Last Fall the Sierra Club’s innovative, grass-roots energy conservation program helped a barber shop and home-based day-care save on electric bills and increase the comfort level of their clients.. Our program is mainly directed at residences, but we had found that small businesses fall through the cracks in the state and federal low- income weatherization program.
The project arose from a Sierra Club grant to J. Gordon Community Development, Inc. to educate & assist inner city residents who are typically on the front lines of pollution from old power plants. Since the government programs had a long waiting list, we decided to pick the low-hanging fruit ourselves by replacing hugely inefficient incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs and performing simple weatherization steps, like sealing windows and doors. CFL’s use only 25% as much electricity as incandescent lights.
We are still at it. This winter and spring we not only worked on 47 residences, but also three more small, minority businesses. The program is led by community activist, Richard Mabion, who is assisted by his handyman, Ernest Tolon.
The photos (link to photos) show our work at a popular local restaurant, a hair salon and at another home-based childcare. At M’s R’s Soul Food Cafe on Quindaro Blvd, Ernest fixed broken fixtures and replaced the old incandescent bulbs. “ It really brightened up the place for our customers, and I’m looking forward to lower electricity bills,” said Ruth Scover. At the Infinity Hair Solon, operators were getting eye-strain while cutting their customers’ hair. Ernest fixed the inoperative ceiling fan and replaced all the hot bulbs with cool CFL’s. “The improved lighting literally invites our customer’s into the place,” said TeMishca Dunlap, shop owner.
At Tamika Pledger’s home daycare (Pledger’s Care), Ernest replaced all the old bulbs, and then noticed that the windows were leaky. That could be a problem for the kids in the winter. So he and Richard found some recycled storm windows and tightened the place up. “Thanks so much to J. Gordon Community Development and the Sierra Club,” said Tamika, “it’s a much more comfortable environment for the kids and saves me money as well. Based on what I learned I will continue to make energy saving improvements.” Tamika is also a community activist seeking justice for inner city youth who face daunting obstacles in growing up safely in the inner city.
For more information on the Sierra Club’s EE&C program for Wyandotte County contact
Richard Mabion at 913-481-9920 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Richard is also an elected member of the Kansas Chapter, Sierra Club Executive Committee.