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9.13.2007

Xcel Encourages Energy Efficient Lighting

Xcel offers compact fluorescent light bulbs for a buck


Sep 11, 2007 - Knight Ridder Tribune Business News
Author(s): Laura Snider


Sep. 11--Coloradans can buy compact fluorescent light bulbs for as little as a buck, thanks to a promotion by Xcel Energy to reduce energy demand. "We are encouraging our customers to make the switch to energy-efficient lighting," said Ethnie Groves, Xcel spokeswoman. "It's a great way to conserve energy." If every home in America replaced just one incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, the amount of energy saved would be enough to light more than 3 million homes for a year and avoid more than $600 million in annual energy costs, according to he Environmental Protection Agency. "Switching to compact fluorescent bulbs is definitely one of the easiest ways to become more energy-efficient," said Yael Gichon, energy sustainability coordinator for Boulder's Office of Environmental Affairs. "One of the complaints we hear a lot is th t the price of the bulbs is high. Getting bulbs for a dollar each is a great deal." Discounted bulbs in Boulder County are available at the Home Depots in Boulder and Louisville and at Costco Wholesale in Superior. The sale will run while supplies last. Recently, compact fluorescent bulbs have been criticized because they contain mercury, a potent neurotoxin, which can be released if a bulb is broken. However, the 5 mg of mercury the average compact fluorescent bulb contains is 100 times less than the mount of mercury used in older glass thermometers, according to the EPA. Coal-powered plants also release mercury into the air, so some advocates of compact fluorescent bulbs argue that by using the energy-saving bulbs, people are actually reducing the amount of mercury they are exposed to on a daily basis. Because the bulbs contain mercury, they have to be carefully disposed of. But since a compact fluorescent bulb lasts 10 times longer than a regular bulb, people won't have to worry about it very often, Gichon said.


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