Campaign aims to turn out nonessential lights

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

From an article by Anita Weier in The Capital Times:

At the risk of being called a party pooper, a new group in town is proposing that the winter holidays be celebrated a little differently this year -- by turning out the lights.

It's a radical proposal indeed, coming at the start of the Christmas lighting season.

But Jennifer Sather, a leader of the recently formed Madison Lights Out team, says the group doesn't want to end holiday traditions, just develop some new ones.

The 17-member team, whose mission is to reduce electrical power use through community participation and "mindful living," is asking Madison homeowners to turn off nonessential lights and unplug unused electronic equipment during December and July, two months of heavy electrical use.

"The point of the holidays is to be with your family and create good memories with people you love, not to outdo your neighbors by having the biggest light display," said fellow team member Dan Agne, who works for Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp., but joined Lights Out as a private citizen. "In some neighborhoods, this has become a competitive thing."

Merely using timers for lights, so they are not shining at 2 a.m. when no one will see them, is a good step, as is installing energy-efficient LED (light emitting diode) lights, said Agne.