Teaching The Reality of Energy Savings #GELighting

Remember back in November, when I developed the project to help children learn more about conserving energy, by using the new GE energy-saving light bulbs?  When I put the project together, I never realized how prolific it would become in changing our families thinking on lighting and energy conservation.  Before I get into that, I wanted to bring you up to speed…

It is now 2013.  The incandescent light bulb law is now in affect, and 75 watt incandescent bulbs will no longer be produced.  By 2014, 40 and 60 watt incandescents will be phased out as well.  Consumers need to start making other (wiser) choices in the lighting they use for their homes and businesses.  GE makes those decisions easier, with several options for energy-efficient lighting, such as Energy Smart CFL’s, Energy Efficient Soft Whites, and Energy Smart LED’s.  The cost savings to your family will be significant, but the savings to our environment, as you will soon see, will be monumental. 

Let’s be honest here.  When my husband heard that incandescents would no longer be made, he was not happy…not happy at all.  It’s what we’ve used all our lives, its what we are used to.  Sometimes change is difficult, and my husband is not one for change.  When we made our shopping trip in November, he was enthusiastic about the new GE options, yet apprehensive that he would be happy with the changes long term.  After we completed my project (with some additions by my son), he is more convinced then ever that the changes we make will not only impact our family, but our son and future generations as well.  He is now ready to make the change.

Although my project was set up to be done with a younger children, or with a group of kids, my family spent most of Christmas vacation sick.  My visiting Mom was sick, my son was sick, and I was sick, so we were not able to have any of my sons friends come over to do the project with us.  My son, who is 14, my husband, and I did the project together, but since it was a little “juvenile” for my son, he decided to expand it a little bit.  He expanded our thinking too!

Little Man did the project exactly as it was presented. He was to simulate converting the lightbulbs in our ourdoors, our kitchen, living room, and his bedroom and bathroom only, not the entire house.  (Although he only had to simulate it, he actually did change out several lightbulbs along his path.)

In doing so, he switched out 31 bulbs.  This is about half the bulbs in our house.  Being 14, he was not satisfied with the glory of winning a “virtual” gold medal, so he took the project a few steps further.

After calculating the savings we would make in each room of our house, by converting our existing lightbulbs to energy efficient bulbs, he also calculated the CO2 saved (using the GE energy savings calculator) and the amount of trees saved. 

 When he saw the amount of acres of trees that could be saved in a year, just by converting lightbulbs, he was amazed.  A lightbulb went off (no pun intended)!

He wanted to know exactly 27,229,161 acres was, in realistic terms.  He decided to research exactly how significant that number would be.  First, he researched the Amazon Rainforest, which is 1.7 billion acres.  Significantly more than 27 million acres.  But what about our United States National Parks?  He started off with the major ones:  Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountain National Park, and The Smoky Mountain National Park.  He began to realize something….if he included every national park in the Continental US, not including our national parks in Alaska, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands…he came to 27,612,279 acres.

 Do you understand what this means?

By switching out 31 lightbulbs in our house to GE’s energy efficient lighting…making that leap from incandescents to energy efficient LED’s or CFL’s…our own little family of three could save almost the same amount of acres of trees as every national park in the lower 48 states of the United States! 

Per year!
One household, with only half our bulbs converted!
Can you imagine what it would be like if we converted our whole house?  
Can you imagine what if every household in Arizona switched?
If we converted every lightbulb in our house to an energy efficient light bulb, we could save the same number of acres of trees as every National Park in North America, including Hawaii, Alaska, and Canada.  If every household in Arizona (per the 2000 census 1,901,327) converted half their lightbulbs, we could save more than the amount of acres as the Amazon Rain Forest.  
Can you imagine what we could do if every household in the US converted?
It’s mind blowing!  Realistically, not every single household, including ours, is going to change every single bulb in the house, but by converting at least half, we can also still make significant steps to change the CO2 levels in the atmosphere.  
This is an achievable goal!  
Our family did not realize how easy it could be, and how our choices could change so much.  If your family made some small (or big) changes, just imagine the impact you could have.  But perhaps you need to see some results of your own for your household?  Please, have your children try my project (its fun and helps them use bit of their own energy) and see for yourself the difference your family can make.  The link to the project is here.  Also, check out the many options that GE has available, so you can make the right choices for your family from the GE website.  You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.  
Disclosure:  I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and GE Lighting #CBias #SocialFabric  My opinions are 100% my own. 
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Julie is the Arizona-based lifestyle writer/editor of A Cork, Fork, & Passport. She is an accomplished chef, traveler, kid wrangler, dachshund chaser, and social media expert.
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