October 17, 2002

Halogen Trade-in Success With C.U.

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Until Oct. 31, students can visit The Cornell Store or Campus Copy and Supply at Appel Commons to turn in their torchier style halogen lamps. In exchange, both stores are offering participating students a 70 percent discount off of a new Energy Star torchier lamp.

Halogen lamps’ presence in student housing has raised concerns about safety and the environment.

With their light bulbs reaching up to 1000 degrees, halogen lamps are more likely to start fires than other lamps. An event yesterday afternoon promoting the trade-in featured a demonstration of their fire hazards by Fire Marshall Ray Wheaton.

In addition, halogen lamps are extremely energy inefficient. The replacements lamps use 80 percent less energy than the equivalent halogen lamps. To continue the environmental effort, the halogen lamps turned in will be recycled.

To promote safety and energy conservation, starting Nov. 1, Campus Life has banned halogen lamps in dorms and will use disciplinary action to enforce this rule. Beginning next semester, the lamps will also be banned in sorority and fraternity houses.

So far, the campaign has been successful at The Cornell Store, according to Peter Salce, supply buyer. Out of the 100 available, The Cornell Store has sold about 62 lamps.

“It’s gone quite well,” he said.

The Cornell Store had been looking for an alternative to halogen lamps when the campus environmental group Kyoto Now! approached them with the idea of a trade-in. With the help of Kyoto Now! and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), The Cornell Store began the trade-in on Oct. 1.

“It was almost like a perfect fit that we did this,” Salce said.

In comparison to The Cornell Store, Campus Copy and Supply has reported slightly slower sales, with 10 out of 20 lamps available sold. However, manager Chris Hoover believes the program is worth the effort.

“As a store on campus, we are there to provide for students’ needs,” she said. “Our store is there for the students.”

Kyoto Now! and NYSERDA have been planning this program since last April, according to Abigail Krich ’03, president of Kyoto Now!.

The idea for the program came to Krich as she listened to Rick Gerardi, director of the residential energy affordability program for NYSERDA, give a presentation in her City and Regional Planning energy and design seminar. After he described the trade-in program and said NYSERDA was interested in launching a university pilot program, Krich volunteered to organize a pilot at Cornell.

Krich believes this program provides a valuable opportunity for students to save energy.

“We’re focused on our classes and we aren’t really focused on our electric bills,” she said. “I think this is a great way to [lower them.]”

Students seemed supportive of the trade-in, although some had not known about it.

Although he had not heard of the program previously, Roberto Ko grad said he would consider trading in his halogen lamp.

“If it’s promoting more energy efficient lamps that are safe, I’m all for it,” he said.

Some students who supported the program expressed concerns about the safety of halogen lamps.

“[Trading in lamps] seems like a good idea; not to burn my room down,” said Steve Clancy ’04.

Conservation issues ranked high on reasons for supporting the program for Greens member Dana Perls ’03.

“I think it’s a wonderful way to save money, save energy and personally participate in conserving the environment,” she said. “I think that the University should really promote it and use it as an opportunity to be consistent with their statements on the environment.”

The program is being sponsored by Kyoto Now!, Campus Life, Cornell Grounds Department, NYSERDA and the Student Assembly Finance Committee.

Archived article by Shannon Brescher