In the past, I’ve talked about green trends in architecture and design. I’m usually very cautious about new hip and popular “green” programs or products. There are flaws in a number of programs and materials out there, who are simply riding the “green wave” to more profits while not necessarily upping the ante when it comes to lessening our carbon footprint.
A new program called Earth Aid, however, seems to be a well-planned, well-designed, and well-thought-out program that is simple and easy-to-use, and encourages people to make an impact.
Two summers ago, I had the privilege to work with a non-profit in Philadelphia called the Energy Coordinating Agency. It seemed to me almost the epitome of the sustainable non-profit. It was housed in an old brownstone building on Arch Street, had many dedicated workers, and was in a fairly consistant struggle for survival. They spearheaded many energy-saving programs in the city by using local, state and federal funds. When I left, they were even working on creating a Green Collor Jobs center to diminish unemployment in the area while also providing a base for sustainable jobs in the future.
ECA’s main goal was to help the citizens of Philadelphia save money and save energy at the same time. Earth Aid seems to have taken this a step in the right direction with their website. While ECA has been working for years in the field to interact with people and get the knowledge about energy savings out there, Earth Aid is now bringing energy savings into the homes of anyone with a computer by offering free energy tracking services for your home and providing easy access to financial incentives from the government for saving energy.
Though ECA provides many in-depth services that Earth Aid does not, I think Earth Aid has the opportunity to get a foot in the door for many homeowners. Once they see what small projects and additions can do to their energy bills, they will be more knowlegable and open to these energy-saving projects. Earth Aid even provides local service provider information once a member on their site.
It would be amazing if two companies such as Earth Aid and ECA could join forces. Not only would their customers have easy access and a great starting point to save energy, but they would have a direct line to people who can provide a wide array of services for those who wish to make a greater impact.
As I have said in many of my previous posts, people need incentives to work towards a more sustainable and energy-efficient world. If we can create services like Earth Aid that make energy saving not only easily understood but also financially smart, the new “green wave” will be a more educated and widespread movement.