The Let’s Raise A Million Project is another of the 2011 Echoing Green Semi-Finalists. This is a “student-led, policy-supported, multi-community, urban ecological project that conducts complete energy efficient ‘clean bulb’ retrofits and energy audits, at no cost, for residents of modest means while informing residents of the economic and environmental benefits of energy conservation.”
So what exactly does that mean? Let’s raise a million is a university student run project and was organized on the Morehouse campus. In 2009, students from Agnes Scott, Clark-Atlanta, Emory, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Morehouse, Spelman and Grambling went door to door in low income areas to discuss the benefits of using Compact Fluorescent Light bubls (CFLs) instead of incandescent light bulbs and then installed all new light bulbs in the house for free. These CFLs often cost more, but are better for the environment and last longer than the traditional light bulbs.
According to the Energy Star website, CFLs can save more than $40 in electricity costs over its lifetime, use about 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs, and produce about 75% less heat, so they are safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling.
During the installation, residents are also given information on other ways to reduce energy consumption, bills and carbon emissions. After 90 days, Let’s Raise A Million volunteers followed up with the residents to determine savings over the adjustment period.
Households eligible for the free lightbulbs are identified by municipal “empowerment zone” designations, publicly-subsided housing communities, any student utilizing any form of publicly-supported financial aid, a member of a economically repressed community, determined by zip code, or any additional determinate identified by Let’s Raise A Million.
The project has already changed over 12,000 bulbs in Atlanta’s West End, over 1100 bulbs in Grambling, Louisiana, and almost 200 in Detroit, Michigan. The Let’s Raise A Million project and its partners are committed to changing a million lightbulbs by 2013.
Photo via Flickr by sirspacepilot