Light Up McMinnville CFL Direct Install Program
Linfield students are lighting up for a good cause. No, this student-initiated project doesn’t involve smoking, but walking door to door in McMinnville, asking if they can change people’s light bulbs. For free. Without a catch.
Their goal? To replace the town’s incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescents (CFLs).
A “Light Up McMinnville” effort drew 80 students last fall, and 90 this January.
“The good thing about bad weather is that people are home,” said Duncan Reid ‘10, who initiated Linfield’s student environmental organization, Greenfield. “The bad thing about bad weather is that we get wet.
“Many students initially get involved because they like the volunteer aspect and it’s a concrete action they can take to support a healthy environment,” Reid said. “But students end up liking it because of the people they interact with. It’s an excuse to talk to strangers, and we don’t often get that.”
Reid says after residents figure out students aren’t up to something suspicious or selling anything, most are grateful, and some even offer food.
The project is a collaboration between Linfield students and McMinnville Water & Light, and for every bulb replaced, students earn a $2 energy credit to be applied toward solar panels on campus.
“McMinnville wants to see more conservation because we are running out of cheap hydro power,” said Reid, who rides a bike instead of owning a car and wants to put his environmental studies degree to work concentrating on issues like renewable energy. “Using more energy efficient bulbs is good for them and it’s good for residents, who can save 75 percent on their light bill.”
“For every problem, there’s an opportunity to make a change for the better. We realize that this is something within our reach. It’s possible to make a difference.”
The Light Up McMinnville project has engaged hundreds of Linfield students in the local energy efficiency and conservation effort. The program has installed over 3,000 CFL bulbs and has generated over $6,000 for solar panels on campus. The solar panels will be installed over the summer of 2011 upon the completion of the Northup Hall renovation.
The project was featured on FOX Channel 12 and KOIN Channel 6. The Carbon Capture Report, Dalles Chronicle, McMinnville News-Register, KLYC Radio and McMinnville Community Media also carried the story.
More energy related projects.