A Light Bulb Came On

By Marty Steinberg

A light bulb came on: it used less energy while helping to build affordable homes and it saved its purchasers a whole bunch of money. What a great idea!

The Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore sells energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) light bulbs at deeply discounted rates. While many energy-saving measures involve a high up-front cost, purchasing LED bulbs at the ReStore allows homeowners to save both energy and money right away.

During a recent 12 month period, the Asheville ReStore sold nearly 80,000 LED light bulbs. General Manager Scott Stetson estimates that customers have saved a whopping $758,325 during that one-year period by purchasing bulbs at the ReStore. “I’m proud to represent Habitat for Humanity and play a role in reducing, reusing and recycling,” Stetson said. “And this energy-saving program helps us take it to a new level.”

How many of those customers does it take to change one of those light bulbs? Just one, but she will need to do it less often because the LED bulb last fifteen times longer than the incandescent. Available at the ReStore for as little as a dollar each, the bulbs have become a popular item with ReStore shoppers.

Not all of the bulbs sold at the ReStore are 60-watt bulb equivalents. In fact, the store carries a variety of styles and wattages, including energy efficient lighting fixtures. Customers will find a large selection and great prices on all of the store’s efficient lighting products.

ReStore Processing Supervisor Eric Tamila has overseen the energy efficient lighting program since 2013 as the program has grown. “The potential for our customers to save money while saving energy is tremendous,” said Tamila. People are definitely taking advantage of it but we definitely want to continue getting the word out.”

For some, the most important savings from changing to LED light bulbs is the reduction in carbon dioxide that it takes to keep those bulbs lit. LED bulbs use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. While ReStore customers are saving money, tons of pollutants are kept from entering the atmosphere.

The brand new LED bulbs are supplied at no cost to the ReStore thanks to a program in which Duke Energy Progress pays for the light bulbs ordered by the ReStore. Duke Energy Progress customers use less energy meaning the utility may not need to add additional power generating capacity as soon as it would otherwise. Profits from the sale of energy efficient LED bulbs at the ReStore go directly to Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity to help build and repair homes in partnership with hard-working local families.

At a recent event to publicize the program, 234 ReStore customers learned about the benefits of LED light bulbs and what types of bulbs would best suit their needs and they were able to purchase the bulbs at the discounted ReStore price. Additional events will be held in the future to keep building interest in the program.

Saving time, energy and money, and helping build affordable homes: all while shopping at the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore. What a great idea!