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Howard installs new CFL light bulbs

Madeline Buckley | Monday, September 15, 2008

Howard Hall will take the first steps to becoming a greener dorm by putting a Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb (CFL) in every room in the hall, Environmental Commissioner Lauren Henderson said.

General Electric donated 130 energy smart CFL light bulbs to the dorm, Henderson said.

According to General Electric, their CFL bulbs last up to 10 times longer than a normal incandescent light bulb and they use up to 75 percent less energy than normal bulbs, Henderson said.

“We are really excited about taking on new initiatives this year,” she said.

Henderson said she was partly inspired to use CFL bulbs by Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” In the book, Gore states that if every U.S. household changed one light bulb to a CFL bulb, it would save enough energy to reduce pollution as much as removing one million cars from U.S. roads, she said.

“We are trying to do what he said on a smaller scale,” Henderson said.

The effort started last year when Howard Hall decided to create an environment committee with an environmental commissioner heading it within the dorm, Henderson said.

As the commissioner, Henderson decided to contact General Electric over the summer about donating their CFL bulbs, she said.

“I was able to get them through the Vice President of Ecomagination, a division of the Green Initiatives for General Electric,” Henderson said. “I just contacted her by e-mail and let her know what was going on with Howard and asked if it would be possible if we could get a donation of the bulbs,” she said.

At first, the vice president, Lorraine Bolsinger, said the bulbs were sold out all over the country, but later they became available, Henderson said.

“We are very lucky to have them,” she said.

The bulbs will be handed out to the residents in Howard at the dorm’s hall council meeting Tuesday, Henderson said.

“There are 160 people in Howard including staff and we will give out one per room,” Henderson said.

Although the bulbs cannot be used in the overhead lights in the room, they can be put in the freestanding lamps and desk lamps the girls have in their rooms, she said.

The leftover bulbs will be given to housekeeping so they can replace them when other lights burn out, Henderson said.

“It’s important to remember that doing something like this might seem insignificant, but it’s the little changes that add up,” she said.

Installing CFL bulbs in the dorm is only the first step in Howard’s initiative to become a greener dorm, Henderson said. The Environment Committee is in the planning stages for several other projects, she said.

One project focuses on altering the water bottle usage in the dorm, Henderson said. She has been researching a water bottle made by a company called Watergeeks Laboratories, hoping to provide them for students, she said.

“My room drinks an awful lot of water bottles because we don’t want to drink the tap water,” she said. “We are thinking of getting water bottles for the dorm that have built in purifiers so we can fill up the bottles straight from the tap and reduce the plastic waste in our dorm,” she said.

Other projects in the works are altering the recycling methods for the dorm and offering environmental-friendly cosmetics and toiletries, Henderson said.

These projects have excited other Howard residents about becoming involved in making Howard a greener dorm.

Freshman Shannon McNaught said she is happy to see so much environmental awareness on campus.

“I took an environmental science class in high school and got involved in a lot of environmental action there,” she said. “I was really excited to see something in Howard pertaining to the same idea.”

Virginia Benz, another freshman, said she is excited to join the environment committee and compete in the upcoming energy competition in which every dorm attempts to be the “greenest” dorm on campus.

“I am excited to see if we can win [the competition]. I think we have a good chance,” she said.