Monday, October 02, 2006

An energy efficiency charity?

I have a partly formed idea rattling around my head which I'd like describe. As I go about making many small changes that I hope will add up to a lighter eco-footprint (and save money), I keep returning to the awesome scale of the problem of the climate crisis and how much more needs to be done.

My thought is to establish a "micro-charity" that asks for a very modest contribution from thousands/millions of people and then use this money to finance thousands of small eco-projects. These projects would consist of helping those in need do common sense things like upgrading lights to CFLs (aka swirl bulbs), installing better insulation, caulking windows, upgrading weather stripping, etc. Basically all the things we need to be doing ourselves to save energy, but doing them instead for cash-strapped citizens interested in more efficient living but behind on their bills.

The charity would help those with the greatest need take advantage of present day energy saving technologies and raise awareness in general of the actions we should all be taking to save energy (and money).

The charity would ask people to contribute 2 cents/day to help save the planet.

Maybe even call the charity "2 cents to save the world".

This amounts to a yearly contribution of $7.30 (an amount that even folks making minimum wage could scrape together). With a single contribution, one could replace 3-4 of the most used light bulbs in a house, saving the homeowner $15-20/year in electricity costs, before even considering the additional benefit of fewer CO2 emissions.

Contributors could suggest projects they'd like to see funded. Projects with the best payback would be selected. Partnerships with groups like Habitat for Humanity might be arranged where the charity could pay the upfront (extra) cost of more efficient lighting or appliances.

Obviously this idea is still a bit rough, but I'm interested to hear what people think of it.


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