the trajectory and set ourselves on a sustainable footing".

Lighting will be switched off at many public buildings such as the Rock of Cashel, Trim Castle and Leinster House.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) underlined the merits of participating in the 60-minute switch-off but of also adopting at least one additional energy-saving habit in the home.

"Anything that prompts a more constructive conversation around climate action is to be commended, and we encourage people to get involved. But we need the enthusiasm and momentum of Earth Hour to persist long after the hour has passed," said SEAI head of communications Tom Halpin.

Its recommendations include turning the temperature thermostat down a degree, which could knock 10 per cent off heating bills; reducing shower time; washing clothes at 30 degrees if they are not particularly dirty; and not overfilling the kettle. Its tips are available at www.seai.ie/morewaystosave