A new form of environmental activism is developing in Sydney.

The Guerilla Energy Efficiency Gang is on a mission to swap the environmentally inefficient incandescent light bulbs with the greener fluorescent version.

On any given night, a group of energy guerillas gather to install energy efficient measures outside the home, without permission.

The founder of the Guerilla Energy Efficiency Gang is 23-year-old university student, Maurice Wells.

Mr Wells spends his days studying photovoltaics and solar energy engineering, but his nights are spent scouring the streets of Sydney searching for inefficient bulbs to replace.

He says guerilla energy efficiency as a form of environmental activism is a growing underground movement in Sydney.

“We had a look on Google to see if anyone else had done it, and sure enough someone in the United States had done something similar,” he said.

“We’ve seen since a video clip of people going in to other people’s homes and changing bulbs. That has sparked a bit of ‘copycat crime’ in Australia.”

“But what we have seen is that more and more people we know are really keen to start doing it, and everyone seems to think it’s a great idea and an exciting and empowering thing to do.”

The guerillas have spent the last six months targeting car parks, housing complexes, motels, public toilets and restaurants.

The group believes that the enormous potential of energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gases and save money tends to be ignored by politicians, industry, business, residents and even activists.

Energy guerilla Scarlett Wilcock is a 21-year-old law student.

She says important environmental issues including climate change and alternative energy are not being effectively presented to younger people.

“We always hear about it in the newspapers and we do a lot of forums and public communication about climate change, but sometimes it doesn’t really feel enough just to change the light bulb in your bedroom,” she said.

“So I think this is a really great way to feel a bit more empowered about changing stuff on a larger but still a grassroots scale.”

Mr Wells says people buy inefficient light bulbs because they are slightly cheaper, but they end up costing hundreds of extra dollars in energy bills.

“In a lot of cases they’re not using the old bulbs for any particular reason, so you just change them and they probably can’t even tell,” he said.

The guerilla’s recently targeted an inner Sydney car park near the eastern distributor.

By changing almost 20 incandescent light bulbs on one street, Mr Wells says almost $600 will be saved in energy bills.

But the group is realistic about what it can achieve.

“There are millions of inefficient light bulbs installed all over Sydney, and it would be impossible to change them all,” he said.

“But the sites I’d really like to target are away from big development places, where the benefits flow through to another part of the community, say public housing or libraries and commissions,” he said.

“Places where they’d really appreciate the savings.”

– Original article here