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Americans, Take the Challenge: Change a Light, Change the World; Officials Launch Energy Efficiency Campaign at Empire State Building

Release Date: 10/04/2006
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664 or (646) 369-0039,

(New York, N.Y.) How many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a light bulb? The answer? All New Yorkers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today called on all New Yorkers to change just one light bulb in their home from an energy wasting incandescent bulb to a highly efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent. The federal and state agencies teamed up today to launch the national “Change a Light, Change the World” campaign in an iconic building world famous for its lights -- the Empire State Building, which already uses energy efficient lighting.

“Rarely are we in a position to make such a huge positive impact with such a small gesture,” said Alan J. Steinberg, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 2. “The energy saved if every American household changed a single light bulb to a high efficiency ENERGY STAR bulb, would provide enough power to light more than 2.5 million homes. By using efficient light bulbs, we ensure both a bright and a green future for generations to come.”

With about 30 light fixtures in the average home, lighting accounts for approximately 20 percent of most electric bills. The savings add up quickly. By changing just one light bulb to an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, residents can save more than $30 in electricity costs over the bulb’s lifetime – and replacing the most frequently used lights at home will yield significantly more savings. The ENERGY STAR label on products ensures that the product has been tested at high efficiency standards.

Peter R. Smith, president and CEO of NYSERDA said, “Following simple energy-saving tips can provide an important contribution to the overall energy efficiency of New York State. The “Change a Light, Change the World” campaign focuses on one tip that can make a big difference. NYSERDA challenges New Yorkers to take the pledge one step further and change out five of the most used light bulbs in your homes to energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs. This can save residents up to $60 per year – not to mention the savings over the bulbs’ lifetime. If everyone does their part, we can help save energy and make New York State a better, and brighter, place."

The Empire State Building, the most visible symbol of light in the metropolitan area, is also a model for energy efficiency. Recently, the building underwent significant upgrades to reduce its strain on the energy grid in New York City.

“It is quite appropriate that the Empire State Building, the world’s most famous office building, be the kick-off location for ENERGY STAR’S “Change a Light, Change the World” campaign,” said James T. Connors, General Manager, Empire State Building. “The Empire State Building continues to set the standard for energy efficient office buildings. We employ a dual energy source air conditioning system using steam and electricity, we have replaced all 6500 windows with double-glazed, paned, thermal efficient windows, reduced from 40 watt to 32 watt lamps with upgraded electronic ballasts in every office and all public areas and have insulated our setback roofs. We join the EPA in encouraging everyone to change at least one light bulb in their home to an ENERGY STAR qualified light bulb.”

Inner-city high school students also attended today’s event. The students are part of The Tru Light Project, a youth entrepreneur program that promotes energy conservation through the sale of energy-saving light bulbs at reduced cost. Solar One, a Manhattan-based 501(c)3 that offers numerous energy education programs throughout the city, launched the program in the spring of 2006 in partnership with Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day School (MCNDS), a NYC public high school located on 14th Street and Second Avenue. Through the program, students not only learn about energy efficiency, but they also learn about business models as they look into strategies for selling the ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs. The student teams receive a small commission for each bulb sold, and 50 cents per bulb is donated to a nonprofit organization that manages renewable energy projects in the developing world.

The ENERGY STAR “Change a Light, Change the World” Campaign is a national call-to-action from the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy to encourage every individual to help change the world, one light — one energy-saving step — at a time. New Yorkers can pledge to change out at least one light bulb in their home by going to