This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 25, 2007

The Home Depot Gives Away One Million Efficient Lights on Earth Day

Photo of three sizes of compact fluorescent light bulbs that employ a twisted, compact shape.

Flowers and candy may be right for Valentine's Day, but for Earth Day, the best gift may be a compact fluorescent lamp.

The Home Depot planned to give away one million compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) on Earth Day, April 22nd. CFLs use only about a quarter of the energy used by incandescent light bulbs and can last as much as 10 times longer. The Home Depot sold more than 50 million CFLs in 2006, rivaling Wal-Mart's plans to sell 100 million CFLs this year. The company has also started installing new "Eco Options" displays that will feature CFLs and other ecologically beneficial products, having already identified 2,500 such items in its product line. The Home Depot has also begun the process of replacing the incandescent bulbs in its lighting department displays with CFL bulbs. The bulb replacement is underway at 200 stores and will be expanded to others later this year. See the Home Depot press release.

Another Earth Day celebration in the Chicago area involved handing out more than 430,000 free CFLs to visitors of Wal-Mart. On April 21st, workers for the Northern Illinois Energy Project gave two free CFLs to each customer at 19 Chicago-area Wal-Mart stores, and the handouts will continue at another 20 stores on April 28th. See the link to the press release on the Wal-Mart Web site.

While U.S. companies and organizations are offering a carrot to consumers by handing out CFLs for free, other governments are wielding a stick and planning to ban inefficient light bulbs. Ontario's Ministry of Energy plans to draft regulations that would ban the sale of inefficient lighting by 2012, except when no alternatives exist in the market. Likewise, Australia announced in February that it would take action to phase out inefficient light bulbs by 2010. But the land down under also offered a carrot on April 23rd, when the Australian government named a company to help millions of households replace their inefficient light bulbs with CFLs. See the press release from the Ontario Ministry of Energy and the press releases on the phase out (PDF 26 KB) and the assistance program (PDF 34 KB) from the Australian Minister for the Environment and Water Resources. Download Adobe Reader.