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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2005

Governor Blagojevich proclaims ENERGY STAR: Change a Light, Change the World Day in Illinois
Governor encourages Illinoisans to switch to energy-efficient lighting to save money and conserve energy

CHICAGO – In an effort to help Illinoisans conserve energy, save money, and reduce greenhouse emissions, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today proclaimed Wednesday October 5th as ENERGY STAR Change a Light, Change the World Day, with a pledge to change one light at home to an energy-efficient model.
 
“Lighting accounts for nearly 20 percent of the electricity we use at home,” said Governor Blagojevich. “Switching to energy – efficient lighting is an easy step we can take to make a difference for our energy resources and our environment, while saving money on energy bills today. I am urging all Illinoisans to take the ENERGY STAR Change a Light Pledge with me.”
 
If every household in Illinois pledges to replace one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR certified compact fluorescent bulb, the change would save more than $31 million in energy costs and prevent more than 513 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to taking nearly 47,000 cars off the road.
 
Illinois residents can take the Pledge at energystar.gov/changealight.  Citizens are encouraged to switch to light fixtures or bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR label, which designates products that prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency criteria set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy.
 
Qualifying, energy –efficient light bulbs use two- thirds less energy than standard bulbs and last six to ten times longer.
 
Governor Blagojevich is joining with the federal government and 24 other governors across the country to celebrate ENERGY STAR Change a Light, Change the World Day and bring attention to the importance of using energy wisely at home.
 
This commemorative day is the official kickoff of the national Change a Light, Change the World educational campaign, led by the federal government. The campaign encourages Americans to take a simple action to help preserve our energy resources and protect our environment- to switch to energy – efficient lighting. The national educational campaign is run in partnership with hundreds of retail stores, manufacturers, energy efficiency organizations, and State governments. The campaign takes place each October, during Energy Awareness Month, and around the transition to Daylight Saving Time.
 
Illinois residents who take the ENERGY STAR Pledge will have access to special promotions being offered by ENERGY STAR partners, including:
  • 2 for 1 coupon toward the purchase of ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs (from GE, good only at Wal*Mart, limited quantities),
  • Sweepstakes to win energy bill paid for a year and more (from The Home Depot and manufacturer Commercial Electric),
  • Several national deals on ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures (from Seagull Lighting, Inc. and Progress Lighting).
 
The ENERGY STAR proclamation builds on the governor’s continuing effort to bring down the costs of energy for consumers in Illinois: 
 
·          Last week, Governor Blagojevich and 27 other governors from across the country sent a letter to U.S. Congressional Leadership and House Appropriations Leaders urging them to include $1.276 billion in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds in the next supplemental funding request as part of our nation’s response to Hurricane Katrina.
 
·          Last month, the Governor appointed a Special Director of Emergency Energy Assistance to marshal resources from the public and private sectors and to coordinate assistance to vulnerable populations impacted by record-high heating costs.  The Special Director will launch an awareness campaign to notify the public about how to stay warm and healthy during the coldest months and measures they can take to make their homes energy efficient and reduce heating costs.  The Special Director will work with utilities, the Illinois Commerce Commission and other state agencies to ensure the public’s best interest is protected this winter.  Gov. Blagojevich encourages all households to act now to prepare for this winter by improving the energy efficiency of their homes.  Energy-saving tips include:
 
  1. Get heating equipment tuned up for winter to make sure it’s performing well.
  2. Replace air filters regularly in heating equipment.
  3. Make sure you have sufficient insulation.
  4. Use caulk and weatherstriping to seal up air leaks in attic, basement, around doors and windows because even small air leaks lead to large energy bills.
  5. Set your thermostat comfortably low in the winter. Install a programmable thermostat that is compatible with your heating system. A programmable thermostat ensures that you are not using too much energy while sleeping or away for the day
  6. Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120° F.
  7. Look for energy efficient ENERGY STAR products – remember energy efficiency is about doing the same or more while using less energy (not about sacrifice).
 
·          The Governor also called on the Illinois utility companies to help maximize the effectiveness of LIHEAP by waiving administrative re-connection fees and security deposits for LIHEAP customers.  In the past, LIHEAP funds have been used first to cover utilities’ administrative re-connection fees and security deposits, which can cost more than $400.  The Governor asked utilities to waive such fees so that grant funds go directly to cover actual usage charges, allowing the state to help more households cover heating costs. 
 


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