Engaging Residents to Promote Greener Living

[Photo 1: Woman holding baby and saving energy sign]
Kukui Tower residents commit to reducing energy use.

EAH Housing is a San Rafael, CA-based nonprofit affordable housing developer and management company with over 1,300 housing units in Hawaii. They have partnered with Kanu Hawaii (http://www.kanuhawaii.org/), an innovative Hawaii nonprofit fostering social change and promoting sustainability through personal commitment and self-empowerment: one-person-at-at-time.

The partnership included the launching of an Energy Contest to empower residents to realize energy cost savings at Beretania North-Kukui Tower. Kukui Tower is a 380-unit HUD-assisted property in downtown Honolulu. (One of Kanu's 2011 Challenges was an Energy Challenge.)

EAH Resident Services Coordinators led the effort to promote an 'Energy & Green Living Fair'. Over 250 residents of all ages from Kukui Tower participated in a gathering to kick-off the event.

The launch party was complete with energy-saving tips and tools on how residents could save money on their electricity bills. It included a premiere screening of the 'Going Green' video filmed by the youth of Kukui Tower, children's games, and giveaways of smart power strips. Eighty residents signed-up for the two-month challenge that awarded an IPAD2 to the top resident who had the highest energy savings on their electric bill.

The winner was the Ma family who saved 29% on their electricity bill by taking simple steps such as CFL replacement and the use of power strips: resulting in significant energy reduction.

[Photo 2: Sign promoting pop-up farmers market]
The first pop-up farmers market on Oahu held at Kalani Gardens.

The second partnership event held in April 2012 was the 'Little Green Market' which promoted green living by bringing local farmers to the community. 'Little Green Market' is a pop-up farmers market concept intended to bring local farmers to communities that otherwise have challenges with affording or accessing fresh, healthy, local food due to mobility and cost issues. It was held at Kalani Gardens, another EAH property. Over five farmer vendors participated and accepted EBT - the federal food subsidy program.

The advantage of a pop-up market is the customization of produce by selling local foods desired by residents. EAH and Kanu Hawaii are building on their successes and plan to take this template to other low-income communities in the EAH portfolio.


Content Archived: February 20, 2014