"Earth Hour" is Smart Business

So many companies participating in "Earth Hour" --the hour when we're supposed to turn out our lights and off our appliances to raise awareness about climate change.

Mariott's turning the lights out at its hotels. And here's a list of buildings participating in New York City alone:
Landmarks in NYC that will hit the lights on the 28th include: Empire State Building, Citigroup Center, Coca-Cola Billboard in Times Square, New York Life, Time Warner Center, The New York Public Library, 7 World Trade Center and the other Silverstein Properties buildings, The Helmsley Building and other Monday Properties buildings, and the Grand Hyatt New York.
You'll pardon me if I suspect environmentalism isn't all that's at work.

Imagine being the CFO of an enormous office building or hotel chain and being able to deprive your tenants and customers of an hour's worth of power without their being able to complain. (I'm guessing no one's rent/bills will be pro-rated). Kaching! Nothin' but net.

This is like 10 years ago when hotels started placing those little "save the planet"/ "help us to be good corporate citizens" signs in the washrooms asking you to please admire their thoughtfulness in not wanting to give you fresh towels (although they're available should you be selfish enough to insist). That this would also cut their water bills and allow them to hire fewer people for the laundry room had nothing to do with it I'm sure. Marketing genius.

Competitive Enterprise Institute proposes a simultaneous alternative to earth hour: human achievement hour.

Whatever. It's all good business. We will in fact be turning off the lights at 8:30 or thereabouts. But we'll have the DVD player on: it's movie night.

Update: (Curtsy Tim Blair) For some businesses, at least, Earth Hour is unsafe, not to mention expensive and with potential legal problems :
The first concern is security cameras. If they turn off, say, a lobby's lighting, they've essentially lost their security system as well, as their cameras can no longer see what is going on inside. If their remote cameras go down, the building owners I spoke with said they would need to hire additional security guards to ensure the safety of their assets and those of their tenants. Then there are technical issues in actually blacking out a building.
Buildings often have multiple breakers as well as battery-powered emergency lighting for the hallways and stairs of exit corridors. In the case of their buildings, they say the wiring for this backup lighting would have to be manually unplugged from their battery packs in order to be turned off.

For their office park of roughly half a dozen buildings in a commercial district that is largely deserted at night, they figure they would need to hire several additional security guards and several technicians to orchestrate anything approaching a near instantaneous blackout of all buildings. Because all such personnel are union employees, they would all have to be paid for a minimum of four hours.

"We're probably talking about a $5000 to $10,000 additional labour event for perhaps $100 in electricity savings," one of the building owners said.

Update: from Mock Barack w/ curtsy to American Digest: