Community organizing meets weatherization: WeatherizeDC

Critics from both right and left have pounced on President Obama’s Oval Office address last night as lacking in substance, and even purpose. But David Roberts at Grist noted that weatherization, an important element of any energy and climate plan, was one of the specifics Obama did mention as means of lessening the country’s reliance on fossil fuels (and also lessening the potential for disasters like the Gulf oil spill).

One Washington, D.C.-bases organization could serve as a model for the President should he choose to push building efficiency more strongly in the coming months… and it’s an organization born out of the Obama presidential campaign’s model of grassroots organization (as well as the Obama for America organization itself). WeatherizeDC, a campaign of The DC Project, is organized around two premises:

  • “home weatherization represents one of America’s few industries primed for expansion and job creation”
  • “a missing link has been a partnership between non-profits, organized labor and the local small businesses that perform the audits and weatherizations and ultimately hire new workers.”

With these concepts in mind, field organizers use the traditional tactics of community organizing — neighborhood meetings, door-to-door canvassing, and special events — to educate D.C. residents on the benefits of weatherization. In April, for instance, the organization held a block party at St. Alban’s Church that combined food, fun, and information.

While the organization established relatively modest goals up front — 200 hundred weatherized homes, and the creation of 4-7 green jobs — it did so with the big picture in mind: the “low-hanging fruit” of increased building efficiency has tremendous potential to put people to work, and save homeowners and renters on their utility bills… and, of course, lower greenhouse gas emissions. In order to move in this direction, though, all interested parties have to be working together.

Sounds very promising. Know of other organizations working on a similar model? Let us know about them… and check out WeatherizeDC on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

via DOE’s Energy Savers blog