EPA’s Green Lights program was officially launched on January 16, 1991 to prevent pollution by encouraging organizations to use energy-efficient lighting technologies in their offices, factories, stores, and warehouses. The Green Lights program offers a substantial opportunity to organizations to prevent pollution and to do so at a profit. If energy-efficient lighting were used wherever profitable, the nation’s demand for electricity would be cut by more than 10%, leading to 4% to 7% reductions in total emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. In terms of carbon dioxide, EPA finds that this reduction in emissions would be the equivalent of removing 44 million cars from the road!
The Green Lights program is strictly voluntary. Upon becoming a participant in the Green Lights program, the involved organization signs a Memorandum of Understanding with EPA. Then the participant must survey the lighting in all of its U.S. facilities and install energy-efficient lighting systems in 90% of their facilities nationwide over a five-year period, where it is profitable and lighting quality is maintained or improved. EPA, in turn, assists the participating organization throughout the retrofit process, providing lists of manufacturers, lighting management companies, and utilities, (all considered "Allies") who produce lighting products and provide efficient lighting services. EPA also provides participants with a computer software program called the Decision Support System that allows corporations to survey lighting systems in their facilities, assess their options, and select the best energy-efficient lighting upgrades which maximize energy savings and are profitable.
By October 31, 1992, 668 organizations had signed Memoranda of Understanding with EPA. These program participants own or lease 3 billion square feet of facility space, which is almost 4% of the national total, equivalent to all of the office space in New York, Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, and Houston combined!
The Green Lights Program operated in FY 1991 with only 2 full-time staff members and a budget of $1.4 million. In 1992 the program grew, starting the fiscal year with a full-time staff of 3 and finishing the year with a staff of 10. The FY 1992 budget was almost $3 million, providing for support such as the Hotline service, recruiting support, technical analysis, and software creation. These expenses have leveraged tremendous savings. Completed Green Lights upgrades as of October 31, 1992 account for annual energy savings of 102.1 GWh and connected load electricity savings of 35.5 MW. Participants’ annual electric bills have been reduced by almost $7 million as the average electricity reduction for lighting for Green Lights participants was 52%. These results only reflect the first year accomplishments of participants who joined through October 1991. Energy savings will grow rapidly as more participants send in their first anniversary report and especially as participants reach their second through fifth anniversaries.
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