Cell phones, internet and eMail have become an integral and essential part of our daily lives. None more so than in a design company which produces concepts and artwork almost exclusively using specialized computers and sofware, all of which requires a constant supply of electricity. On the 13th of February we will participate in M’Illumino di Meno during which we will turn off our lights, computers and cell phones, for a symbolic 90 minute “energy silence”.
M’Illumino di Meno is actually a month-long campaign run by Caterpillar, a cult program on Italian Radio 2, which aims to increase awarenesss about energy waste, conservation and alternatives. While Italian in origins, the campaign has caught on across Europe and features parties, happenings, competitions and exhibitions in homes, schools, businesses and public spaces. It culminates in the coordinated turning off of lights and electrical gadgets from 18:00 – 19:30 on the 13th February. To mark the occasion in past years national monuments across Europe, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome, the Foreign Office in London and the Custom’s House in Dublin to name just a few, have had their illuminations turned off.
While ostensibly symbolic in nature, notable reductions in energy use have also been registered which cooincide with the timing of the main event. In 2008 there was an immediate reduction in demand for electricity of 400 megawatt in Italy. That’s the equivilant of almost 7 million light bulbs being turned off!
Our contribution will be in the form of a candlelit brainstorm and sketch session in both our Milan and Amsterdam offices, dedicated to the theme of energy conservation and sustainable practices in design. But it doesn’t end there. As an agency, we are conscious of the impact our industry can have on waste management and we are proactive in advising clients on methods or materials which are easier to recycle or are less harmful for the environment. The good news is that some of these changes can also have a positive impact on your company’s bottom line so why not get involved too? It just might be illuminating!