Turns out the City of Calgary did take action, including shutting off non-essential lighting and switching to independent power sources in some cases, according to City of Calgary communication’s strategist Sandra Sweet.
“We immediately turned off our winter beautification light features to conserve power. We utilized our generator capacity to reduce grid pressures when requested/needed and are continually exploring additional opportunities for generator-based load shedding,” Sweet said in a statement.
Sweet added that the City was prepared to alter the hours of operation at its recreation facilities as well.
I reached out to the City of Edmonton, to see if it had undertaken any similar actions, but it didn’t respond to my questions.
Big Real Estate
The vast majority of the lights you see in Edmonton or Calgary’s skyline are in buildings that aren’t managed by municipal or provincial government or, often times, even the tenants inside. Instead they belong to private developers and real estate companies. This includes both the Calgary Tower and Edmonton’s iconic EPCOR Tower.
I reached out to EPCOR Tower’s landlord, Qualico Group, to ask what the deal was with turning off the lights, but I was ghosted. Its key tenant (EPCOR, of course), however, told me that while it doesn’t manage electricity use, the utility does limit the use of unnecessary lighting and has energy-saving processes in place year-round.
Aspen Properties is the company that owns, and leases out, the Calgary Tower and many of the other skyscrapers that make up the skyline of both Edmonton and Calgary, I reached out to Aspen Properties to glean some much-needed insight on what the protocols are for large, often empty, office spaces (our associate editor says he used to watch them rotate lighting across floors), but it, too, didn’t respond to my cries for transparency.