Question: What happens when a Denver non-profit changes 10,000 porch light bulbs?
Answer: It helps 10,000 families and, jokes aside, changes Denver’s carbon footprint for the better.
That project reached the milestone 10,000th porch light bulb in mid-September. The non-profit, Groundwork Denver, led the project.
Despite the economy, Groundwork Denver sustains. In May, it received the Outstanding Non-Profit Organization award from the Governor’s Commission on Community Service. “Everyone likes our mission,” said executive director Wendy Hawthorne.
Its projects draw funding across the board –from private companies to government agencies. It was a Groupon Deal of the Day in August.
Groundwork Denver works with low-income areas and communities of color to address environmental issues. It strives to find the source of the problem and then help the communities overcome the issues by building leadership and stewardship throughout the city. The nonprofit employs between 10 and 20 youth each year from the disadvantaged communities it serves.
Groundwork Denver was helped in the final push for the landmark bulb by E-Source, a Boulder company serving more than 300 utilities and large energy users. Both groups went door-to-door to swap out incandescent bulbs in a Denver neighborhood.
They live-tweeted and took photographs in hopes of capturing the installation of the 10,000thbulb.
One compact fluorescent light bulb saves $40 and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 800 pounds per year. Hawthorne figures 10,000 bulbs will save $400,000 and reduce greenhouse emissions by 4,000 tons. “That’s like taking 800 cars off the road for a year,” she said.
Groundwork Denver is part of Groundwork USA, a growing national network of neighborhood non-profits. The American organization in turn is based on Groundwork UK, which is credited in renewing hundreds of neighborhoods in Great Britain since the 1980s.
“The Porch Bulb Project demonstrates how even small actions can have big impacts when we all get involved,” Hawthorne said. “(The) 10,000 CFLs reduce greenhouse emissions by 600 tons per year.”