Southern California 'Green Schools' Light Bulb Exchange Enables Students to Reduce Their Families' Home Energy Bills

Apr 04, 2007, 01:00 ET from Alliance to Save Energy

    SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif., April 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A
 "bright idea" for saving consumers energy and money -- coincidentally
 involving light bulbs, that well-known symbol of inspiration -- has led to
 substantial monetary and energy savings for the families of students in the
 Alliance to Save Energy's Green Schools program in Southern California.
     Nine elementary and high schools in the Alta Loma, Hesperia, and San
 Bernardino Unified School Districts are participating in the program to
 substitute energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) for
 conventional incandescent bulbs in students' homes.
     The Green Schools CFL program is made possible by Southern California
 Edison (SCE), which provided the energy-efficient bulbs. The program is
 funded by California utility rate payers and administered by Southern
 California Edison under the auspices of the California Public Utilities
     "The bulb exchange is a great way for Southern California Edison to
 promote how easy it can be to be more energy efficient, and how much not
 only schools, but also families and the community at large, can benefit
 from readily-available technologies like CFLs," said Cheryl Wynn, manager
 for Residential Energy Efficiency Programs at Southern California Edison.
 "CFLs use only about one-third the energy of incandescent bulbs, and they
 last up to 10 times as long," explained Wynn.
     The immediate goal of the exchange program was to substitute some 4,000
 CFLs for incandescent bulbs during the 2006-2007 school year. The program's
 long-range goal was to swap 12,000 bulbs over three years.
     But the energy- and money-saving idea caught on so well that in just
 four months -- and with just nine schools initially participating --
 schools had to scramble to keep up with the demand for CFLs. When the dust
 had settled, more than 8,000 bulbs had been swapped in the fall semester
 alone. Now, 20 more schools are gearing up for bulb exchanges during the
 spring semester, with the potential of exchanging several thousand more
 CFLs and surpassing the 12,000 three-year goal in only one year.
     "The CFL exchange has become an energy-efficiency rallying point for
 students, teachers, and the community at large," said Jo Tiffany, program
 manager for the Alliance's Green Schools California program. "The CFLs,
 with their twisty, high-tech design, are the perfect symbol for
 energy-efficiency technologies and environmental sustainability, and the
 parents and communities are definitely responding to the student-teacher
     Based on these numbers, students in the nine participating schools have
 already saved more than $400,000 in overall energy costs for their families
 and about 3 million kWh over the lifetime of the CFLs. Given the
 projections for spring, the Green Schools program anticipates that the
 schools will save more than $700,000 and 5.2 million kWh by the end of the
 school year in June.
     "With each compact fluorescent bulb lasting nine or 10 years, about $50
 worth of electricity is saved over the lifetime of each CFL that is used
 instead of an incandescent bulb," noted Grant Cooke, vice president of
 Intergy Corporation, which works with the Alliance to administer the
 program. "In
     terms of energy use, you can save about 700 kilowatt-hours (kWh) over
 the life of each energy-efficient bulb."
     "The CFL exchange has been popular with teachers and school
 administrators, not only because it promotes energy efficiency and saves
 families money, but also because it provides an interactive educational and
 outreach opportunity for many different schools," Tiffany said. "For
 example, bulb exchanges have been conducted not only during classroom
 science projects, but also as part of school-community activities like
 parent nights, science fairs, and PTA events. To keep tabs on how many
 bulbs are exchanged, parents complete a tracking form that lists the number
 of CFLs they have installed in place of incandescent bulbs in their homes."
     The schools that participated in the light bulb exchange are as follows:
     -- Deer Canyon Elementary (Alta Loma Unified School District)
     -- Desert Trails High School (Hesperia Unified School District)
     -- Mojave High School (Hesperia Unified School District)
     -- Sultana High School (Hesperia Unified School District)
     -- Urbita Elementary (San Bernardino Unified School District)
     -- Jefferson Hunt Elementary (San Bernardino Unified School District)
     -- Ramona Alessandro Elementary (San Bernardino Unified School District)
     -- San Gorgonio High School (San Bernardino Unified School District)
     -- Mount Vernon Elementary School (San Bernardino Unified School District)
     The Alliance's Green Schools program has been implemented in Southern
 California Edison's service territory for nearly seven years, starting in
 2000. Green Schools' unique approach integrates real-world energy savings
 in schools with classroom instruction on energy efficiency. As exemplified
 by the light bulb exchange, the Green Schools program often extends the
 energy- efficiency lessons to students' homes and to the community at
     Along with Intergy Corporation, the State Environmental Education
 Roundtable administers the Green Schools Program in Southern California.
     The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business,
 government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient
 and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment,
 economy, and national security.

SOURCE Alliance to Save Energy