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Legislative leaders change to high-efficiency light bulbs

October 4, 2007

Augusta, MAINE – This week legislative leaders kicked off “Energy Awareness Month” by replacing costly incandescent bulbs in their offices with high-efficiency bulbs that drive down electricity costs. Senate Preisdent Beth Edmonds (D-Freeport) was joined in her office by leaders from both parties and both chambers.

Most Statehouse lighting fixtures have already been converted to high-efficiency fluorescent light tubes and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). But leaders noticed that some of their own desk lamps had incandescent bulbs and were burning electricity at old-fashioned rates – so with help from the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s Efficiency Maine program, they swapped them for money-saving CFLs.

Last year alone, Maine residents saved some $12 million dollars in avoided electricity costs when they installed CFLs with the help of rebates from Efficiency Maine. There are now 1.5 million CFLs in use in Maine; Sen. Edmonds, Rep. Tardy and the rest of the legislative leaders urge all Mainers to help bring that to 2 million CFLs this year.

Efficiency Maine will continue to celebrate Energy Awareness Month throughout October by highlighting the variety of energy- saving programs offered to Maine residents, businesses and schools. Look for Energy Saving Tips and the latest news at efficiencymaine.com

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1.5 Million CFLs: The Facts

• Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) give off high-quality light using a fraction of the electricity traditional incandescent lights use. In fact, CFLs are four times more efficient, use 50 to 80 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs.

• Traditional incandescent light bulbs were patented in 1880 and are inefficient dinosaurs. They waste energy and money and are responsible for millions of tons of greenhouse gases and pollution.

• Replacing a single traditional incandescent bulb with a CFL will keep a half-ton of CO2 out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb. If everyone in the U.S. used energy-efficient lighting, we could retire 90 average size power plants. Saving electricity reduces greenhouse gases including CO2 emissions, sulfur oxide and high-level nuclear waste.

• If every Maine home changed one light bulb, more than 210 million pounds of greenhouse gases would be kept out of the air – the equivalent of taking 2,500 cars off the road.

Efficiency Maine Fall Energy Tips - efficiencymaine.com Lighting

• Turn off lights whenever they are not needed, even for one second.

• Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). CFLs can give the same amount and quality of light as incandescent bulbs, yet use one-third the amount of energy and last ten times longer. Savings: 30-38 percent of lighting costs.

• Use dimmer switches or timers on lights. Savings: 7-10 percent of lighting costs.

• Look for the ENERGY STARŪ label when purchasing lighting fixtures. These fixtures meet federal energy-efficiency and quality guidelines, without a sacrifice in performance. These lights also operate at cooler temperatures.

• Replace halogen floor lamps and torchieres with compact fluorescent models. Halogen floor lamps pose a fire hazard due to the extremely hot temperatures produced by the high-wattage bulbs and cost more to operate. An energy-efficient compact fluorescent model produces as much light, runs cooler, and uses only a fraction of the electricity.

• Keep bulbs and fixtures clean. Dirt will absorb the light and reduce the efficiency.

Heating and Insulating: • Seal any leaks in your heating or cooling system ducts. Also fix leaks in water/steam heat pipes. Savings: 5-25 percent of heating/cooling costs.

• Insulate attic access and basement trap doors with R-19 insulation. Savings: 1-3 percent of heating/cooling costs.

• You can cut your heating costs up to 25% simply by installing proper ceiling insulation to at least R-30 standards. Insulate walls, floors and heating ducts, too. This insulation will not only keep heat from escaping, but will also make your home more comfortable.

• By caulking and weather-stripping, you can cut your heating bills up to 10%. Weather-strip doors and windows, and caulk air leaks around windows, doorframes, pipes and ducts.

• Use clear plastic sheets to insulate windows during the heating season. Savings: 2-7 percent of heating/cooling costs.

• Repair any holes in your roof, walls, doors, ceilings, windows and floors. Savings: Up to 10 percent of heating/cooling costs.

• Seal off electric receptacles and switch boxes with foam gaskets or fiberglass insulation. Savings: 1-3 percent of heating/cooling costs.

• Install storm or thermal (replacement) windows. These tightly fitting windows give the benefit of double-pane glass. Air trapped between the two panes acts as a thermal insulator, keeping your heated air inside where it belongs. Be sure to get windows that have the new super-efficient low-emissivity glazing.

Efficiency Maine Energy Facts

• During 2003 – 2005, the Efficiency Maine Program saved home owners, schools, and businesses more than 121 million kilowatt hours (kWh) with a lifetime economic benefit to the state of $86.6 million.

• In 2006, Efficiency Maine saved more than 74 million kWh, which helped avert the production of more than 320,000 tons of carbon dioxide, a major pollutant contributing to global warming. These savings are equivalent to the annual electricity use of nearly 11,000 homes in Maine and the carbon pollution reduction of taking 7,624 cars off the road.

Efficiency Maine is a statewide effort to promote the more efficient use of electricity, help Maine residents and businesses reduce electricity costs and improve Maine’s environment. It was created in 2002 by the Maine Legislature with the passing of “An Act to Strength Energy Conservation.” For more information on the annual report or energy efficiency, visit the PUC’s Efficiency Maine website at www.efficiencymaine.com or call 1-866-ESMAINE.

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Maine Public Utilities Commission 242 State Street Augusta, Maine 04333-0018 Website: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/, Email: maine.puc@maine.gov CONTACT: Fred Bever, 207-287-8519, Fred.Bever@maine.gov