The Baltimore Sun
By Justin Fenton
June 14, 2005
When Baltimore officials needed help bringing down the city’s energy costs, they turned to a cartoon light bulb and common sense.
Everyone knows it’s wise to turn off the lights when leaving a room, but city officials say this was a new concept to some city employees. Checking each month’s bills to make sure everything is correct is a ritual for many homeowners, but Baltimore City government had been charged about a half-million dollars by mistake.
Enter Tighty Lighty, a cartoon light bulb and energy-saving superhero that was rolled out in 2002 to encourage Baltimore City employees to be more energy-efficient. This superhero isn’t signaled by a spotlight in the sky (that wouldn’t be energy-efficient). Instead, he arrives in city employees’ e-mail inboxes, bouncing around and winking as he tightens his belt and reminds them to “turn it off” – part of a energy conservation project that public works officials say will save millions over the next several years.
In 2002, O’Malley unveiled Tighty Lighty. During a news conference to introduce the character, O’Malley described Tighty Lighty as “able to leap consuming copy machines in a single bound; able to locate lost lumens of unused lighting in any office and to spot out-dated, energy-sucking screen savers on computers anywhere.” A Citistat intern wearing a Tighty Lighty costume jumped around behind the mayor.
“It was one of his great moments in public service,” O’Malley said yesterday.