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UC launches Million Light Bulb Challenge community buy program

UC faculty and staff have a great opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint at home and save money. UC is spearheading a statewide effort to advance the purchase of 1 million high-quality, energy-efficient light bulbs for campus buildings and residences across the state.

“High-quality LED light sources help reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our energy use, and save money,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “We are excited to launch this challenge and swap out at least a million inefficient light sources.”

Under the Community Buy Program supported by UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative, all UC students, staff, faculty and alumni can purchase light bulbs at nearly half the price of online competitors via the secure Million Light Bulb Challenge website and have them shipped directly to their home. The website features a number of educational resources to help consumers understand their options and see estimates of their energy savings and reduction in CO2 emissions.

About the challenge

Inspired by research conducted by the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis, the UC Office of the President spearheaded the Million Light Bulb Challenge to procure high-quality, energy-efficient light sources as part of UC’s goal of reaching operational carbon neutrality by 2025. UC is collaborating with the California Community College system, the California State University system and the California Department of General Services in this large-scale effort.

To make it easier for consumers to purchase high-quality LED bulbs, the California Million Light Bulb Challenge partners used specific performance criteria to evaluate and select the light bulbs that will go into UC facilities and be available to the UC community for purchase.

“Our goal was to take the guesswork and confusion out of the process and ensure that everyone gets a great light at a great price,” said Michael Siminovitch, director of the UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center.

The Million Light Bulb Challenge could result in significant energy savings and reduced emissions. Replacing 1 million 60-watt incandescent bulbs that are used about three hours a day would save 55.8 GWh per year, or 85 percent. This decreases CO2 emissions by 41,461 metric tons, which is like removing 8,900 passenger vehicles from the road each year, according to the EPA’s greenhouse gas equivalency calculator.

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