Sales of energy-efficient bulbs to offset carbon footprint of games
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Gainesville residents have a chance to offset the emissions from Saturday’s University of Florida football game, help their mayor win a bet with Tallahassee’s mayor and save money, too.
All they need is an old incandescent bulb and $1.
Now through Tuesday, residents can stop at one of several area businesses to purchase up to 30 money-saving, energy-efficient, carbon-reducing light bulbs known as compact fluorescent lights or CFLs. The lights last about 10,000 hours, saving $50 and half a ton of greenhouse gas emissions per bulb.
The effort, called the “Gator vs. Seminole Light Bulb Battle,” is part of an ongoing effort by the Neutral Gator initiative to offset the carbon footprint from UF’s home football games. The initiative has united Gainesville Regional Utilities, the UF Office of Sustainability, the nonprofit Earth Givers and seven local businesses to distribute 50,000 lights before Wednesday.
“These bulbs use about a fifth of the energy and last about eight times as long,” UF Office of Sustainability Director Dedee DeLongpré Johnston said.
In other words, if all 50,000 lights end up in Gainesville homes, it could save the city about $2.5 million and reduce carbon emissions by 25,000 tons.
Johnston said the initiative earlier this year focused primarily on low-income neighborhoods where families have higher power bills and larger carbon footprints because they usually can’t afford higher priced, energy-saving light bulbs or other efficiency retrofits.
“I don’t know very many people who don’t want to save money on their power bill,” she said.
A diverse range of businesses have agreed to help the cause by providing exchange stations: Indigo Green Store; Lighting Gallery; Zell’s Ace Hardware; Volta Coffee, Tea and Chocolate; Satchel’s Lightnin’ Salvage; Ward’s Supermarket; Rides Auto Sales; and Stubbie Shirt Pub. Gainesville Publix locations will also sell the bulbs from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday. The bulbs also will be on sale at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during the football game.
Only cash will be accepted. For more information, visit www.neutralgator.org.
It’s estimated that the seven Gator home games this season, along with the cars, planes and hotel rooms that fans fill each Saturday, will emit more than 13,000 tons of carbon dioxide; on average, each American produces about 20 tons a year, according to the Gainesville-based International Carbon Bank and Exchange, which helped calculate the footprints.
The Gators’ last-season match against Florida State was the first game of its kind – for the day’s estimated 1,750 tons of greenhouse gas output, the university worked with landowners in Dixie County to put 18 acres into a management program for 10 years.
This game spurred the mutual challenge between Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan and Tallahassee Mayor John Marks to see which city can conserve more energy. The winner of the battle will be announced at the UF/FSU game Nov. 29.
- Dedee DeLongpré Johnston, firstname.lastname@example.org, 352-392-7578