Our friends at Solar1 always seem to have a new project up their sleeve. From their new high-performance building model, Solar2, to their CitySol sustainability festival, it seems that all the energy Solar1 saves through their work goes into producing an absolutely electric series of projects and events.
They have a particularly strong education and outreach program, which takes a local focus, raising awareness and lightening environmental impact in New York City. The program's coordinator, Chris Neidl, recently told me about their Tru Light initiative, a student-run venture that promotes energy conservation by engaging high school students in the distribution of CFLs to New Yorkers. Tru Light team members participate in skills training at Manhattan Comprehensive High School, then go out and offer public demos around the city to help people understand the importance of energy conservation, and give them ways to take part in their own lives. Tru Light sells reduced-cost, US-manufactured CFLs at their events, as well as in high-traffic NYC hubs like Grand Central and the Empire State Building. Their website also provides a guide to local sites for safe disposal of the bulbs (which contain trace amounts of mercury).
In addition to increasing local access to energy-efficiency, Tru Light is increasing access abroad, too, but donating a percentage of the proceeds from the CFL sales to the Solar Electric Light Fund, which brings solar and communications technologies to rural areas of the developing world.