Interview with Rob Benshoof and Kristen Westerbeck

Rob Benshoof, Urban Green Lab volunteer; Kristen Westerbeck, Jackalope Bartender

Eileen Schaeffer, AmeriCorps VISTA

E: How did you get into light bulbs?

R: This isn't my line of work, but simply seeing the inefficiency (90% of energy used for incandescents is lost to heat) of basic lightbulbs, and how little people knew about this, I wanted to learn about alternatives. After discovering LEDs and how much energy and money they save, I got the idea to go around to bars and restaurants with Edison bulbs to show them all they could save. I used the Light Box I made for Urban Green Lab's teaching purposes to use as the perfect pitch. 

After paying Jackalope a visit, Rob inspired this local thriving brewery to switch to LEDs. Now they have 10 LEDs installed in their bar. If they ran continuously for 1 year, the power cost for each would be 44 cents. The bulb model (and energy-savings aside, the light produced is magnificent!) at Jackalope is the Edison Squirrel Filament Vintage Antique LED. Rob says they are the most efficient lightbulbs he has ever seen, and he has done his research!

E: Kristen, why did you want Jackalope to invest in LEDs?

K: Simple - our feel at the brewery has always been on the green side; all of our spent grain is donated to local hog farmers, we use cans over bottles for recycling purposes, for example, so this was an obvious next step. 

E: Nice! Have people commented on the new bulbs? They are so pretty. 

K: Yes, in fact! Our regulars have commented on them because they are so attractive and good-looking. We get a lot of people staring at our lights, especially after a few beers. 

E: I hear that, I hear that! That's awesome! And that's excellent that y'all are saving so much money and using this new pretty lights as an educational piece to tell others about how sensible LEDs are, purely from an economical standpoint. Thanks for your good work, guys!

With passionate and caring community members like Rob and excellent local businesses like Jackalope that really care about creating sustainable business practices in every sense of the word, Nashville has a bright future!

Email connect@urbangreenlab.org if you want the down-low on the best bulbs to buy.