Welcome to Greening Neighborhoods, a grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to saving you money by conserving our natural resources. We help householders and other people understand how much they’re using in the way of resources, and we help them learn ways to reduce what they’re consuming. We encourage people to work with their neighbors to share ideas, to encourage them, and to support them. By working on the neighborhood level, we hope to shrink our carbon footprints — not just for our individual homes, but for whole neighborhoods and communities.
How We’re Organized
Greening Neighborhoods is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation organized by neighborhoods. While these are usually groups of people who live near one another, they can also be other groups based around schools, churches, apartment complexes, and civic organizations.
Measurement is central to our approach. Most of us don’t really know how much energy we use, or how our use compares with our neighbors. Greening Neighborhoods brings our energy use into the light where we can do something about it.
By keeping track of our water, heating fuel, gasoline and electricity use, we can measure energy use and create a personal baseline. By noting changes we make by reducing natural resource consumption, we can compare the reductions against our baseline and verify savings in money. By sharing and comparing our individual residential energy use, we can each see how our energy usage compares to our neighbors.
We can see how changes in the way we live — moving to efficient light bulbs, installing water saving devices, adding insulation, driving less — can change our consumption. We share what we learn with each other, encouraging and challenging each other. This is how we all work to reduce every participating neighborhood’s carbon footprint.
Collaboration and Education
There is no master plan here, just people collaborating and sharing ideas. We want to make Greening Neighborhoods the hub for new ideas at the level of the individual home. To help kick-start this, we’ve put together some quick reads and resources to help you understand how you can save energy, tips and pointers to help you start controlling your impact, and news of all sorts related to energy efficiency, conservation, and sustainability. You’ll see these resources on the “SAVE MONEY” tab. But the main resource is you.
Central to our whole approach is a natural-resource-use spreadsheet called the Baseline Energy Tracker, to help you track your energy use and to let you see how you compare to your neighborhood as a whole. Use it to watch your bills go down as you reduce your energy usage. Then watch your neighborhood’s impact on the environment shrink as everyone pitches in. We even encourage neighborly challenges and competition to make this more fun.
Many of us have tried doing this individually in the past, but it’s hard to keep at it. Now, for the first time, we can see how the whole neighborhood’s doing. And that’s a remarkable motivator.
Let’s face it: we may not be able to change the world, but we can change our own behavior. And we can do this together, as neighbors. The result will be greener neighborhoods, greener cities, greener — well, you get the idea.
Greening Neighborhoods invites individuals to join our effort. There is no cost to do so. The only thing we ask for are two commitments from those who join:
- Commit to keeping track of the water, heating fuel, electricity and gasoline used each month and
- Commit to keeping track of resource saving efforts that have been carried out.
This allows every household to create its own baseline Energy Tracker from which to measure its success and to pass on successes to their neighbors.
Every week Greening Neighborhoods sends out a “Tip” to its members on a way to save money and conserve resources. From time to time the neighbors report back on what they have done.
For example, last November one of our neighbors installed 12 inches of fiber glass insulation in his attic. Because he kept records from 2008, he had a baseline that allowed him to measure that in one month he had saved $60 in his gas bill over the previous November.
In February of 2009, another neighbor made a $20 investment and simply changed out her faucet and shower aerators to low flow ones. Because she had records of her water use from 2008 she determined that by the end of 2009 she reduced her water use by 9%, saved 3,148 gallons of water and $58 in water bills. Not bad for a $20 investment that will continue to save resources and money every year and provide an incentive to further reduce water consumption.