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Frustrated by a lack of action on climate change, neighborhood activists Kevin Suchlicki and Sue Okerson did something simple but concrete:  They went door-to-door offering to swap out incandescent front porch light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs for free.  This simple action was a success, and they asked Groundwork Denver to take on the Porch Bulb Project in 2008.

Denver residents happily accepted the free bulbs, and Groundwork expanded the offerings:  recycling, trees, and home energy assessments.  Denver residents took more action, and the results keep adding up!  

The straightforward action of changing the porch light bulb on the spot opens the door to a more in-depth conversation about energy savings in the home.  Groundwork has conducted canvasses in over 40 neighborhoods in Denver, and in another 43 communities across Colorado for the Take Charge! project.  

In addition to the measurable results from the porch bulb swap, the Porch Bulb Project’s neighbor-to-neighbor, door-to-door approach is a successful strategy in reaching out to Denver’s low-income and elderly residents, people who are often hard to reach through common communication modes.

“In an age of sound bites, political posts capped at 140 characters, and the emotional disconnect of talking to someone on a computer, there’s nothing like a face-to-face conversation to really make an impact.”

~ Julian Adorney, volunteer, intern and student at the University of Colorado at Boulder

For lower-income and elderly residents, the reduction of energy bills is a key motivating factor for the people reached, while at the same time the audience for energy efficiency issues is broadened.  These populations are more vulnerable to energy costs than other population groups because their energy costs represent a larger portion of their household budgets, in addition to their housing typically being less energy efficient.

To run your own Porch Bulb Project in your community, visit our Take Charge! website.