City program urges conservation
Posted Feb. 29, 2008

Tiffany Vlaanderen
Staff Writer

The opportunity to partake in a national campaign to conserve the earth’s limited resources and energy is currently in the hands of city of La Verne residents and businesses.

The city has joined forces with Energy Star in its national Change A Light Campaign.

The campaign challenges Americans to be more conscious of their consumption in relation to resources.

One area that has potential to save energy, money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is lighting.

Lighting accounts to almost 20 percent of an average home electricity bill.

Switching to energy-efficient lighting is an easy step La Verne residents can take to save money and stimulate energy conservation.

“If you are buying a light bulb, look for the Energy Star label,” said Jeannette Vagnozzi, city of La Verne administrative superintendent.

Energy Star light bulbs use at least 75 percent less energy than standard bulbs and last up to ten times longer.

The result is twofold: If every household in La Verne acts through this pledge to change just one bulb, the city will save about 9 million kWH, or kilowatts per hour, of energy and prevent more than 14 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the emissions from 234 cars.

Unfortunately, La Verne’s main vehicle for spreading the awareness of this campaign is the city’s Web site, so only those who log on regularly seem to know about it.

La Verne homeowner Julia Morisset said she had not heard a word about the campaign.

“If I knew we were a part of something like this I would have looked into buying new lighting fixtures,” Morisset said.

Local businesses and organizations are also encouraged to show their commitment to energy efficiency and help to spread the word by posting a link to the pledge on their Web sites.

However, some local businesses in downtown La Verne were also unaware of the campaign.

“I did not even know the city had a Web site,” said Nick Toudee, owner of Coffeeberry in downtown La Verne.”We try the best we can to save energy on our own.”

So far, response to the pledge has gained little momentum. The city plays a neutral role in that it can only encourage businesses and residents to participate in the opportunity to productively utilize global energy.

“We promote a lot of energy saving and water conservation programs every year,” Vagnozzi said.”This is simply our current focus.”

The city of La Verne has a list of programs it promotes to raise positive environment awareness.

Among those, the city supports used oil and filter recycling, storm drain pollution strategies and smart gardening and shopping.

In addition, Energy Star offers several ways to help residents get started.

Consumers can save more than $30 in electricity costs with each compact fluorescent light, or CFLs, he or she purchases. The most efficient fixtures to use qualified CFLs are usually found in the family room, living room, kitchen, dining room, bedroom or outdoors.

CFLs perform best in open fixtures that allow airflow, and in the case of recessed fixtures, it is better to use a reflector CFL than a spiral CFL to evenly distribute the light.

Awareness appears to be the city’s main concern for residents, but the campaign’s invisibility to La Verne residents may prevent the program from reaching its potential.

Among several city of La Verne residents and business owners interviewed, no one had knowledge of the city’s current effort.

If the people of La Verne are able to make a sizeable difference with justone light bulb, the city should raise the visibility of the Energy Star Change a Light Campaign to empower all.

Tiffany Vlaanderen can be reached at tvlaanderen@ulv.edu.

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