Paresh Trivedi (pictured here, left) , a resident of Randolph, New Jersey, emigrated to the United States 17 years ago from Gujarat, India, in search of a better life. It is not extraordinary that Paresh has indeed found a better life–millions of immigrants have shared that experience. What’s remarkable about Paresh is how much he has, in turn, given back to his community here.
Paresh works as a pipeline safety engineer for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), and energy conservation has long been one of his passions. For the past 5 years, he has served as a volunteer lecturer on energy efficiency for the BPU. “I was one of their best lecturers they had,” he says proudly.
Early this summer, he saw a television commercial about Project Porchlight’s campaign to distribute energy-efficient light bulbs to residents across the state. Paresh immediately visited Project Porchlight’s website and signed on to volunteer. He met with Project Porchlight Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Jill Zajac, and together they made a presentation at the Second Innings, a senior citizen’s center in Whippany. Many of the seniors who utilize Second Innings are from India. As Jill spoke to them about energy efficiency, Paresh translated into Hindi.
Since then, Paresh and his 24-year-old son Soham (pictured here, right)–currently on summer break from his studies at the College of New Jersey–have been volunteering as a team. They have joined a number of Indian festivals and picnics around New Jersey to educate folks about the energy savings offered by compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs as well as the energy efficiency programs that are available through New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program (NJCEP). They also helped distribute a huge number of CFL bulbs—2,000!–at the India Day Festival on August 14 in Jersey City.
All together, so far Paresh and Soham have distributed an astonishing 3,200 CFL bulbs for Project Porchlight. Project Porchlight is an initiative of One Change, and the campaign is made possible thanks to funding by the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and the NJCEP.
“Project Porchlight is a great program,” says Paresh. “Ultimately, we have a responsibility to take care of global warming. We have an obligation to reduce our energy consumption so there’s less pollution and less greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Also, I’m enjoying the time with the people and doing good work for our community and our state.”
CFL bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. Choosing CFL bulbs means lower costs, reduced demand for electricity, and, ultimately, less pollution.
“Really, it is simple. It’s a no-brainer. People just replace the light bulbs, and they will start saving energy and money,” says Paresh. “We should not lose this opportunity.”
Paresh is right—this really is simple! When it comes to protecting our environment, simple actions really do matter–even something as simple as changing a light bulb can make a difference. By connecting with state residents one at a time, Project Porchlight is empowering people of all backgrounds to make smart, energy-efficient choices that protect the environment.
“If people use the CFL bulbs, they save a lot of energy and become happier and smarter consumers of energy,” says Soham. “This really is a great campaign. I see a lot of progress in it.”