A new initiative is making its way through Montgomery County and it is called Project Porchlight.
First known as the Porch Bulb Project, it took place in Colorado in 2008, where neighborhood activists Kevin Suchlicki and Sue Okerson did something simple but concrete: they went door-to-door offering to swap out incandescent front porch light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs for free.
Since lighting accounts for around 12% of an average home’s electricity use, residents can save about $225 in energy costs per year by switching to LEDs. Because the porch is often the entryway into the home, we decided to use this as the first point of contact to reach residents to talk about using less energy.
In November 2022, the Montgomery Energy Connection program took to the streets to pilot Project Porchlight in Manor Lake, Rockville. For this first pilot, we chose Manor Lake Civic Association. Located in the County, this small community consists of 392 households, has a mission is to promote a sense of community in Manor Lake through a variety of events and projects, and their board works to improve the community each year, bring neighbors together, and maintain the safety and quality of our neighborhood. We figured this would be a good sized neighborhood to begin this project.
For this program, we partnered with the Latin American Youth Center and trained two students, Arjun and Keiyon on door-to door outreach and taught them how to safely swap old incandescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs to LEDs. They installed the new light bulbs during the day between 10:00 am – 2:00 pm in the afternoon. If residents were not home, they received a reusable shopping bag filled with with this bilingual Project Porchlight information sheet and LEDs for them to replace their bulbs on their own.
This is also a big opportunity to get recycle CFLs the right way – if you have any of these bulbs at home, please make sure to recycle right, CFLs use one-third of the electricity, and last up to 10 times longer, than incandescent light bulbs. CFLs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and reduce electricity bills—while lessening carbon footprints—but they should not be thrown into the trash.
Please DO NOT throw them in the trash. Nationwide, over 670 million mercury-containing bulbs are discarded improperly each year. In Montgomery County most of these bulbs are ultimately land filled or incinerated. These disposal methods can lead to a release of mercury into the environment through breakage and leakage and ultimately contaminate the food chain.
If your neighborhood or community association is interested in having Project Porchlight come to you, please email email@example.com