GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted
Green Building News

Seattle’s Green Blocks Project Targets Home Efficiency

A pilot program of the Environmental Outreach and Stewardship Alliance is providing free home assessments and follow-up services to Seattle homeowners on a bock-by-block basis

Ready for evaluation A Green Blocks Project coverage area in Seattle whose residences surround a public school.
Image Credit: Environmental Outreach and Stewardship Alliance

With the first allotment of weatherization funds released to the states and, in turn, to the community agencies that hire local contractors, lots of local organizations have come up with plans that will attempt to get the greenest bang out of a weatherization buck.

However, for programs whose mission is not necessarily to go right in and make home-performance improvements but rather to encourage homeowners to make the improvements, the process can be more complicated and success a little more elusive.

We’ve noted, for example, the strategy of the ClimateSmart program being deployed in Boulder, Colorado, where energy-audit technicians go door-to-door and work directly with homeowners to try to get them to act on audit information.

And now a somewhat similar approach is being used by a nonprofit based in Seattle, the Environmental Outreach and Stewardship Alliance, which has developed a pilot program designed to assess not only home energy efficiency but also deficiencies in the use of water and fossil fuels, solid waste removal, and landscaping.

Diagnosis and prescription

Called the Green Blocks Project, the program is providing free home environmental performance assessments to many of the homeowners who responded to program-application requests posted by EOS Alliance in June. The group says it chose which city blocks to target based on the number of applications received from each block. For this pilot program, whose assessment period began July 6 and runs through August 21, 10 city blocks were selected.

Conducted by professionals certified by the Building Performance Institute, the assessments include a report sent to each homeowner that outlines home performance, recommends improvements, and identifies available services and training as well as applicable grants, rebates, and tax incentives.

EOS Alliance says recommended remedies for performance deficiencies can include installation of smart meters, programmable thermostats, attic and wall insulation, weather stripping, door sweeps, gap sealant, low-flow water fixtures, compact fluorescent lighting, rain barrels, storm water bioswales, and/or vegetable gardens.

For homeowners who do follow through on their Green Blocks assessments by making recommended improvements, EOS Alliance will track their home’s energy, water, and fuel usage for at least a year to note the benefits and changes in consumption. And of course that also will be a good way to measure the success of the Green Blocks program.

EOS Alliance’s sustainability program director, Shannon Luoma, told GBA that the organization is still trying to secure funding that would be used to help pay for recommended improvements.

“If the funds do not go through,” she says, “then we will be working with homeowners and block captains to pool together the collective purchasing power of their neighbors to get them all better deals on weatherization services. Kind of like buying in bulk, we’ll help to negotiate a better price for services to the homeowners.”


Log in or create an account to post a comment.



Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |