Energy Efficient Lights Lower Utility Costs for Nashua Seniors
Nashua, N.H. took another step towards promoting energy efficiency city wide today by hosting EPA and the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as the federal agencies distributed free ENERGY STAR light bulbs to low-income senior citizens living in HUD housing. The light bulbs will replace the traditional incandescent bulbs, helping the seniors to reduce utility costs.
October 3rd kicked off Nashua’s “Change a Light, Change the World” efforts, when over 300 compact fluorescent bulbs were sold at Aubuchon Hardware on Main street and the Nashua Public Library saw over 500 pledges made by citizens to change their lights. Nashua was also one of the first N.H. cities to join EPA’s New England Community Energy Challenge, joining nearly 40 other towns and cities across the region that are pledging to reduce energy consumption in municipal buildings by at least 10 percent in the coming year.
Today, seniors living in Wagner Court, a federally-subsidized housing development, pledged to replace at least one traditional light bulb with the free compact fluorescent bulbs they received at the Change a Light, Change the World event. By taking the pledge, these residents are doing their part to reduce energy consumption across the country and are guaranteed to save money on future living expenses.
“Environmental stewardship is everyone’s responsibility. Changing a light bulb to an ENERGY STAR certified bulb is one of the easiest things everyone can do to save on their utility bills and help make a difference for the environment,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “New compact fluorescents produce impressive energy savings and are safer and more affordable than ever before, deserving of a place in everyone’s home.”
Nashua Mayor Bernard Streeter hosted EPA’s Robert Varney, along with HUD Regional Director Taylor Caswell and Robert Scott of the N.H. DES, in meeting with residents to promote energy efficiency and help explain the benefits of ENERGY STAR certified light bulbs.
“Because utility bills are the second largest household expense for most Americans, affordable housing and energy efficiency go hand in hand,” said Taylor Caswell, Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “When we reduce utility bills, we reduce the cost of living for low-and moderate-income families.”
Change a Light, Change the World is designed to promote energy efficiency and environmental conservation across the nation. Simply replacing a single bulb to ENERGY STAR certified models reduces energy demands and cuts costs on energy bills. Nationwide, this effort could have significant impacts on our energy performance as a country and could make important strides towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
ENERGY STAR qualified lighting use one-third of the energy required by standard lighting, generating 70 percent less heat and lasting up to ten times longer. ENERGY STAR certified lighting fixtures are available in hundred of styles, for indoor and outdoor use.
If every American home replaced five of their most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with ENERGY STAR equivalents, it would save $8 billion a year in nationwide energy costs, and the reduction in emissions from power plants would be the same as taking 10 million cars off the road. Based on New England’s electricity rates, replacing just one 60 watt incandescent bulb with an equally bright 13 watt ENERGY STAR bulb would save individuals more than $80 over the bulbs life span.
The average home can be responsible for more than twice the greenhouse gas emissions of the average car. Using compact fluorescent bulbs is a simple positive step towards protecting our environment from the risks of global climate change. Here are some other steps anyone can take to make their homes more efficient:
- Use a programmable thermostat to adjust room temperatures to energy saving mode at night or when no one is home.
- Use ENERGY STAR certified appliances and lighting fixtures.
- Plant trees around your home. Three trees, properly planted around your house can save between $100 and $200 annually in cooling and heating costs.
- Just in time to prepare for winter, you can replace old windows with ENERGY STAR models that are certified to better insulate your home.
- Install insulating window drapes and curtains.
Compact Fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) contain a tiny amount of mercury – only enough to cover the tip of a ballpoint pen – sealed within the glass tubing. Improvements in technology are continuing to decrease the amount of mercury used in CFLs. Handling them like normal light bulbs will help prevent breakage. The following steps can help protect your health if you do break a CFL bulb: Open nearby windows for 15 minutes or more; Use disposable rubber gloves and wipe area clean with a damp cloth; If vacuuming is needed, remove the vacuum bag after use; Dispose of the bag, gloves, used paper towels in 2 sealed plastic bags and dispose of as household hazardous waste.
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