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Energy Efficiency Campaign Comes to Subsidized Housing in Portland - Low-income families Take Pledge to "Change a Light" to help reduce utility costs

Release Date: 11/01/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, EPA, (617) 918-1017

(Portland, Maine - Nov. 1, 2006) – Residents of a federally-subsidized housing development in Portland, Maine today pledged to replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, helping to save money in energy bills and doing their part to help our country reduce dependence on foreign energy sources.

Representatives from the New England regional offices of the U.S. EPA and U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development spoke today with residents of Bayview Heights Apartments in Portland to promote energy efficiency and conservation as part of the ENERGY STAR Change a Light, Change the World campaign.

The objective of the Change a Light, Change the World campaign is to promote energy efficiency and conservation throughout America. The emphasis is to change from an incandescent light bulb to an ENERGY STAR labeled light bulb, thereby conserving energy, becoming more energy efficient as a nation, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"One of the most simple, but effective, ways to save energy is to replace our light bulbs,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England region. “New compact fluorescent light bulbs deliver dramatic energy savings, are long-lasting, and deserve a place in everybody’s home.”

Bayview Heights is a housing development that consists of 60 units of affordable housing for low-income elders. The apartments, which are owned by Volunteers of America, are subsidized by HUD so that residents pay only up to 30 percent of their income. HUD has been working with all of the federally subsidized housing developments throughout New England (more than 300,000 units) to encourage energy efficiency. HUD spends nearly 10 percent of its budget on energy costs, and lighting accounts for nearly 20 percent of electricity costs. Based on New England’s high electricity prices, changing from incandescent light bulbs to ENERGY STAR labeled bulbs, consumers can save up to $40 over the lifetime of one bulb.

"Because utility bills are the second largest household expense for most Americans, housing affordability and energy efficiency go hand in hand," said Taylor Caswell, Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "When we reduce utility bills, we reduce the cost of living for low- and moderate-income families."

Residents who change their light bulbs can be sure their efforts are included in the regional tally by taking the pledge online. Changing the world starts with simple actions. When light bulbs or entire light fixtures are replaced with ones that have earned the ENERGY STAR label, consumers are helping to preserve energy resources and contribute to a cleaner environment while saving money and time buying and changing lights in their home.

ENERGY STAR qualified lighting provides bright, warm light while it requires two-thirds less energy than standard lighting, generates 70 percent less heat, and lasts up to 10 times longer. ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures are available in hundreds of popular styles, including portable fixtures - such as table, desk, floor and torchiere lamps-and hard-wired fixtures such as outdoor, cabinet, suspended, ceiling-mount, recessed, wall-mount, and ceiling fans.

To save the most energy and money, consumers should replace their highest-use fixtures or the light bulbs with energy-efficient models. The five highest-use fixtures in a home are typically the kitchen ceiling light, the living room table and floor lamps, bathroom vanity, and outdoor porch or post lamp. ENERGY STAR qualified lighting fixtures and replacement bulbs can be found at home improvement and hardware stores, lighting showrooms, and other retail stores, including on-line outlets.

If every U.S. household replaces just one incandescent light bulb at home with one that earned the Energy Star label, the country will save $565 million in energy bills, save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year, and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to nearly 800,000 cars.

Other simple steps today to help make homes more energy efficient include:

- Replace incandescent bulbs with lights that have earned the ENERGY STAR.
- Use a programmable thermostat with air conditioners to adjust the setting warmer at night, or when no one is home.
- Use a fan with window air conditioners to spread cool air through a home.
- Use an energy-efficient ENERGY STARŪ air conditioner, which can save up to 50 percent on cooling bills.
- Plant trees around your home. Just three trees, properly placed around a house, can save between $100 and $250 annually in cooling and heating costs. Daytime air temperatures can be three to six degrees cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods.
- Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units, but do not block the airflow.
- Install white window shades, drapes or blinds to reflect heat away from the house. Sunny windows can make air conditioners work two to three times harder.
- Replace windows with ENERGY STARŪ models and consider the new double-pane windows with spectrally selective coatings.
- Tightly close fireplace damper.

In July, 2005, the Bush administration formed a new partnership aimed at reducing household energy costs by 10 percent over the next decade while improving our nation's air. The Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency is providing energy saving solutions for households across the country and is supporting research and implementation of a new generation of energy efficiency technologies. In support of this Partnership, HUD, EPA and the Department of Energy are providing Americans, including homebuilders, with the latest home energy savings information.

Maine Public Utilities Commission's Efficiency Maine program offers $2 instant coupons on ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs and $12 off ENERGY STAR qualified CFL light fixtures. More information and a list of participating retailers (

More information about Energy Star products, home improvement, etc. (

Take the "Change a Light" Pledge (

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