Center joins Energy Star campaign, by Jennifer Binkley-Power

Center joins Energy Star campaign
Urban and Northern Options Energy Centers announced they have joined the national Energy Star Change a Light, Change the World campaign, a growing community of businesses, schools, utilities, nonprofit organizations, individuals and countless others who have made a firm commitment to help change the world, one light—one energy-saving step—at a time.
The Energy Star Change a Light, Change the World campaign is a national call-to-action sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Housing and Urban Development to encourage Americans to use energy efficiently and to start by switching to lighting options that have earned the government’s Energy Star label for energy efficiency.
As part of this national initiative, Urban and Northern Options Energy Centers plan to encourage Michigan residents to replace at least one standard incandescent bulb or fixture at home with an Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent light (CFL) as an important step to save energy and join the fight against global climate change.
Replacing incandescent light bulbs with Energy Star qualified CFLs is among the easiest and least expensive ways for Michigan consumers to reduce their utility bills, minimize their impact on the environment and help stimulate the State’s economy.
In May 2008, Urban and Northern Options received more than $800,000 in funding from the State of Michigan Energy Office and the Michigan Public Service Commission and leveraged more than $100,000 in matching funds and support from retailers and manufacturers to expand the market for Energy Star-qualified CFLs in Michigan.
Using this funding and contributions from retailers and manufacturers, Urban Options will buy down the price of select CFLs for Michigan consumers to as little as ninety-nine cents per bulb.
Starting October 1, 2008, more than 450,000 discounted CFLs will be available at local ACE hardware stores in Marquette, Ishpeming and Calumet, as well as in Kroger, Meijer and Menards stores throughout Michigan.
“The standard sixty-, seventy-five- and 100-watt equivalent CFLs will be on sale for as low as ninety-nine cents,” said Jennifer Binkley-Power, executive director of Urban and Northern Options.
Participating stores also will offer discounted specialty CFLs, such as three-way and dimmable bulbs at a discounted price.
“If you have already replaced your incandescent lights with the basic spiral CFLs and want to try specialty CFLs, such as three-way, candelabra, globe, or the more popular dimmable bulbs, now is the time to buy them,” Binkley-Power said.
Regular CFLs will not work in a three-way or dimmable fixture; you must purchase a CFL meant for use in such applications. See package for bulb compatibility and recommended use.
Lighting accounts for about twenty percent of an average home’s electricity use. Replacing standard lights typically left on longest with energy-efficient CFLs that use seventy-five percent less energy is a significant way to cut energy costs, while preventing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
It is estimated that 122,400,000 kilowatthours of electrical energy savings will be generated during the life of the 450,000 CFLs that will be distributed through this project. This equates to enough electricity to power 2,048 Michigan homes for one year, while preventing more than 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
Urban and Northern Options are an important part of the Energy Star Change-a-Light community and have been implementing Energy Star products promotions for the past ten years. Energy Demonstration Centers, located in both peninsulas of Michigan, help spread the word about the need to use energy more efficiently and that it can start by taking low-cost energy-saving steps at home, as simple as changing a bulb.
Compact Fluorescent Lights contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing—an average of four milligrams—about the amount that would cover the tip of a ballpoint pen.
Because CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury they should be disposed of properly. For information on proper disposal of CFLs, visit www.energystar.gov/lighting for FAQs and to identify local recycling options, call Energy Star toll-free at (888)STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937) or locally at 228-6095.
—Jennifer Binkley-Power

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