[media-credit name=”McClatchy Tribune” align=”alignnone” width=”197″][/media-credit]The founders of the Weber State University Environmental Club were trying to find a way to get energy-efficient light bulbs out into the community, and they found it. Every Friday, the club has a light-bulb exchange table in the Shepherd Union Atrium.
The light-bulb exchange allows students to take their incandescent light bulbs and exchange them for either CFL or LED, which are both better for the environment. The Environmental Club uses the funds they receive from the Community Involvement Center and the budget they are given so they can exchange the incandescent bulbs for the CFL bulbs for free. The LED bulbs are $5, because they are expensive in the stores.
“A lot of people don’t even know that the Environmental Club exists,” said Leroy Christensen, club president. “By having a banner up and assisting people in saving energy, we put a face on the Environmental Club.”
The Environmental Club is often known as ‘the people who do the light-bulb exchange,’ because they have been doing it for years.
“We’re just keeping the tradition going,” Christensen said.
The reason the Environmental Club wants students to trade in their incandescent bulbs is because they are worse for the environment. Incandescent bulbs work by using energy to heat up a small wire within the bulb and emitting light.
“It’s dirty and it’s cheap,” Christensen said. “They’re not efficient at all.”
Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs have gas inside them instead of the wire. When electricity goes through the light bulb, the gas creates ultraviolet light, which causes the fluorescent coating on the inside of the bulb to emit light.
“They emit as much light as a 60-watt incandescent, but they only use 14 watts,” Christensen said, “and that is a huge step. If everyone had these light bulbs in their houses, it would save them tons of money.”
The Light-Emitting Diode is the newest and most environmentally friendly of the three. Instead of having a wire inside them, LEDs have a semiconductor which, when electricity runs across it, emits light. This year is the first time the Environmental Club has had the LED bulbs to buy at a discounted price.
“We are the catalyst to get them into the community,” Christensen said.
Switching from incandescent to LED light bulbs can save students money in the long run. Incandescent light bulbs use more energy, which costs more. Plus, the other light bulbs last longer than the incandescent ones, according to Christensen.
Utah is the sixth-most polluted state in the country, which is often blamed on the environment. Christensen said he believes the policies in Utah need to compensate for the Utah environment, instead of the state just giving up because of it. Changing light bulbs leads to using less coal to create the energy needed to power the light bulbs. When less coal is used, Utah has cleaner air.
Currently, the club is looking for a place to recycle the light bulbs. They have a giant garbage bag full of exchanged incandescent bulbs. They have been unable to find a place to recycle these light bulbs because people typically just throw them in the trash, which is something the club does not want to do.
“It’s (using energy-efficient bulbs) a very convenient way to have a positive impact on the environment,” Christensen said.