EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Going Green

November 7, 2007

Family will try to 'go green'

Danny O'Brien's bedroom is a tribute to the Boston Red Sox. The walls are painted to look like Fenway Park, complete with scoreboard, Monster seats and a Citgo sign that lights up.

But the Citgo sign might have to go dark for the offseason.

Danny and his Wildwood Road family | parents Kevin and Donna and siblings Ann Marie, Rosalie and Thomas | have accepted the challenge to "go green." For the next few months they will cut down on their power usage, shutting off unnecessary lights and electronics. And the Townsman will follow them every step of the way, in print and online.

Can they make a difference? Can they save money?

For Danny, the biggest challenge will be keeping his mitts off his video game controller.

"I'm so addicted to PlayStation," he says.

In general, shutting off lights, turning off the TV and eliminating car trips will be the largest tests for the family. Kevin O'Brien drives Ann Marie to Central Catholic every morning on his way to work in Wakefield or Boston, and Donna O'Brien drives the other kids to St. Michael's School in North Andover.

"I think the hardest (change) is probably going to be gas conservation because I have four children always going in four different directions at different times, and trips back and forth to school because my kids don't take the bus to school," said Donna O'Brien. "For my children, it might be the awareness of shutting lights and the importance of that [and] how it can decrease our bill."

All four O'Brien siblings will have temptations to resist | and habits to overcome.

Ann Marie, a sophomore, will need to cut back on her instant messaging and FaceBook visits. "Usually my parents try to get me off after 15 minutes," she said. "I'm IMing. Going on FaceBook. All the time."

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