Mr. Luna’s Bright Idea

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most powerful ideas. That’s exactly what I discovered when Ken Luna, an 8th grade science teacher in North Babylon, New York, posted a comment on my blog about his project. Here’s the idea… Mr. Luna wants Oprah to help him give every child in America (PreK-12), just one Compact Fluorescent(CFL) bulb to take home and plug into their favorite lamp. You’ve seen these bulbs at the hardware store… those curly fluorescent bulbs that twist into a normal lamp socket. Bottom line – this action could save at least $2.3 billion in electricity costs.

See the video

Okay, Mr. Luna’s Bright Idea got my attention. Visit his blog and read some of the many comments – everyone loves the idea. So I put on my reporter had and decided to find out more. We talked by phone yesterday for about 20 minutes and this guy is the real deal. He’s an 8th grade science teacher who is trying to make a difference. Ken (Mr. Luna) told me that he was at a Dave Mathews concert when he heard the song Stand Up. The lyrics kept running through his head and ultimately inspired this idea. Ken believes that this simple, inexpensive action will help fight global warming by reducing our carbon emissions from electric power plants, save Americans AT LEAST 2.3 BILLION dollars in electricity costs, and help put America on the path to environmental sustainability.

Ken’s idea is spreading like a virus. He told me that the Oprah Show has already received over a thousand emails from people who support this idea. While I agree with the notion of giving every child a CFL, the science teacher in me wants to spend some time and effort educating people about this energy saving idea. Take a look at Michael Bluejay’s website to learn more about energy terms like kilowatt hours and some basic energy calculations.

Don’t wait for Oprah to give kids a Compact Fluorescent Bulb. Make a New Year’s resolution to do it yourself. Pick up a six pack of these lights the next time you’re at the hardware store and make a project out of changing some lights at home with your children. Help Mr. Luna turn his great idea into an unforgettable teaching moment.

27 replies
  1. michelle white
    michelle white says:

    I will promote this idea in my air quality presentations and in my E is for Energy programs.
    I believe it is so important to empower kids by letting them know how they can make a real difference.

    Thanks Steve, for getting the word out!

  2. Ken
    Ken says:

    Hi Steve, I’d just like to tell you what an incredibly positive response this idea has received. There have been people literally around the globe taking part in this project, and emailing Oprah. I want to thank you for your support, and look forward to seeing this dream become reality!! Together we can make the world a better place- Mr. L

  3. Paula
    Paula says:

    Hi Steve,
    I recently started changing over to the florescent CFL bulbs because I heard about how much longer they burn than to a regular bulb. I got a six pack at the local hardware store and plan to do so every payday until I have all my light fixtures replaced with them. Great to see someone smartly promoting it!
    I did it not only for the savings but for the fact that it keeps me off the ladder doing a balancing act!

  4. Lorraine Hudson
    Lorraine Hudson says:

    Hi Steve, I saw your lightbulb test on 9News, but I didn’t catch on how to know what wattage to get. My ceiling fans use 40 watts and my lamps use 60 watts. Do they have anything for 3-way lamps or outside lights? I love watching your segments on 9news and going to your seminars at the CAYEC Fairs in the spring and fall!!! Keep up the great stuff.

  5. Terry Hannum
    Terry Hannum says:

    Hi Steve and Mr Luna:
    Can we reprint this experiment in the local news paper if we keep it exactly as is with credits? Do we need to get permission? Count on 15 more bulbs changed from us!
    Terry Hannum

  6. Steve
    Steve says:

    Terry – No problem reprinting the post. Thanks for your professionalism and for taking the time to ask. 15 more bulbs is a great start!

  7. Steve
    Steve says:

    Lorraine – You might want to make a trip to the local Home Depot or Lowes to get some advice from the “lighting expert”. My advice is just to replace standard 60 watt bulbs with 60 watt CFL (which are really 17 watts, I believe) and you’re saving energy!

  8. Jolyn alayne
    Jolyn alayne says:

    I think I will pass out the flourescent light bulbs for my son’s 14th party! He is an avid envirnmentalist, and I think it will be a smash! I am also going to do some of Steve Spangler’s science experiments.

  9. MT Bartley
    MT Bartley says:


    Really enjoy the Podcasts and many thank to the 9 News folks for paying for the server space.

    We’ve personnally changed out a few bulbs after viewing the Podcast in my science class. It definently got my students thinking as well. I do notice the flourescent bulbs have a cooler color temperature to them. I don’t see myself changing everybulb in the house, or school. However, as you pointed out in the 9 News segment, everybulb changed helps

    You do a great job. Keep up the good work. Good science and good fun.

  10. Laura Kitselman
    Laura Kitselman says:

    My sixth grade class held a bulb trade-in last year. First, they raised over $400 with an ice cream sale. then, we went to Costco and purchased as many packages of CFL’s as we could. At the school’s end of the year picnic, we set up a booth and gave away the CFL bulb to anyone who agrred to replace an incandescent. By the end of the evening, we had given away all the bulbs and educated our school community.
    -Laura Kitselman Loudoun Country Day School

  11. Steve Hall
    Steve Hall says:

    I, too, have replaced my incadescent bulbs with fluoro bulbs but the bright, white light is much harsher and some say it is not good to study under fluoro lights because of the 60 hertz flickering. Try some experiments with fluoro lights acting as stob lights. For example, the mercury vapour lights on highways at night will cause car wheels to spin like the wagon wheels on old TV westerns. Will work in a lab, too.

  12. Kenny
    Kenny says:

    Hey my names Kenny, I got to school at Robert Moses, the school Mr. Luna teaches at, I’m a big supporter and I’m posting comments and what not anywhere I can. Please, help out the cause, his blog is incase you want to comment there and help the cause like I am. STAND UP!!!


  13. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    Hi – I manage the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Change a Light, Change the World Campaign, and am really inspired by Mr. Luna. Want to make sure that the people choosing CFLs are looking for the government’s blue ENERGY STAR label on the packaging when they shop — that way, you can better avoid getting a ‘harsh, flickering white light’ and ‘cooler’ colors. They have to meet a quality standard. My husband and I have changed nearly every light at home to ENERGY STAR labeled CFLs or fixtures, and you just can’t tell the difference.

    – Wendy

  14. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    Thats is such a good idea to save on electricity. But to let everyone know, GLOBAL WARMING DOSENT EXIST!!!

  15. Lee Wilkinson
    Lee Wilkinson says:

    Hi Steve!

    I really enjoy your website and the videos! I do science shows for elementary schools in the Chicago area, and also science camps in Texas in the summer. I’ve done a few of your experiments, but I’m always looking for more cool ways to teach kids about science!

    I was interested in Mr. Luna’s idea, after reading about it here. I think it’s a great idea, although I question some of the science behind it. I’m including a copy of the comment I left on his web site.

    Keep up the good work!


    Hi Mr. Luna,

    I think it’s a great idea to use fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent. In fact, we have been doing that for years in my family. It simply makes sense to save electricity whenever you can. Americans are far too wasteful, so Bravo! for helping to teach us to conserve!
    I do want to add one note of caution. The claim that reducing CO2 emissions by using less electricty will decrease Global Warming is not necessarily true. The causes of Global Warming are not yet understood. In fact, there is even debate in the scientific community over whether Global Warming is even taking place! Thiry years ago people were concerned that we were heading into another ice age. In any case, the vast bulk of the so called “greenhouse gases” is made up of water vapor, not CO2, and the percentage of CO2 produced by humans is a tiny fraction of that.
    Nevertheless, I applaud your efforts at conservation! If we all tried a little harder, this world would be a much better place!

  16. Rachel Brown
    Rachel Brown says:

    I think that it is a great idea. I am also a science teacher and after I read this information I went to Wal-Mart and I bought 2- 3 pack of fluorescent light bulbs. By the end of the summer I hope to only have those types of bulbs throughout my whole house. My family and I are very concerned with conserving energy.


  17. Karen Lee Samson
    Karen Lee Samson says:

    I am a teacher, currently teaching a self contained SVE (severe varying exceptionalities) in a middle school setting. I was looking for simple experiments for class and home work extra credit. I came aross your site. Wonderful Ideas, experiments, and savings for all within our human society.
    Thank you,

  18. Peter Byles
    Peter Byles says:

    It should be pointed out that changing to compact fluorescent bulbs will not save energy if the weather is cold enough to have the heating on in the house; incandescent bulbs help to heat the house and reduce the energy used by the central heating. In the summer the opposite is true if you have air conditioning on, of course.

  19. Deanna Zachrich
    Deanna Zachrich says:

    This is such a simple, creative idea. I love it!
    In the past I’ve always given bottled water to the kids for my Earth Day Presentations. It was easy to explain the numbers on plastics and they enjoyed the water. But as of this moment , I’ve decided that CFLs would be a fantastic idea. I always hope that I give each kid enough info so they go home and share with their parents. If they bring home a light bulb I sure it will spark a great conversation. Thank you so very much for all you’re doing for this one planet we have.

  20. Andrew L
    Andrew L says:

    I actually just replaced all 26 60watt incandescent bulbs in my new apartment with Cree 9.5W LED bulbs. That’s 1.3 kilowatts of potential energy usage per hour 😉


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Mr. Luna's Bright Idea | Steve Spangler's Blog Mr. Luna's Bright Idea. Leave a Comment. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most powerful ideas. That's exactly what I discovered when Ken Luna, an 8th grade science teacher in North Babylon, New York, posted a comment on my blog about his project. Here's the idea… Mr. Luna wants Oprah to help him give every child in . to help spread the word about this “Bright Idea” ) -kenny. just scroll down on this link, and click on the radio segment for north babylon . […]

  2. fun on wheels…

    How does the rss feed work so I can get updated on your blog?…

  3. Massari says:

    bright eyes lyrics…

    I Googled for something completely different, but found your page…and have to say thanks. nice read….

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