Being Green, One Block at a Time

So you consider yourself a fairly ‘green’ person. You may install compact fluorescent light bulbs, monitor your water use, unplug unused household appliances, recycle what you can and even use public transportation or ride a bike to work. Whatever your action of choice, you’re doing your part to reduce waste and energy use, and it seems like a no-brainer. And if you’re like me, then it seems a bit odd to see your neighbors throwing away recyclable materials, watering their lawns at noon or leaving their lights on. Do they not know about ways to improve their energy efficiency, or how to sign up for recycling, or the watering rules set by the local water utility? Maybe they don’t.

That’s why Greenprint Denver, the City and County of Denver’s Sustainability Office, started their neighborhood sustainability program, Green Teams. What is a Green Team? It’s a group of like-minded folks, who are interested in taking action to make their neighborhood a more sustainable, healthy and informed place, while saving money along the way.

Every Green Team in Denver started in its own unique way. Some were born out of registered Denver Neighborhood Organizations, others are simply a group of neighborhood residents, co-workers or friends looking to make a positive impact in their neighborhood.

The best part of forming a Green Team is flexibility. Green Teams can focus and set goals on a wide range of sustainable issues; from energy efficiency and weatherization to recycling and community gardens. Some Green Teams participate in neighborhood blitzes; a door-to-door canvassing event offering free CFLs, recycling and energy audit sign-ups, and information about other local energy and money saving programs. Other Green Teams choose to host events and meetings to share information with their neighbors.

Regardless of how a Green Team operates, all are working towards building a community and making Denver a more sustainable place to live.

Article by Denise Stepto, program manager for Greenprint Denver’s Residential Energy Efficiency program; Article appearing courtesy Xcel Energy Blog.

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