This post was written by Going Green DC contributing writer Alison Drucker
The The Extreme Green Neighborhood Makeover, an environmentally friendly home improvement project, will show DC residents in all neighborhoods and income brackets that energy-efficient, healthy homes can have economic as well as environmental benefits.
Thanks to a $20,000 National Geographic grant awarded to local grassroots organization CarbonfreeDC, 20 low-income families in the Deanwood and Shaw neighborhoods will receive green home improvements to trim their energy and water bills. Improvements could include compact fluorescent lights, programmable thermostats, weather-stripping, low-flow showerheads and faucets, power strips, and Energy Star appliances.
Ten homes will be randomly selected from qualifying applications in each neighborhood, and after an introductory orientation session for the families, they’ll receive environmental audits to identify how to get the biggest bang for the $1,000-per-home buck.
Deanwood, at the furthest-east end of Washington, is home to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, and is the former home of Marvin Gaye and civil rights activist Nannie Helen Burroughs. Right now the neighborhood is being invigorated by several developments around the Minnesota Avenue metro station, as well as by green initiatives like Groundwork Anacostia River DC, which brings environmental education and restoration projects to the communities along the river.
Part of the U street corridor, Shaw was the center of African-American culture in DC through the 1960s. The 1968 riots destroyed much of Shaw and it was neglected for decades afterwards. Since the mid-1990s Shaw has been experiencing a renewal thanks to vibrant community organizations and a new influx of businesses and residents.
CarbonfreeDC hopes that the Extreme Green Neighborhood Makeover will have a lasting impact on these neighborhoods, and on the rest of the city. Workshops and community events will educate residents about smart energy and water conservation strategies and 30 more homes in each neighborhood will receive free environmental assessments.
Want to help? The Extreme Green Gala on Friday, October 9, will feature speakers, organic food, drinks, music, and an art sale. If you’d rather roll up your sleeves and get involved in the makeovers, CarbonfreeDC is looking for consultants, electricians, plumbers, and assistance with marketing and outreach. Email Rhys Gerholdt for more information at rhys006 [at] gmail.com.