Energy independence day

Asheville City Council member Brownie Newman, who is currently running for reelection, is utilizing a creative and public-spirited campaign tactic — he’s giving away light bulbs. Not just any old light bulbs, and not just a few of them. Over the course of his campaign he plans to distribute 2,500 compact fluorescent bulbs, 2,000 of them on one day alone. On Saturday, Sept. 15, 50 volunteers plan to each visit 40 homes to deliver the energy-saving bulbs (and a campaign message).

“Over the life of these bulbs, they will reduce energy use and pollution,” Newman says. “More than 1 million pounds of carbon will be kept out of the atmosphere and they will save Asheville families a total of $180,000 in utility bills.”

— Cecil Bothwell, staff writer


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About Cecil Bothwell
A writer for Mountain Xpress since three years before there WAS an MX--back in the days of GreenLine. Former managing editor of the paper, founding editor of the Warren Wilson College environmental journal, Heartstone, member of the national editorial board of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, publisher of Brave Ulysses Books, radio host of "Blows Against the Empire" on WPVM-LP 103.5 FM, co-author of the best selling guide Finding your way in Asheville. Lives with three cats, macs and cacti. His other car is a canoe. Paints, plays music and for the past five years has been researching and soon to publish a critical biography--Billy Graham: Prince of War:

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14 thoughts on “Energy independence day

  1. Stewart David

    The Live Earth Concerts in July had an official companion book, “The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook: 77 Essential Skills to Stop Climate Change—Or Live Through It.” The book notes that “refusing meat” is “the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.”

    I comment Brownie and his volunteers for their work and dedication. But isn’t it time that the discussion moves beyond light bulbs?

    For more info, visit

  2. soja

    i heard that self-righteous vegetarians are the second biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, after hybrid car factories.

    all the hot air from their mouths heating up the atmosphere.

    for more info, visit

  3. Epic

    The tiny battery in your wrist watch could have many times more mercury than a CFL bulb. Has that kept you from wearing it?

  4. sonjia

    you know, those lightbulbs are actually incredibly inefficient if not used properly. and, as pointed out above, contain mercury, not exactly an environmentally friendly substance.
    unless you are a thermometer, i suppose.
    they require a long time to warm up and are only practical for area where the lights stay on for a long time, such as offices, front porches all night, etc. for kitchens, living rooms, etc, they dont really save very much electricity, and in some cases, use more than a ‘conventional’ one.
    and i am curious to know where mr newman obtained the 2,500 light bulbs. did he purchase them? is he being ‘sponsored’ by a lightbulb company?

  5. soja

    i dont wear a watch. and nobody tried to claim a watch was ‘environmentally friendly”

  6. plan b

    sonji, you seem to be misinformed.
    CF light bulbs only use more energy than incandescent bulbs in the first 0.3 seconds of operation. I’d be interested if you have any data otherwise, and how you use one inefficiently, other than leaving it on.
    Most CF bulbs use around 12 watts of electricity to produce 800 lumens of light. Incandescent bulbs use 60 watts. That’s one reason they burn you, the heat is wasted energy.
    I haven’t seen any CF bulbs that require more than a second of “warm up” time. Perhaps you are confusing them with something else.
    The lack of warm-up time in many household appliances, like your TV, requires constant energy use even when not turned on. It’s just wasted for your convenience.
    As for the mercury, are people actually arguing that using 80% more energy is better?
    I would vote for Newman if he was installing skylights and light tubes in people’s houses. Buying bulbs is a little weak on effort.

  7. Cecil Bothwell

    All Buncombe County fire departments now accept used CFLs for safe disposal, a service that should help keep mercury out of the landfill and water table.

  8. I don’t see any other “green” candidates making any better efforts in trying to 1) show how much they care about the local environment and community pocket-book or 2) getting out in the streets to inform people about green issues.
    Yes the light-bulbs have mercury but so do our computers and watches and many other household items. All you need to do is just dispose of them properly – and as Cecil pointed out there are easy ways to do so.
    Asheville calls itself a “green” city – well this is your “green” candidate. I haven’t heard word one from any of the others running in this year’s circus. Thus I applaud Brownie in his good intentions and actions.

  9. I applaud Brownie for his snazzy ties.

    Seriously, he’s a politician. He’s not that altruistic of a person. What’s his angle here?

  10. sonjia

    noone can tell me where he gets the bulbs from?

    does that mean he is buying them himself?

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