Energy efficiency projects are a fun, hands-on method for reducing your community’s carbon emissions, whether you’re focusing on a single house, a building, or an entire neighborhood. If your 350 group is just getting started, you may want to start with a smaller scale project, like learning about and installing energy efficient appliances in a home as part of a group training.
The one-day energy efficiency training and installation described below is a bit more complicated, since the training expands to an entire neighborhood, but many of the steps can translate for simpler projects too. This project is based off of techniques developed by our partners at the Summer of Solutions program.
Get it done
1. Define the audience and needs.
Will it be done more like a block-party from house to house, or based out of a larger central business or organization? Do you have the expertise within your group to run a training, or can you ask someone from your community to help?
2. Choose your project
This will depend on where you live, and what projects are needed to make homes and buildings more energy efficient. Some examples include switching to efficient light-bulbs, faucet aerators, low-flow shower-heads, caulking, window plastic, outlet gaskets, and pipe wrap. Make sure that a.) these technologies are cost-effective (they get a good return on investment), b.) these technologies are relevant to local buildings and climate, c.) you can ask someone who knows how they work to train your group, and d.) people can learn to install them quickly.
3. Decide on a timeline and date that makes sense for everyone in your 350 group
Think about how much time you’ll need to plan and prepare for the training, and decide on a date. Make sure that the date you’ve selected will be favorable for the people that you’re hoping to invite (i.e. think about hosting it on a weekend when people will be more likely to be off work).
4. Delegate tasks to everyone in your 350 group
For example, decide who will be in charge of coordinating this project and training volunteers on the day of the training and installation.
5. Engage and recruit a broad base of participants
Engage in direct, person-to-person outreach, as well as through social networks and community organizations. Make sure to appeal to the multiple benefits of energy efficiency (saving money, home comfort, reducing dirty energy pollution, local job creation, resilience to volatile energy costs).
6. Communicate the benefits and educate
As a part of your outreach efforts, try and calculate
or provide an estimate of how much money people are going to save if they install the new energy efficient technologies that you are recommending, and see if you can get them to invest in the up-front cost of materials.
7. Host the event
You can hold the event at a public venue or in a private home where you can practice directly. If you take this latter block-party approach, you may want to have additional materials on hand in case new people in the neighborhood want to join in and weatherize their own homes.
8. Make sure you have a plan for how the project will be sustained
Consider creating a community base (at a local hardware store, or through neighborhood outreach via a school group) for providing neighborhood energy efficiency services on an ongoing basis.