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OpEd: Energy Star Change the World

Release Date: 10/08/2008
Contact Information: Contact: Nancy Grantham, 617-918-1101

By Robert W. Varney

Editor's note: a high resolution of Robert Varney is available at:

How many people does it take to address some of America’s most daunting environmental challenges – like combating global warming and conserving energy? Actually, just one person can make a vital contribution by using energy-efficient products and practices at home and at work.

The key to contributing is simple: when you shop, choose ENERGY STAR qualified products and take steps to improve your home’s efficiency. Anyone can change the world for the better – whether installing ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling systems, sealing and insulating one’s home, or changing a light bulb – we can all make a difference.

And in each and every case, we’ll also be saving money.

That is why ENERGY STAR, a program of the U.S. government, along with its partners, is expanding its annual Change a Light, Change the World Campaign, to the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR Campaign – a national call to action from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Change the World Campaign encourages everyone to play a very important role by choosing ENERGY STAR qualified products and being more energy-efficient whenever and wherever possible.

This fall, we will be marking the Change the World Campaign with an event in our area. On October 11-13, the ENERGY STAR Program will be with our sponsors in Topsfield, MA at the Topsfield Fair for three days of free activities. The centerpiece of the event is an interactive exhibit modeled after an energy-efficient home. You’re invited to tour this home to learn how you can save energy and money – and pledge to help in our national efforts to make America more energy efficient.

The connection between our energy use and the well-being of our planet is simple: when we cut down on energy consumption through more efficient products and practices, power plants will generate fewer emissions, which is no small matter. The energy used in the average home can contribute more than twice as many greenhouse gas emissions each year than the average car.

Using Energy Star products and reducing your home’s energy use will help the environment and you. ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs alone – to name just one type of product – use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.

If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, save more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.

So please participate in EPA’s ENERGY STAR Change the World Campaign this year. If you cannot make it to our event in person, then visit and take the pledge to reduce your home’s energy use. As Thomas Edison, the man who invented the first long-lasting light bulb back in 1879, once said, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” A good place to start is by joining us in this year’s ENERGY STAR Change the World Campaign and taking steps in your own home!