October was Energy Awareness month, and many organizations offered information and incentives to buy and use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

Sylvania hosted the kickoff to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy’s (DOE) Change a Light, Change the World bus tour at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. Mickey and Minnie Mouse installed the first compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) of the campaign.

The Change a Light bus tour began its 10-city, 20-day trek across the country to encourage Americans to change just one light bulb in their home to a CFL. Each tour stop is designed to educate the public about the importance of choosing Energy Star-qualified lighting as a first step toward energy efficiency and to encourage individuals to take the Change a Light pledge—a commitment to change at least one light at home to an Energy Star-qualified CFL.

“The savings are huge—for your wallet and the environment,” said Jennifer Dolin, OSRAM Sylvania environmental marketing manager.

According to EPA and the DOE, lighting accounts for about 20 percent of the typical home’s electricity use. Energy Star-rated bulbs last about 10 times longer and save more than $30 in energy costs, compared to standard incandescent bulbs.

That is why Pepco, the electric utility serving Maryland and Washington, D.C., planned to begin an incentive program to help its customers buy CFLs as a supporter of the Change a Light campaign. Through Pepco sponsorship, various retailers will be able to offer a $1.50 discount on single packs of CFLs and a $3 discount on multipacks of CFLs.

Pepco’s incentive program will run until November 2010, and it is planning a similar program for its Washington, D.C., customers.

Commonwealth Edison Co., the utility serving the Chicago area, began a similar program in October and sold more than 500,000 CFLs within the first two weeks.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), in conjunction with Safeway Inc., the Sierra Club, Lights Out San Francisco and the city of San Francisco, gave away 5,000 CFLs at the Marina Safeway store in San Francisco. It was part of PG&E’s goal of giving away 1 million CFLs at more than 300 events in the month of October. According to PG&E, giving away 1 million CFLs has the potential to generate a collective savings of more than 400,000 megawatt-hours and prevent the emission of more than 200,000 tons of greenhouse gases over the lifetime of the CFLs. This is the equivalent of powering almost 60,000 homes in central and northern California for a year, or removing 31,000 cars from the road for a year, or planting 60,000 acres of trees.

In addition, PG&E collected the public’s spent CFLs at the kick-off events in Berkeley and San Francisco. The company plans to recycle the collected bulbs.

Sylvania committed to collect 10,000 Change a Light pledges. Pepco also made a commitment to the program. To make a pledge, visit www.energystar.gov.       EC