To the generation of children born this century, Thomas Edison's incandescent light bulb will be one of the things that define our generation. We'll be defined by other outdated technologies as well but that rounded bulb and filament — once so common in every home and office — will look as old-fashioned to them as rotary phones, typewriters, and black-and-white TVs do to us. The world of these new millennium kids will be lit by spiral compact fluorescent lights (CFL), light emitting diode (LED) lights, and who knows what else. And that better world is approaching fast.
With average annual sales growth rates of 19% in the U.S. or higher since 2001¹, CFLs are increasingly edging out traditional incandescent lights. Wal-mart is gearing up to sell 100 million CFLs each year by 2008. Philips Lighting, one of the world's largest lighting manufacturers, plans to stop manufacturing incandescent lights by 2016 and only sell their energy efficient line instead.
The drivers behind this revolutionary market transformation are energy and environ-mental savings. ENERGY STAR® qualified CFLs use at least 2/3 less energy than a standard incandescent and last as much as 10 times longer. Over their lifetime, a single bulb can save you an average of $30 or more in electricity costs. Multiply that by the number of bulbs in your home (I have nearly 50 in mine) and the savings add up quickly.
Color rendering properties and slow warm-up times hindered consumer adoption of CFLs ten years ago, but recent technological improvements have widely eliminated these earlier problems. Many lighting companies are now starting to offer dimmable CFLs for higher end lighting fixtures.
Environmental savings are also significant. Each CFL prevents more than 450 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, a benefit that has not gone unnoticed by governments across the globe. Australia became the first country in the world to ban the sale of incandescent bulbs, beginning in 2010, with hopes of having CFLs cut carbon dioxide emissions by 4 million tons in 2012. Similar bans are being enacted or actively considered by the 27 countries of the European Union (for 2009), Ontario, Canada (for 2012), and California (for 2012).
The EPA is helping to transform the U.S. lighting market by making it easier to distinguish quality CFLs from the rest. ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs must provide the energy and monetary savings noted above (3rd paragraph) and generate 70 percent less heat, so they're safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling. In addition to other quality requirements, they must turn on instantly, produce no sound, and fall within a warm color range or be otherwise labeled as providing cooler color tones.
The EPA is also sponsoring the ENERGY STAR "Change a Light, Change the World Campaign," with support from the Department of Energy and Department of Housing and Urban Development. Going into its 8th year, the campaign encourages Americans to replace an incandescent bulb or fixture in the home with ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs and fixtures.
At the campaign's heart is the simple Pledge, found at www.energystar.gov/changealight.
If we changed a bulb for every child in America, this would prevent more than 30 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and save enough energy to light more than 15 million homes for an entire year. By replacing just five fixtures with ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs, you can save about $60 per year in energy costs.
The goal is to encourage at least 500,000 people to take the Pledge by ENERGY STAR Change a Light Day, Wednesday, October 3, 2007.
Becoming a Pledge Driver means your hospital is making a public commitment to invite at least 100 people in your organization or community to take the pledge. As a Pledge Driver, you will be given access to customizable materials to help engage your community; we also provide personalized tools to track your group's progress against your own pledge goal as well as tools that let you compare your organization to similar groups across the country.
When you're ready to set a goal and get started, visit www.energystar.gov/joincal and click "Get Started as a Pledge Driver" to set a goal for the number of pledges you hope to generate.
Once your request to join is processed, you are e-mailed two unique Web addresses; The "Linking URL" to directly link people to the pledge page in a way that attributes their pledge to your hospital, and the "Tracking URL" to access your hospital's statistics where you can track how your group is doing against your goal.
Work with your public relations department to coordinate this community outreach program. You invite your community (employees, patients, etc.) to take the online pledge, using your special "Linking URL" or encourage them to select your organization's name from the list found at www.energystar.gov/changealight on the Pledge form.
Track your group's progress as you go, using the "Tracking URL" provided when your request to join was processed.
Once you reach your goal, you will receive a certificate from the EPA and a press release template highlighting the difference your group has made for energy resources and the environment.
To date, more than half a million Americans have pledged to change more than 1 million lights to an ENERGY STAR. This will save enough energy to light nearly 145,000 homes for an entire year, close to $30 million in energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from more than 35,000 cars.
Over 750 organizations signed up to become Pledge Drivers in 2006, including hospitals, colleges, K-12 schools, religious, business, and non-profit organizations. Selected healthcare Pledge Drivers in 2006 include Indiana University Hospital, Elliot Hospital/Health System, Lima Memorial Health System, Healthworks Fitness Centers for Women, and New York Presbyterian Hospital. Thirty-four governors issued proclamations that committed their states to promoting the campaign.
A record number of "Change a Light, Change the World" public service announcements were carried by magazines including, People, Scientific American, Money, US News and World Report, PC Magazine, and others, accounting for over 11.6 million impressions.
The EPA invites all hospitals and healthcare systems to join the Change a Light campaign. ENERGY STAR will help you demonstrate the difference your community of individuals is making to preserve our nation's energy resources. You'll be helping your employees and your community to save money and protect public health by reducing emissions to our environment. We need organizations like yours to lead this charge. Will you join us?
Clark Reed is the National Healthcare Manager for ENERGY STAR at the U.S. EPA. Last year, ENERGY STAR helped Americans save enough energy to power 26 million homes, reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 25 million cars — all while saving consumers $14 billion. To join, visit ENERGY STAR's website or contact the author at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — MC 6202J, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20460. Email: email@example.com Phone: 202-343-9146.