- Who We Are
- The Bulb
- Porchlight Blog
- Media Room
- Local Campaigns
Press release: Grassroots energy efficiency campaign uses online social networks to go big, but stay local
Posted November 2, 2007 by Anonymous
What began as a pilot project to hand out a few thousand free compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs in Ottawa in 2005 has grown into a million-bulb campaign for energy conservation and grassroots social change.
Project Porchlight's biggest initiative yet got underway this fall: A million free energy-efficient CFL bulbs will be delivered by volunteers to households across Alberta and Ontario. Local people are being engaged to deliver the bulbs, knocking on doors and conveying the campaign's key message: Simple actions matter.
The award-winning campaign's exponential growth has meant having to adopt some new tactics to engage thousands of people across two provinces.
"Social networking technology is helping us convert the individual action of changing a light bulb to a national movement," said Stuart Hickox, Executive Director of One Change, the not-for-profit organization that runs Project Porchlight. "Online networks are complementary to our grassroots approach. Our Facebook groups and local Meetups will help to enlist volunteers and promote events."
By leveraging the power of open source technologies and the social web, local volunteers are now able to instantly share photos and stories from their local bulb deliveries via their own project pages. Each is connected through an interactive Google Map that shows visitors and potential volunteers in real-time where bulbs are being delivered. Streets change colour as they are assigned to volunteers and change again as bulbs are delivered. Communities across Canada will light up, one bulb at a time.
The new Project Porchlight web site was designed by Biro Creative and developed by EchoDitto. EchoDitto is the Washington D.C.-based internet consultancy founded by former Howard Dean presidential campaigners Harish Rao, Nicco Mele and Michael Silberman. The firm is renowned for using emerging technologies to help clients like the U.N. World Food Program and the Clinton Global Initiative implement participatory campaigns and build online communities. "EchoDitto is proud to partner with Project Porchlight on this exciting new phase of its grassroots campaign," said Michael Silberman, Partner and Senior Strategist at EchoDitto. "Through its use of the web and new technologies, Project Porchlight is taking a leading role in the climate movement-empowering individuals in communities across North America to help end the climate crisis, street-by-street, neighbour-to-neighbour. The new ProjectPorchlight.com has the potential to multiply the reach and impact of the One Change message by enabling anyone to easily join a local campaign via the website or, ultimately, to even start a Project Porchlight campaign in their own community." Over 2500 volunteers have registered on the new site.
Project Porchlight has been raising awareness among consumers that CFL light bulbs are an energy-efficient choice. They use 75% less electricity than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. Once installed, the million energy efficient CFL bulbs Project Porchlight is giving out this fall will stop 500,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and save Ontario and Alberta residents collectively $50 million over the five year lifespan.
"We know that once people change one bulb, they feel part of a larger community that wants to take action, and are more willing to make other changes. Our new web site captures this enthusiasm. Volunteers can upload their own stories and photos from Project Porchlight campaigns across Canada and can see how their own simple action is connected to a global community," said Mr. Hickox.
In Ontario, Project Porchlight's funders are the Ontario Power Authority, the Government of Ontario, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. In Alberta, the Government of Alberta and EnCana Corporation are primary sponsors, with the 4-H Foundation of Alberta and Climate Change Central as partners.
CFL bulb distribution for the latest campaigns began this September; Project Porchlight will continue to deliver its million bulbs to communities across Ontario and Alberta over the fall. Volunteers and community groups can visit the web site www.projectporchlight.com to sign up to volunteer and to hook up with this growing social network.
For more details or to arrange an interview, please contact:
- Suzanne Fraser Project Porchlight, 866-585-6359 or 613-552-7277; suzy