Sunday, January 23, 2011


High school students traveled the East Side on Saturday, switching out porch lights and educating residents about energy efficiency.

Groundwork Colorado hosted Pueblo's first Porch Bulb Community Outreach Event as part of the Take Charge program funded by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. As many as 40 students from Districts 60 and 70 high schools participated, earning community service credit required by school programs.

As part of Saturday’s event, students first learned about energy efficiency at a morning presentation by Stephanie Fry, program manager for Take Charge. “Just little behavioral changes can make a big difference,” Fry said. “It’s the easiest most cost-efficient thing we can do,” she said, referring to switching to compact fluorescent bulbs.

Black Hills Energy supplied the bulbs, snacks and pizzas for lunch.

Many of the students who participated are involved in Key Club or Upward Bound programs, which require a certain amount of community service hours.

Emily Haver, 18, a senior at South High School, said she is highly involved in Key Club and proud that her club was asked to participate.

Janie Yarberry, 17, a junior at East High School, said that as an Upward Bound student with Pueblo Community College, she is required to choose community service projects to volunteer with every month and Porch Bulb Community Outreach was only one of the many she has chosen.

After a brief training session, students were sent with clipboards, informational brochures and energy-efficient light bulbs on routes along 8th Street to 13th Street of Pueblo’s East Side. They gave brochures on energy efficiency and recycling to residents and offered to switch out homeowners’ porch lights with a compact 13-watt fluorescent bulb, equivalent to a regular 60-watt fluorescent bulb.

Employees of Black Hills Energy and adult volunteers assisted students with questions and concerns of the home owners.

Black Hills Energy offers compact fluorescent bulbs with an attached mail-in rebate at most major retail stores, such as Walmart, Home Depot, and Sam’s Club, said Dan Smith, director of Economic Development and Customer Relations for Black Hills Energy.

Although this is the first Porch Bulb event for Pueblo, the Take Charge program has successfully held this event in parts of Denver and the surrounding communities. Groundwork has now expanded their efforts to all of Colorado, thanks to receiving a grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

To learn more about Groundwork visit their website:

Credit: Brittney Whatley - Pueblo Chieftan


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