Law Students Launch Lightbulb Exchange

Will Provide Up to 50,000 Free Energy-Efficient Bulbs To Students, Faculty, Staff;
Then Pile Old Bulbs Up In Front of Low Library to Recycle on Earth Day April 22
April 14, 2008 (NEW YORK) – Columbia Law School students are leading an effort to get fellow students, faculty and staff across Columbia University to exchange up to 50,000 traditional incandescent lightbulbs with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs to use in their desk lamps, dorm rooms and apartments.
The Student Lightbulb Brigade Project aims to reduce the collective carbon footprint of the Columbia University community by providing the more efficient CFL bulbs. Exchanges will be made from April 14 to 21 at various locations through Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus, as well as at Columbia University Medical Center.
The exchange will culminate in an event on Earth Day, April 22, when the traditional bulbs that have been collected will be displayed in a large pile in front of Low Library, before being recycled.
Law School students, faculty and staff can exchange their old bulbs for the CFL bulbs on April 14-18 and April 21 in the lobby of Jerome Greene Hall. For exact times, click here. Pick-up times and locations will vary at other schools on the Columbia campuses.
The Law School’s Environmental Law Society is heading up the university-wide project, and will concurrently engage in an information campaign by disseminating recommendations on reducing energy consumption.
“One of the most pressing challenges for environmental advocates is to make it easier for each of us to make environmentally responsible choices; the Lightbulb Brigade does just that,” said Robert Weinstock, President of the Law School’s Environmental Law Society.
“The Lightbulb Brigade Project is an important endeavor for a large and decentralized energy consumer like a university because it’s critical to take the small individual steps that, when aggregated, make a massive difference in terms of Columbia's overall carbon footprint,” Weinstock said.
The life span of a 27-watt compact fluorescent bulb saves more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere when compared with a 100-watt incandescent bulb. For more on energy efficiency and light bulbs, click here.
The Student Lightbulb Brigade Project is funded through a donation by the Goldring Family Foundation and Gary F. Goldring ’82. Wal-Mart and General Electric are also sponsors. The Goldring Family Foundation wants Columbia’s efforts to initiate a nationwide effort on university and college campuses.
Over the past 15 years, Columbia University has replaced virtually all incandescent bulbs in undergraduate residence halls and academic buildings with more efficient, longer-lasting fluorescent bulbs. The University has also committed to reduce by 30 percent its overall greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2017, said Nilda Mesa, Columbia’s Director of Environmental Stewardship. 
In addition, on the Morningside campus, lighting controls include timers in most academic spaces to prevent lights from being left on overnight. The University is also moving to occupancy sensors, an even newer, more-sophisticated type of lighting control, on new construction projects. Energy and environmental projects are coordinated through the University’s Office of Environmental Stewardship.
Last year, Columbia University took another major step in its commitment to environmental stewardship by enrolling in the electric demand response program “Operation Save New York.” Through the program, Columbia will conserve electricity in certain areas of its operations when there is an electric shortage in New York State.
The lightbulb exchange mirrors another Columbia program, called Cool Columbia, a partnership with the Sierra Club to encourage people to take steps to become more energy-efficient, including a swap of incandescent bulbs for CFL bulbs in off-campus residential housing. More information on that program is at
The Environmental Law Society at Columbia Law School is a student-run organization that hosts speakers who discuss environmental law issues and careers, and is part of a robust collection of programs that focus on environmental law. The Law School also has an Environmental Law Clinic, directed by Prof. Edward Lloyd.
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, and criminal law.