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Utility Exploration Center hosts holiday light exchange

Roseville Electric customers can trade incandescent lights for eco-friendly ones
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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The city’s holiday light exchange program was such a hit last year supplies were gone within four weeks.

“It was widely popular,” said Bob Garrison, manager of the Roseville Utility Exploration Center, which runs the program.

The center will host its second-annual light exchange this year, starting Tuesday, Nov. 1. Roseville Electric customers get one free strand of Energy Star-rated LED holiday lights for turning in one strand of incandescent lights.

Customers can exchange up to three strands, but the center will accept as many incandescent lights as people want to unload. The lights will be recycled at Sims Recycling Solutions in Roseville.

“It’s important for two reasons,” Garrison said. “It allows homeowners to have energy conservation by changing out the inefficient incandescent lights for efficient LED lights. And there’s the whole waste stream (part).”

Last year, Sims Recycling Solutions collected 1,113 pounds of incandescent holiday lights from the center, which are recycled for their copper.

Incandescent bulbs don’t contain mercury, but they use more electricity — the main source of mercury emissions in the United States — than other bulbs, according to Sims President Steve Skurnac.

Efforts are being made to phase out incandescent light bulbs for general lighting — as table lamps, car headlamps, for flashlights and Christmas lights.

About 90 percent of the power consumed by an incandescent light bulb is emitted as heat, rather than as visible light.

LED holiday lights are up to 90 percent more efficient than their incandescent counterparts, Skurnac said, which means lower electric bills for consumers.

LED lights last up to 100,000 hours, or 20 years, are constructed of hard plastic rather than glass, and produce almost no heat, reducing the fire hazard posed by incandescent lights, Skurrnac said.

If everyone switched to LED lights, holiday electricity demand could be cut by 2 billion kilowatt-hours a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“We are grateful to be a part of this program that brings environmental responsibility to the forefront of people’s minds during the holidays and offers convenient, local solutions to a global problem,” Skurnac said.

Matthew Davis, of the Utility Exploration Center, said they are stocking 25 percent more supplies than last year, when 625 customers received new lights. The center expects to have enough lights for about 800 customers this year. Only colored lights are available while supplies last.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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Roseville Utility Exploration Center
Hours:
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday
Where: 1501 Pleasant Grove Blvd.
Cost: Free
Info: Bring in a utility bill to prove Roseville residency. For more information, call (916) 746-1550 or visit www.roseville.ca.us/explore.