Blue Planet Foundation donates up to 90,000 CFL bulbs to make Molokai a model for energy reduction

Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs, or CFLs, are coming to Molokai this month in a big way.

13-watt CFLs like this will be distributed for free in exchange for each incandescent bulb turned in across Molokai.

The Blue Planet Foundation has committed to bringing up to 90,000 CFL bulbs over here so that 100 percent of Molokai households can use these energy and cost saving bulbs.

At this time 44,000 CFLs have been ordered and should arrive on Molokai by March 24, according to Francois Rogers, special projects director for the Blue Planet Foundation.

Once here, it will be up to teachers and students at seven different schools around Molokai to distribute these bulbs. For every standard incandescent bulb that is turned in, a 13-watt CFL will be handed out. These bulbs are the equivalent of a 60-watt standard bulb and have an Energy Star-rated output of 900 lumens and an estimated lifespan of nine years.

To involve the whole island, a local educational outreach program known as the “Go green and carbon clean” is conducting a survey about the CFL lightbulb project. The local schools and the 21st Century Community Learning Center have partnered with the Blue Planet Foundation to educate the Molokai community about the negative effects of carbon emissions on the environment. The project encourages energy efficiency among community members to reduce our dependence on oil for energy.

On Oahu, the cost savings for replacing a lightbulb with a CFL is estimated at $100 over the life of the bulb, according to Rogers. On Molokai, with the higher cost of electricity, this savings is estimated at $200 per bulb and could be higher as the cost of fuel rises. Calculated over 90,000 lightbulbs, the savings for Molokai could be upward of $15 million, said Rogers. The estimate of 90,000 came from multiplying 3,000 households times 30 bulbs per home.

Rogers hopes this effort makes Molokai a model for island-wide energy reduction and will inspire others to follow our example.

The Blue Planet Foundation will cover the cost for the CFL bulbs, which it purchases directly from the manufacturer for less than one dollar per bulb.