NEW YORK, March 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Verizon employees across the globe will join millions of people in more than 128 countries and territories to support Earth Hour on Saturday ( March 31). From 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time, millions of square feet in more than 600 company locations will go dark, helping to raise awareness of energy-efficiency opportunities. During the event last year, Verizon in just one hour saved 45,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough energy to power approximately 10 homes for a year. Throughout all of 2011, Verizon reduced its energy usage by 2.34 percent – the equivalent of powering 20,600 homes for a year. Sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour is an event in which millions of people participate by turning off their lights at businesses and homes for one hour to support action on climate change and on creating a cleaner, safer and more secure future. During the global event, now in its sixth year, the lights will be dimmed on global icons including the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia, Buckingham Palace in London, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Taiwan's 101 Financial Center in Taipei and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. In addition to darkening numerous floors in Verizon office buildings and technical sites in 40 different countries, Verizon also will dim lights and signs outside its major office sites including the Pearl Street building in Manhattan; a twin office complex in Irving, Texas; an entire campus in Basking Ridge, N.J.; and company sites in Dortmund, Germany; and Reading in the United Kingdom. "Verizon is proud to once again demonstrate our commitment to the environment this year during Earth Hour," said James Gowen, chief sustainability officer for Verizon. "In 40 countries around the world our buildings will darken, and thousands of our employees will also participate from their homes. Together with our customers and suppliers, we can deepen the connection between our business interests and those of society." Verizon's Sustainable Business Practices Earlier this month, Verizon announced a partnership with VIA Motors to develop and demonstrate plug-in electric vehicles using VIA's proprietary technology and to evaluate the technology for possible wide-scale use in Verizon's fleet. The company also operates an extensive fleet of alternative-energy vehicles including hybrid vans and trucks, and natural gas and electric vehicles. Last year, Verizon announced a collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop innovative ways to reduce energy use in the communications industry. Verizon and NREL are now working together to identify ways to make Verizon's networks, data centers and office buildings more energy efficient.