Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Let there be ‘green’ light

In an effort to reduce pollution and improve energy
efficiency, a city committee passed the second half of an ordinance Wednesday
that would require some Madison buildings to use environmentally friendly light

The Housing Committee referred the ordinance to the City
Council for approval, which mandates all light bulbs in Madison tenant
buildings with more than three units to install compact fluorescent light bulbs
in every unit’s light fixtures. CFLs have efficiency of at least 30 lumens per

According to Jennifer Feyerherm of the Sierra Club, CFLs
cost between $1 and $2 and use three-quarters less energy than incandescent
bulbs. CFLs can last for 10 years, she said, while incandescent bulbs have a
standard life of three to four months.


The light bulb rule would take affect June 1, 2009.

This comes as the second half of an ordinance passed in
early March requiring some residential buildings to use CFLs in common areas.

“This ordinance will reduce electricity enough to power
over 4,100 homes, cut global warming pollution by 35,000 tons and will save
over $2 million per year in energy costs alone for tenants and landlords,”
Feyerherm said.

Members of the committee raised concerns with the disposal
process of CFLs because they contain a small amount of mercury powder on the
coils. Mercury is poisonous in soluble forms.

Ald. Brenda Konkel, District 2, said the city should have
plenty of time to spread awareness of how to recycle the bulbs since the
ordinance would not be effective until 2009.

Burnt-out CFL bulbs must be recycled, Feyerherm said, adding
all businesses that sell them are required to take the expired bulbs back.

The Environmental Protection Agency has guidelines regarding
what to do in case the light bulbs break, Feyerherm said, adding people should
open a window to air out the room and clean up the shards of glass with wet
paper towel.

Carter Dedolph from Wisconsin Energy Corporation said WEC is
trying to support a statewide efficiency program by offering to switch all
incandescent light bulbs in four-unit dwellings to CFL bulbs for free. This
service would be offered until the city passes the light bulb requirement, he

Officials from Madison and Dane County have shown a vested
interest in cutting energy output, Feyerherm said.

Feyerherm said she met with representatives from the city of
Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, University of
Wisconsin and Madison Gas and Electric Wednesday morning to “try to figure
out the forward-thinking solution for Madison.”

Representatives addressed the three coal plants between the
UW campus and the Capitol, putting forth options to consolidate the plants and
provide a more efficient heating system for UW and city buildings, she said.

According to Feyerherm, an energy proposal representatives
are crafting at the meeting will be released at the end of May.

“This needs to be a very public process,”
Feyerherm said, referring to how Madison can increase its energy efficiency.
“This is the community’s chance to help decide our energy future.”

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