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UNH Gives Free Energy-Saving Light Bulbs To On-Campus Students

By Beth Potier, Media Relations
September 3, 2008

Students living in UNH residence halls will have a bright welcome this fall, with free compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) for their desk lamps. A coalition of UNH offices, coordinated by the university’s Energy Task Force, will distribute 1,720 energy-saving CFLs to students, eliminating the need for less-efficient incandescent bulbs.

The CFLs are estimated to save the university $17,250 in energy costs; their greenhouse gas reduction will be the equivalent of not driving 11.3 passenger cars for one year.

“In addition to the energy savings and emissions benefits, giving free CFLs directly to students can have a powerful educational impact,” says Tom Kelly, chief sustainability officer and director of the Office of Sustainability. “We hope the bulbs are just the beginning of emissions reduction practices they bring to their lives at UNH and beyond.”

The 13-watt CFLs – equivalent to 60-watt incandescent bulbs – were purchased at a cost of $3,000. Funds raised at a student-organized Step It Up event in the spring of 2007 provided one-third of the cost; the University Office of Sustainability and the office of the vice president for finance and administration each matched those funds with $1,000. In addition, UNH’s Housing Office purchased 1,000 more CFLs to replace incandescent bulbs in built-in fixtures in residence halls.

The CFLs for students will be divided among 23 residence halls and distributed door-to-door by hall directors in the first few weeks of the fall semester. All students who receive a CFL will also get an informational postcard outlining other ways to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption on campus and describing safety procedures for disposing of broken or burnt-out CFL or incandescent bulbs.

Distributing CFLs will make the university’s already energy-efficient residence halls even greener. UNH boasts the nation’s first EnergyStar-rated residence halls; in total, eight campus buildings have received the EPA’s Energy Star rating. Each fall, students compete in a campus-wide Student Energy Waste Watch Challenge, in which halls and apartment complexes compete to reduce their energy and water use.

UNH, home of the nation's first endowed office of sustainability in higher education, is a leader in conserving energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and integrating sustainability throughout its curricula, operations, research, and engagement efforts.

Committed to being a climate protection campus that pursues a sustainable energy future through emissions reduction policies, practices, research, and education, UNH has earned several awards for its sustainability initiatives, ranging from composting and supporting local, sustainable agriculture to using compressed natural gas- and biodiesel-powered vehicles and being the first in the nation to receive an EPA Energy Star building rating for residence halls. Discover the sustainable learning community at www.sustainableunh.unh.edu.

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