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Green Campus Program Gives Out Light Bulbs

by: Dana Olsen    12 February 2007

It took Isla Vista residents less than seven days to bring light to their worlds this Saturday - and no rest was required the next day because of it.

A UCSB environmental organization gave out free Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs to about 200 area residents this weekend in exchange for dropping off any of the existing incandescent lights installed in their homes. The fluorescent bulbs, which use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent ones, were handed out at the I.V. Food Co-op as part of several efforts by the Green Campus Program - a division of the California Alliance to Save Energy organization - to help reduce the impact UCSB has on the environment.

Kimberly Linder, a coordinator for the event, said she attributed the large turnout at the light bulb exchange to the fact that people in I.V. are beginning to understand the positive effects of energy saving light bulbs.

"We're helping [residents] do their part to be more energy efficient," Linder said. "It not only saves them money and time, but it reduces CO2 emissions into the air."

Kelly Burns, another coordinator for the event, said that many households may not be switching to fluorescent lights for financial reasons. At about $7 each, she said, CFLs cost about $5 more than regular bulbs.

However, in order to help I.V. residents alleviate the financial deterrent, Linder said that Southern California Edison pledged to donate an unlimited quantity of CFLs to the Green Campus Program so it could hand them out to locals free of charge.

Linder said the Green Campus Program hopes to give away thousands of bulbs before the school year is over.

According to Burns, CFLs not only use significantly less energy than regular lights, but they also last ten times as long - about seven to 10 years - and save each household about $100 per bulb in energy costs throughout their lifespan.

In addition, a press release from the Green Campus Program said that switching from incandescent to fluorescent light bulbs can "greatly reduce your energy bill, reduce waste and reduce CO2 emissions and therefore global warming." In addition, CFLs emit the same amount of light of regular bulbs, but use only 23 watts of energy - 77 watts less than their incandescent counterparts, the press release said.

Burns said California lawmakers are introducing a bill this month that would ban incandescent bulbs by the year 2012.

"There is legislation going through right now to make regular light bulbs illegal," Burns said.

Linder said the Green Campus Program also held a similar light bulb exchange at I.V.'s Chilla Vista Festival last December, and the group has plans to host a similar event before Earth Day in April.