Published on: Saturday, July 2, 2016 Takoma Park Newsletter

Takoma Park Boy Scouts complete “Project Porch Light”

By Sebastian Goldberg

Editor’s Note: Takoma Park is one of 50 communities competing in the Georgetown University Energy Prize Competition. Sebastian’s project, named “Project Porch Light,” helps Takoma Park’s entry in the contest because the goal is to have the most energy savings, and replacing light bulbs with more efficient ones will save a lot of energy.

On a Sunday April 17, teams of boy scouts from Troop 33, based in Takoma Park, fanned out across Takoma Park on a mission to replace light bulbs of Takoma Park residents with more efficient LED bulbs. They were working with me on my Eagle Scout project. I wanted to find a project that helped out the City, and I have always enjoyed doing things for the environment.

I read about Georgetown University Energy Prize Competition the newspaper, so I asked Takoma Park Sustainability Manager Gina Mathias if there was anything I could do to help. She suggested the project because she was looking for someone to replace porch lights. People often leave them on all night, which wastes energy, so by switching to LED bulbs, lots of energy can be saved.

To identify houses that needed LED bulbs, initially I signed people up at the Takoma Park farmers market until I had almost all of the houses needed to complete project. However, I did not get all of the participants at the farmer’s market, so we had to go door-to-door to recruit more participants.

LED bulbs are the most efficient commercial light bulbs and are 40 percent more efficient than compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and use about a sixth of the energy of traditional incandescent bulbs. In addition to being more efficient, LED bulbs last much longer. While a CFL bulb might last 10,000 hours, the LED can last 50,000 hours, which can be almost thirty years if not constantly in use.

The project replaced over 100 light bulbs in Takoma Park where 57 houses had their outdoor lights replaced with new LED bulbs. While the final installation took place in just one day, the project had been in the works since January, including numerous meetings between me and Bryant Martinez, the Takoma Park sustainability assistant working with Gina Mathias. Martinez provided support and helped coordinate my efforts, including ordering the replacement bulbs requested by Takoma Park residents, which were funded by the Takoma Park Public Works Department as part of the City’s energy conservation efforts.

Now that the project is completed, the new LED bulbs will produce an estimated energy savings of 10,500 kilowatt hours annually. These saving will help improve the City’s standing in Georgetown contest. Overall the project went well, and we all hope that City of Takoma Park wins the Georgetown contest.

This article appeared in the July 2016 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.