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              A campaign to save money and help the environment by using energy efficient light bulbs

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ontario ban by 2012 plus free CFLs + procurement
Suzanne Fraser from Project Porchlight has been in touch to let BTB know that the government of Ontario in Canada has announced a ban of inefficient light bulbs by 2012.

A total of $1.5 million has also been allocated by the province for Project Porchlight volunteers to deliver 500,000 bulbs door-to-door in communities across Ontario.

The phase-out period is designed to give Ontario residents a chance to adapt to more efficient lighting technologies, such as compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, and to start the public on the road to more complex energy conservation actions.

“Phasing out inefficient lighting will stimulate and sustain public dialogue about energy efficiency in general,” said Stuart Hickox, executive director of Project Porchlight, which a One Change campaign. “There is a profound sense of urgency about climate change that can only be sustained by giving everyone something to do. The simple act of changing a light bulb takes people from awareness to action; people become part of the solution.”

This move has occurred because the incandescent light bulb is amongst the most inefficient technologies in use in Canada.

Changing all of the 87 million light bulbs in Ontario will result in a savings of approx 6,000,000 MWh annually, enough to power 600,000 households.

Switching to CFL bulbs will prevent 43.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases over the lifetime of the bulbs.

Changing light bulbs is the universal starting point for broad public action to reducing energy use. Polling done by Ekos Research following recent Project Porchlight campaigns (Ottawa, Guelph, Thunder Bay) shows that once people receive a CFL bulb, up to 65% say they will either change all their bulbs to CFLs right away or as old bulbs burn out. Up to 80% of respondents say that because of switching one bulb, they will now consider “energy efficiency” as a factor in all their future purchases.

“Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs is the first choice that we can make in becoming energy efficient consumers,” continued Mr. Hickox. “The government’s action shows that they understand that the bulb is just the start. Once people change bulbs, they will quickly move to more complex energy conservation actions.”

Innovative social marketing programs such as Project Porchlight offer people a chance to adapt to and appreciate new technologies such as CFL bulbs. In addition to funding from the Ontario government, Project Porchlight campaigns are also sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Energy, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Hydro Ottawa, Thunder Bay Hydro, the Yukon government, and Natural Resources Canada.

Before we get too excited, it is worth noting that critics have said that the provincial government of Ontario has a poor record at delivering on commitments and that they have back-tracked on the closure of coal-fired power stations by 2007, some of which will now be staying open until 2014.

On the bright side, as part of this initiative, the provincial government has vowed to stop purchasing standard incandescent light bulbs, which currently represent less than 1% of lighting in government buildings.

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