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Replacement lights claimed fast at Utilities event

By: KRISTINA IODICE
December 1, 2012
0
photo - Doug Bursnall throws a large strand of Christmas lights into a dumpster behind the Colorado Springs Utilities building on Saturday. Residents could trade in their old Christmas lights for more efficient LED lights in the giveaway on Saturday morning. Nearly 1,500 strands were exchanged. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette
Doug Bursnall throws a large strand of Christmas lights into a dumpster behind the Colorado Springs Utilities building on Saturday. Residents could trade in their old Christmas lights for more efficient LED lights in the giveaway on Saturday morning. Nearly 1,500 strands were exchanged. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette 

The Colorado Springs Utilities holiday light exchange and open house keeps growing, but still can’t keep up with demand.

About 1,500 strings of LED lights and 10,000 CFL bulbs were handed out during the annual event Saturday at the Conservation and Environmental Center on Mesa Road.

“People were in line before 7 a.m.,” said Nikki Richardson, Utilities spokeswoman.

Customers could exchange two old holiday light strands for two money-saving LED strands. They could also exchange up to 16 light bulbs for CFLs.

Holiday lights were gone by 9:30 a.m., and the supply of CFLs lasted until 11 a.m., she said.

Utilities brought more lights to give away this year, but ran out of them in record time, said, Doug Bursnall, energy conservation specialist with Utilities.

The holiday lights turned in Saturday will be recycled, and the money from stripping the copper out will benefit Project COPE, a utilities assistance program.

LED lights use 75 percent to 90 percent less energy than traditional bulbs, he said. They are also a lot cooler, which cuts down on fire risks.

LED lights are more expensive, but people can replace them a little at a time, Bursnall said. Energy savings usually covers the increase in start-up costs in a few years.

People still dropped off old strings in the hours after free replacement lights ran out.

“A lot of people wanted to recycle them responsibly,” Bursnall said.

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