Going green: UC Merced student group spotlights energy efficiency

Club starts getting work done at rescue mission.

November 11, 2010 

How many UC Merced students does it take to install a light bulb?

About 40 if they're installing several compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), an energy-efficient alternative to incandescent light bulbs.

That's how many students were part of a new student group, the UC Merced Energy Service Corps, a partnership between Americorps and the California Public Interest Research Group (CalPIRG).

As part of the club's official launch, students made the Merced County Rescue Mission more energy-efficient by weatherizing all windows and replacing all light bulbs with CFLs.

The group has sprouted at 16 other college campuses throughout the state, according to Sarah Lee, a representative from CalPIRG, who attended the event.

Javier Sanchez, 19, said he got involved with the club because UC Merced's goal is to go green, so why not extend that to the rest of the community?

The statewide goal for all the groups is to educate 30,000 people about energy efficiency and conduct 4,000 energy surveys, such as the one being performed at the Merced County Rescue Mission.

Danyall Abbasi, president of UC Merced Energy Service Corps, said the club's plan is to weatherize 250 buildings in the city and educate 2,000 K-12 students.

The group raised $130 to buy the necessary equipment for the weatherization, which included 72 light bulbs, weather stripping and caulk.

Nancy Brawley, chair of the Merced County Rescue Mission, said she was impressed with the turnout.

"I'm thrilled to know what's in your hearts," she said.

And there was light -- energy-efficient light.

Reporter Jamie Oppenheim can be reached at (209)385-2407 or joppenheim@mercedsun-star.com.

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