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NYCHA resident, and NYCHA Board Member Margarita Lopez (right) celebrate the changing of the bulbs.
New Program Saves Money and the Environment

Saving money and electricity while reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air is as easy as changing a light bulb!

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) recently launched a new pilot program to replace 12,000 standard light bulbs in the apartments, stairwells and stairways at Boulevard and Linden Houses in Brooklyn, with spiral Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs).

The initiative is a part of the Con Edison Electricity Demand Reduction Program, which subsidizes the cost of replacing energy-sapping standard light bulbs with the spiral energy efficient bulbs.

Compact Fluorescent Lamp
According to ConEd, you can save about $35 annually by replacing four standard incandescent lamps with CFLs.

Eventually, NYCHA plans to replace standard light bulbs in 75 developments throughout Brooklyn, according to Public Energy Solutions Vice-President Jay Roemer, who is one of the contractors hired to replace the bulbs. When that happens NYCHA will be responsible for reducing the amount of electricity used by an estimated 15,700,000 kilowatt hours per year. Compact Fluorescent Lamps use only 18 watts of electricity to provide the same amount of light as a conventional bulb using 100 watts.

Synester Goulbourne, a 73-year-old resident of Boulevard, who recently had the bulbs in her apartment replaced, said she was more than happy to participate in the program for three reasons: “It's energy efficient, the bulbs last a year-and-a-half; and I can call NYCHA to replace the bulbs when they burn out.”

In addition to saving electricity, the program also reduces the amount of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is released into the environment. Greenhouse gases are largely believed to be responsible for global warming. The Linden/Boulevard project alone will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 366,000 pounds a year.

The bulbs are guaranteed to last for 8,000 to 10,000 hours, which is twice as long as conventional light bulbs. And an additional benefit to NYCHA residents is that the contractors who were hired to replace the bulbs, are hiring up to 20 residents to assist with the bulb replacements at 75 Brooklyn developments. Interested residents can call Jay Roemer at Public Energy Solutions for more information: 1-866-818-1900.

NYCHA Board Member Margarita López is an enthusiastic supporter. “The Mayor has been very clear about what we want to do with regard to saving the planet,” said Ms. López. “When the Mayor put out his plan to reduce greenhouse gases, as part of PlaNYC, that was the single most incredible thing he's done. It's up to us to support him. It's up to us to make this planet safe.”

By Eileen Elliott
August 7, 2007