If the Calgary Tower is glowing green next week, don’t think leprechauns, think light bulbs.
This Friday, contractors will be walking the catwalk on the exterior of the tower, switching out approximately 210 lights for green-coloured CFL bulbs.
St. Patrick would be proud, but his holiday is not the reason One Change, the environmental non-profit organization, along with 2,000 volunteers and supporters from across the province will be celebrating the official light-up on Sunday.
The celebration is happening in lieu of the completion of One Change’s Project Porchlight, which saw 4,000 volunteers delivering 800,000 free CFL bulbs to Albertans over the past two years.
“It’s mostly a symbolic gesture,” said Manon Croteau, communications and outreach manager with One Change.
“We’ve had so much incredible support in Alberta.”
The green lights will be installed and tested on Friday, but officially set aglow at the top of the tower on Sunday evening.
After a week, regular white CFLs will take their place, saving the Calgary Tower a pot of gold worth about $12,000 and sparing the atmosphere 104 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
Although Project Porchlight operates in Ontario, Yukon, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Vermont and New Jersey, Croteau said Calgary’s is the biggest celebration to date.
“The tower for us was sort of a beacon,” she said.
Environment Minister Rob Renner and Ward 11 alderman Brian Pincott will be among the 2,000 guests invited to the wrap-up event, which will be taking place at the TELUS Convention Centre from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Actress Meg Ruffman will be emceeing the event and country music stars Emerson Drive will be performing.
Approximately one year ago, the main ring of exterior lights on the tower were switched from incandescent lights to CFL bulbs. Come Friday, the two rings at the tower’s crown will change as well.
Grady Semmens, spokesman for the Sierra Club Chinook Group, hopes Project Porchlight will lead to larger lifestyle changes.
He said changing a light bulb is one thing, but choosing public transit and pressuring local government to reduce development in the oilsands are bigger steps.
“Those are very, very huge problems that the average person needs to start thinking about,” said Semmens.