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WMEAC to replace 5,000 energy-sucking light bulbs with more efficient CFLs

Most people know that Compact Fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs use less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs. CFL use is an easy step anyone can take towards greater energy efficiency. However, people may be reluctant to use CFLs because the bulbs contain a small amount of mercury. Consumers who use CFLs must also learn how to safely recycle them, so mercury will not accumulate in the environment.

This is why West Michigan Environmental Action Council has started Project Light Change, a program to engage businesses and individuals in the use and recycling of CFL bulbs. This program, funded by the Michigan Public Service Commission, works to positively address barriers to using CFL bulbs and to support the benefits of energy efficiency.

Project Light Change volunteers will begin by distributing 5,000 CFL bulbs to businesses and residents in the Grand Haven area. If all 5,000 CFL bulbs replace traditional incandescent light bulbs, the Grand Haven community will, over time, save an estimated $235,000 in energy costs! Once this project is successfully completed, WMEAC plans to expand Project Light Change to all of West Michigan.

Each 13-watt, Energy Star-certified CFL “Earth Bulb” is manufactured by EarthTronics in Muskegon. By distributing and using only local products, Project Light Change plans to raise community awareness of the value of investing in local business, which supports the local economy and invests money back into the local economy.

Experts point out that the mercury in a CFL bulb is a fraction of the mercury that would be released by a coal-fired power plant as a result of powering a comparable incandescent bulb, over the life of the bulbs.

WMEAC and its partners are confident that CFL bulbs are an entry point to successfully introduce energy efficient products in businesses and in homes. For more information about Project Light Change, email info@wmeac.org.
-Casey Barrons, West Michigan Environmental Action Council
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