College students reduce carbon footprints

By Jen Wozniak
February 12, 2009

Shannon Keough

A Cabrini student recently beat out 35 college students from across the state of Pennsylvania and won $250 in an energy-saving contest organized by PowerMinders, a growing network of college students dedicated to helping the environment.

Molly Enos, sophomore communication major, replaced over 200 incandescent light bulbs of friends and neighbors with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs over winter break, selling more than any other PowerMinder Ambassador.

“Winning the contest was a thrill, but more importantly, I was able to save my family and friends real money on their electric bill and reduce their household’s carbon footprint,” Enos said.

As part of the contest, Enos went to houses and showed people that buying compact fluorescent light bulbs would save energy and reduce their electric bill.

Enos sold the light bulbs in her hometown of Somerset, Pa., as well as some close to Cabrini in Wayne and Radnor.

“I would ask for an old copy of their electric bill and calculated how much they would save by replacing all of their old bulbs,” Enos said about her strategy in the contest. “It was challenging and many people wanted to know the facts about these light bulbs.”

Bob Fiori, founder of PowerMinders, explained that every kilowatt that your house burns puts 1.37 pounds of carbon into the air. Compact fluorescent bulbs reduce lighting kilowatts by 75 percent.

Also, you are charged for electric based on how many kilowatts you use, so your electric bill is significantly reduced.

“Your electric bill could be reduced by 75 percent,” Fiori said. “It’s incredible.”

Although the new bulbs are a bit more expensive than incandescent bulbs, they save money in the long run because not only do they cut the cost of your monthly electric bill, but they last up to 10 times longer.

Fiori said that over 70 percent of people in other industrialized nations use energy-efficient lighting, but only 7 percent of those in the U.S. do.

“While many people are aware of compact fluorescent bulbs, it’s amazing how many old-fashioned bulbs people are still using,” Enos said.

“We are way behind [other countries], and I wanted to do something about it,” Fiori said of starting PowerMinders after talking to Penn State University students interested in reducing home energy, which is a large source of carbon footprints.

PowerMinders was started in June 2008, and is looking to expand nationally and also expand their product line.

Everyone employed by the company is a college student. Those who competed in the contest were from colleges such as Temple, Drexel, University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, West Chester State University and Penn State. Enos was the only Cabrini student participating.

Enos first heard of PowerMinders in the fall when Fiori spoke at a Saturday seminar class she enrolled in at Cabrini.

She then received an e-mail asking if she’d like to be an ambassador and she took the offer.

After competing in the contest, Fiori was so impressed with Enos that he offered her the very first internship at PowerMinders.

“By becoming an ambassador, you can gain public relation skills, networking skills, resume building and an introduction to the energy industry,” Enos said.

Another contest will be held in the spring and summer, and Cabrini students are encouraged to participate. Enos is now working to recruit others ambassadors to work for PowerMinders.

Ambassadors receive 15 percent commission off of each light bulb sold. For more information, contact Molly Enos at, or check out to learn more.

There will also be an upcoming seminar on campus within the next few weeks, so watch for upcoming information.

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Jen Wozniak

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