Montpelier launches campaign to change 20,000 light bulbs

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(Host) An ambitious energy efficiency plan has been launched for the city of Montpelier.

The goal is to replace 20,000 conventional light bulbs throughout the city with new, highly efficient, compact fluorescent bulbs.

Backers of the plan say it will reduce the city’s carbon footprint and save homeowners and businesses money.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Open with students singing )

"Lighten up. Lighten up, Montpelier.

Save the energy. It is the best. We need it for the future. Lighten Up. Lighten Up, Montpelier."

(Kinzel) Over a hundred students from Montpelier’s Main Street Middle School crowded into City Hall to help kick off this new program.

In the next few weeks, the students will be going door to door throughout the city to offer these light bulbs to homeowners at a subsidized cost of $1.50 each.  Efficiency Vermont is underwriting the rest of the cost of the light bulbs.

Americorps volunteers will also distribute the new light bulbs to senior housing units in the city.

This program is one of the key recommendations from a citizens advisory task force that was created last winter to look at ways to reduce energy consumption in Montpelier.

Montpelier Mayor Mary Hooper says the program is a specific way for city residents to have a positive impact on the environment and their home budgets.

(Hooper) "Not only are we going to lighten it up in Montpelier by selling 20,000 light bulbs, you guys have made a commitment to help us. That’s going to save $800,000 for the people in this community and 4,000 tons of carbon that you’re going to keep out of our atmosphere and out of our environment. That is just huge!"

(Kinzel) The light bulbs will also be available at several local stores.  Because the new bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, these stores will also act as recycling centers for the bulbs when they eventually wear out.

Gary Law is the manager of the local Aubuchon hardware store.

(Law) "That’s always been a problem in this area. It was never convenient. Well, we’re right across the street. We’re open 7 days a week and we’ll be glad to take them back. That just finishes it. This program is a win-win situation for everyone because if we can get the peak amount of power we have to buy down we all save."

(Kinzel) The Montpelier energy task force hopes to have the 20,000 new light bulbs installed throughout the city by the end of the year.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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