Calgary Tower gets full green bulb treatment



If the Calgary Tower is glowing green next week, don’t think leprechauns, think light bulbs.

This Friday, contractors will be walking the catwalk on the exterior of the tower, switching out approximately 210 lights for green-coloured CFL bulbs.

St. Patrick would be proud, but his holiday is not the reason One Change, the environmental non-profit organization, along with 2,000 volunteers and supporters from across the province will be celebrating the official light-up on Sunday.

The celebration is happening in lieu of the completion of One Change’s Project Porchlight, which saw 4,000 volunteers delivering 800,000 free CFL bulbs to Albertans over the past two years.

“It’s mostly a symbolic gesture,” said Manon Croteau, communications and outreach manager with One Change.

“We’ve had so much incredible support in Alberta.”

The green lights will be installed and tested on Friday, but officially set aglow at the top of the tower on Sunday evening.

After a week, regular white CFLs will take their place, saving the Calgary Tower a pot of gold worth about $12,000 and sparing the atmosphere 104 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Although Project Porchlight operates in Ontario, Yukon, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Vermont and New Jersey, Croteau said Calgary’s is the biggest celebration to date.

“The tower for us was sort of a beacon,” she said.

Environment Minister Rob Renner and Ward 11 alderman Brian Pincott will be among the 2,000 guests invited to the wrap-up event, which will be taking place at the TELUS Convention Centre from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Actress Meg Ruffman will be emceeing the event and country music stars Emerson Drive will be performing.

Approximately one year ago, the main ring of exterior lights on the tower were switched from incandescent lights to CFL bulbs. Come Friday, the two rings at the tower’s crown will change as well.

Grady Semmens, spokesman for the Sierra Club Chinook Group, hopes Project Porchlight will lead to larger lifestyle changes.

He said changing a light bulb is one thing, but choosing public transit and pressuring local government to reduce development in the oilsands are bigger steps.

“Those are very, very huge problems that the average person needs to start thinking about,” said Semmens.


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March 20, 2009 - 10:08 AM
 The green needs to go, when's it changing back to white? I can see Rough Rider Fans having a hay day. BTW, why not use colour changing LED lights? That way you could change the colours to go with events. Green for St. Patrick's Day, Red for Canada Day, even Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. The technology exists, and LEDs are a very energy efficient alternative as well.
March 19, 2009 - 2:55 AM
 I don't like the green lights, If they are changing back to white lights that seems like a waste if you ask me.... They should do changing color lights on the tower like the stratosphere in las vegas or the CN Tower. I've always thought the tower looks like a lady wearing a hat with a pearl necklace
March 18, 2009 - 1:13 AM
 You have to applaud the people behind the cFL bulbs. It's a brilliant idea. Use something everybody has, needs, and uses everyday that costs almost nothing. Corner the market, and then raise the price. If you are involved in government, pass some legislation forcing everyone to use your product. Then cash in. But you need a hook that everyone will bite so all this goes unnoticed. Using something we all care about and are concerned about is pure genius. The environment. Who really wants us to run out of clean water or rid the world of trees and forests. Hats off!
March 13, 2009 - 10:01 PM
 I love the green it looks great! I think it's unfortunate that they will be switching back to white in a week, the green is beautiful and eye catching!
March 12, 2009 - 5:15 PM
 If they want to go around changing light bulbs, that's fine (but silly), but please quit nattering about "green house gas" and "global warming." The case for all of that has fallen apart. People need to stand up, acknowledge that they were suckered, and move on.
March 11, 2009 - 8:59 PM
 Bill and Larry, I agree 100%. I don't like this technology....there must be better options, like LED. I wouldn't put these in my house. In a cold climate the extra heat from Incandescent is useful anyway.
Susan Blissett
March 11, 2009 - 8:45 PM
 Why are they wasting money on the green bulbs. Money spent installing them and then changing back to white ones in a space of a week. Haven`t they got anything better to spend the money on.
March 11, 2009 - 7:33 PM
 How do these people feel about the large amount of mercury that is in the CFL bulbs? How does one off set this?
March 11, 2009 - 7:08 PM
 cfl's, why not go the extra mile and install LED lighting. It's already the next thing- more efficient, longer lasting, no mercury. Heck you could cover the top of the tower with them and sell advertising. Stop listening to David Suzuki! He knows less about climate change than he thinks. Actually, I think he just likes the sound of his own voice so much so, that he's a major contributor!
March 11, 2009 - 6:31 PM
 Erin Go Bragh !
March 11, 2009 - 6:15 PM
 I like the concept of using the Calgary Tower. We still have far too many wasteful garbage-strewing spoiled and arrogant, immature and ignorant people here that take their atv's out and destroy the province piecemeal. Anything we do to try to help the environment is a good thing. Any gains are substantial. To root out the ignorant and selfish is a good start too - before this province becomes a wasteland - our water is on the endangered list already. What will happen to us all then. We're soiling our own nest and have no one to blame but ourselves.
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