San Francisco Environment Department

San Francisco Kicks Off Earth Month with the World’s Largest LED Light Bulb Giveaway

The City is giving away 100,000 cost-saving LED light bulbs to residents through affordable housing providers, public libraries, and public schools.

April 11, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO — Today, Board of Supervisors President London Breed and the San Francisco Department of the Environment announced a new “Going LED” initiative that is installing cost-saving LED light bulbs in the homes of San Francisco residents who need them the most. This first of its kind effort will save 5.5 million kilowatt hours of energy annually and is the largest recorded LED giveaway in history.

“Going LED” is for all San Franciscans. Through partnerships with 45 community-based organizations, the first and largest batch of LEDs (60,000 in total) are being installed in the homes of low income, formerly homeless, disabled, senior, veteran, and other disadvantaged San Franciscans. Additionally, the initiative is providing:

  • 20,000 LEDs to families through the San Francisco Unified School District in conjunction with educational programing
  • 20,000 LEDs to the public through the San Francisco Public Library branches

“The residents and organizations that benefit the most from LED light bulbs are the least able to afford them – which is why initiatives like this are so important,” said Board of Supervisors President London Breed. “’Going LED’ demonstrates our City’s continuing commitment to fight climate change with solutions that improve the quality of life and affordability for San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents.”

The efficiency of LEDs means that they significantly lower electricity bills while providing a higher quality of light over more traditional bulbs. They also last 25 times longer which means 25 fewer bulbs that need to be bought and installed. Every year these LEDs will save San Francisco residents and the organizations that serve them over $1 million in utility costs*.

Over 45 San Francisco community organizations received LED bulbs through the giveaway. 

“Right away, these LEDs have made a difference in the lives of our low-income tenants, both in their immediate environment and in their disposable income,” according to Cynthia Alvarez, Chief Portfolio Officer at the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation. “They have more efficient lighting and can see better throughout their homes. An additional and important advantage is that they also benefit from lower utility bills which translates to financial savings for the household.”

“Changing a light bulb might seem like a small action, but these LED’s come packed with cost and energy savings that will last for decades and make a big difference,” said Debbie Raphael, Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment. “Thanks to the help of our community partners, this initiative will deliver direct benefits to our residents while improving affordability and bringing us closer to our climate action goals.”

This giveaway was funded by an award provided to the San Francisco Department of Environment by Pacific Gas and Electric for a joint collaboration on a successful energy-saving behavior-change initiative called Step Up and Power Down.

For more information on this initiative and on how to properly dispose of used light bulbs, visit

*Based on a 60W incandescent light bulb used for 3 hours a day at a rate of $0.20/kWh.

In honor of Earth Month, starting April 11, 2018, 20,000 LED bulbs will also be available for all San Francisco residents through the public libraries.
Residents can “Go LED” by picking up a free four-pack of high quality LED light bulbs at any San Francisco Public Library branch using their library card. Residents are allowed one pack per library card. Supplies are limited.


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