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Better idea preserves environment

March 20, 2009
By MIRIAM MOELLER Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE - Let the lights shine in Marquette.

Thanks to the Superior Watershed Partnership, lots of Marquette residents can do just that while saving energy, electricity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently, SWP received a $150,000 grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission to provide more than 3,700 families with a free box of 12 compact fluorescent light bulbs, known as CFLs.

Article Photos

Marquette Township resident Dianna Truscott installs a compact fluorescent light bulb in a ceiling fan in her home Thursday. Truscott is one Habitat for Humanity homeowner to recently receive a box of CFLs. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)

"The 45,000 CFLs that we'll distribute through this project will reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 6 million pounds, in addition to decreasing emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants," said SWP education specialist Mary Martin.

CFLs have been distributed to Marquette County Habitat for Humanity to be installed in Marquette County Habitat homes.

"Just yesterday we gave out about 50 cases to Habitat for Humanity homes in Kingsford, Ontonagon, Manistique, Sault Ste. Marie and Houghton," Martin said this week.

Compared to incandescent light bulbs, CFLs reduce electricity usage for an average family by 30 percent, according to Martin.

"Most of the electricity in the Upper Peninsula is generated by coal-fired power plants, which cause greenhouse gas emissions, and the production of chemicals that contribute to acid rain and respiratory problems," Martin said. "CFLs use less than one quarter of the electricity of incandescent bulbs.

"The bottom line for us at the Superior Watershed Partnership is environmental protection, but the bottom line for many folks during hard economic times is, well, the bottom line - saving money. By installing CFLs, people can do both and feel really good about it."

Martin said she is now working on locating centers that will distribute the bulbs. At this time, residents cannot pick up CFLs at the SWP individually. However, on April 18 and 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the MooseWood Nature Center in Marquette, the SWP is giving out cases of 12 CFLs to families who wish to participate in this U.P.-wide program.

SWP is also working with area K-12 schools to distribute the bulbs to educators, who can teach about energy conservation in their classrooms.

"This project is a wonderful opportunity for students to integrate math, science and writing skills in a project that has both real-life relevance and global implications," Martin said.

Native American tribes in the U.P. are also participating in the program, as well as MooseWood, the Marquette Alger Regional Educational Service Agency and regional St. Vincent de Paul offices.



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