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In 1970, Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson led the effort to designate April 22 as a national day for the environment. Earth Day is still going strong more than 40 years later, with an emphasis in recent years on using clean energy.

Cuba City Municipal Utility’s customers can take pride in the fact that every day, we get nearly 40% of our electricity from carbon-free resources. “Carbon-free” means that no greenhouse gases or air pollutants are emitted as a result of generating the electricity. We’ve been able to meet this goal by working together with 50 other locally owned utilities through WPPI Energy, our not-for-profit power supplier.

Through WPPI Energy, we’re also able to offer our customers the option of going one step further to reduce our dependence on energy generated from fossil fuels. Residents and businesses can purchase “blocks” of power from wind, solar and biogas resources.

Using “green power” and reducing energy waste through efficiency efforts will help electric utilities like ours delay making costly investments in coal- and natural gas-burning power plants. This, in turn, reduces our impact on the environment, creates jobs and helps keep electric rates manageable for the long term.

This Earth Day, consider using more renewable energy. A household that purchases just one renewable energy “block” reduces emissions by the same amount as not driving a car for six months. It’s an easy way to make a difference every day, right here in Cuba City.

Learn more about our Renewable Energy Program for residential customers and our Green Power for Business program.

Many Americans may not have even noticed the phase-out of older, less efficient light bulbs that began in 2012. The new versions – with output measured in lumens – use 25% to 80% less energy.

The savings adds up: by replacing 15 older incandescent bulbs, the average household will spend about $50 less on electricity per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Households that want to eliminate incandescent-style bulbs entirely have other options.

First, there’s the twisty compact fluorescent, or CFL. Each bulb costs $4 or less and lasts eight to 10 years. They’re available in a spectrum of light colors, for many different purposes. Because they contain small amounts of mercury, they must be recycled.

Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are also becoming more widely available and prices are gradually declining. Good-quality LED bulbs can last 25,000 hours – more than 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs. That is a life of more than three years if run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

More information on energy-efficient lighting is available on the DOE website.