Rebuilding a Greener New Orleans
New Orleans residents are still struggling to rebuild after the destruction of Hurricanes Katrina, Gustav and Ike. By providing and installing free CFL light bulbs in low income areas, this project educates and empowers residents in their very personal fight against global warming. The ultimate goal is to replace 3 million bulbs, thus avoiding 18,000 million tonnes of emissions over the lifetime of the program. This roughly equates to taking 120,000 cars off the road for a whole year.
Low energy bulbs use on average 75% less energy than regular light bulbs. By replacing all the bulbs in a house (around 30 bulbs on average), over $650 can be saved over the lifetime of the new bulbs for some of the city’s most impoverished inhabitants.
This reduction in energy usage has real results in the fight against global warming. Lighting accounts for 20-25% of electricity consumed in the U.S. and replacing just one incandescent bulb will keep 500 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb.
Through the process of installing the new bulbs, the volunteer is in every corner of the person’s home and a human connection is made. Most of the volunteers leave the experience deeply enriched from the interactions and feel they have received more than they have given. The recipients learn about energy conservation and begin to see their role as stewards of our fragile environment. From the simple act of spending a few hours together changing light bulbs, both lives and the planet are changed.
Enthusiastic response from residents
Recipients of the bulbs have been enthusiastic and grateful, leading to a waiting list for the bulbs. Cherie Goins commented, "I am a New Orleans school teacher. We have recently finished repairs to our home. My electric bills have gone sky high these past few months and look forward to seeing the savings on my bill...Thanks!" Lekoma Akate said, "This is a great program. I receive Social Security and use a wheelchair, cannot change most of my own lightbulbs. The savings in utility costs over the year would be a tremendous help."
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