by Elizabeth DeLyser, Copy Editor
SGA is working with FMO and Allegheny Power to switch all the incandescent light bulbs and traditional florescent lights for Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). CFLs, which often feature a spiraled glass bulb, last 8-15 times longer than the life of a normal light bulb and also use between one-fifth and one-third of their power. Allegheny Power is providing a free CFL to anyone who trades in a traditional light bulb.
To help the switch to CFLs, FMO had the task of counting all the light bulbs used on campus, while SGA set about counting the light bulbs used in students’ dorm rooms.
“None of the lights have been replaced with the free ones yet,” Head of Housekeeping Vicky Booth said. “We’re trying to count all the lights.”
John Merranko, the SGA’s chair of the FMO Committee, was excited about the new program.
“Most of Allegheny Power’s efficient light bulbs use less than half the energy consumed by traditional incandescent bulbs, and they last longer,” he said. “Thus, since SVC pays absolutely nothing for these new energy-saving light bulbs, we all save a ton of money and do our part toward preserving the environment and its precious resources.”
CFLs, however, contain small amount of mercury vapor inside the glass tubing. The EPA compares the 4mg of mercury in a CFL to a traditional mercury thermometer that contained 500mg of mercury, but their fact sheet on the mercury of CFLs does not address how much mercury is harmful. Instead, the EPA urges people to recycle their burned out CFLs at an official recycling station, as well as emphasizing that if a bulb breaks, to open the windows, sweep up the fragments, and not use a vacuum.
SVC stands to reduce the cost of lighting the college by two-thirds once the CFLs are implemented, and will reduce the amount energy used by lighting by half, helping to further SVC’s Go Green initiatives. Just remember to treat any broken bulbs carefully – seal them in a glass jar and sweep up the remains to avoid potentially dangerous exposure to mercury.