Energy Conservation

2012 Year in Review: Flip the Power energy conservation campaign

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Neighbors learn that you don't need electricity to make a fruit smoothie at the Whitelock Harvest Festival (10/7/12)

In 2012, Reservoir Hill learned that washing machines can be both witty and energy conscious. And even if our comic strips about energy savings were trying to make cold-water settings and clotheslines funny,  the overall purpose of the Flip the Power campaign—conceived, drawn, and produced by neighborhood youth—was to highlight the simplest, cheapest and most effective energy saving actions related to washing, lighting, and heating.

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FLIP-ART-WEB

With support from Baltimore City Office of Sustainability, RHIC recruited more than 230 people to sign the Flip the Power energy saving pledge. Residents committed to turn off lights, wash clothes in cold water, and turn down the thermostat, and in exchange they received Baltimore Energy Challenge energy saving kits and had the opportunity to register for a Project Lightbulb home visit. Between the Project Lightbulb visits, a completely free service in which AmeriCorps members install up to 15 CFL lightbulbs, 2 low flow faucet aerators, 1 low flow shower head, 1 insulating hot water wrap, and 1 CO/smoke detector, and Baltimore Energy Challenge CFL lightbulb giveaways, we estimate that the total energy savings in Reservoir Hill is approximately 4396 kwH per month.

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Tray from Project Lightbulb and Mr. Gary, Madison Ave. resident, enjoy Mr. Gary's newly installed low-flow faucet (8/21/12)

We presented Flip the Power at community events throughout the summer and fall, including National Night Out, Whitelock Community Farm's grand opening celebration at Linden Market, and the Whitelock Harvest Festival.

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Elisa and James celebrate the “Club Bubbles” comic strip giveaway at National Night Out (8/7/12)

In 2012, we also established energy conservation as a priority at John Eager Howard Elementary School by sponsoring energy workshops and presentations for over 300 John Eager Howard students and parents. JEH’s “Cool the Earth” program produced over 170 student-completed “Cool the Earth Actions,” resulting in 93,733 lbs of carbon savings. And John Eager Howard’s “Green Keepers” after-school environmental science club, led by RHIC staff, built a wind turbine strong enough to power a radio. Missy and Renee from Baltimore Energy Challenge also helped to lead a Junior Energy Captain program at John Eager Howard Recreation Center's summer camp. Check out the video they made:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhEJdSfoZ4E]

Finally, here is a sneak preview of the next edition of our Flip the Power comic strip series:

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10 10 12 Meet the Brookfields

Project Lightbulb visits Madison Avenue

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Mr. Gary (left) receives a visit from Project Lightbulb staff Tray and Shurull (8/21/12)

When Reservoir Hill residents sign the FLIP THE POWER pledge, they select the energy  (and money) saving actions, from turning off the lights to lowering the thermostat at night, that they feel confident in accomplishing.  One of the items on the check list is receiving a visit from Project Lightbulb, a completely free service in which AmeriCorps members install up to 15 CFL lightbulbs, 2 low flow faucet aerators, 1 low flow shower head, 1 insulating hot water wrap, and 1 CO/smoke detector.

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Tray, an AmeriCorps member, installs a CFL lightbulb in Mr. Gary's kitchen (8/21/12)

Project Lightbulb has worked on approximately 3,000 Baltimore households, and participating residents have found that they save on average about $100 per year on their energy bill. All you have to do is call RHIC at (410) 225 7547 and we can schedule your appointment directly with Project Lightbulb for whenever is most convenient for you!

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Tray and Mr. Gary admire the newly installed low flow faucet in Mr. Gary's kitchen (8/21/12) 

This is what it looks like to have free lightbulbs, faucets, and insulation installed in your house without having to get on a ladder yourself (and save $100 this year!).

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FLIP THE POWER at National Night Out 2012

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Elisa and James celebrate the "Club Bubbles" comic strip giveaway at National Night Out (8/7/12)

Last week's 2012 National Night Out event was a great opportunity to hang out with neighbors, enjoy live music, eat free food, and pick up the summer's hottest wardrobe accessory--a purple Baltimore Energy Challenge (BEC) bag filled with a CFL lightbulb, first-aid kit, "toilet tank bank,"and an official "Energy Savers" booklet. So far, more than 200 residents have signed the FLIP THE POWER energy conservation pledge, which guarantees them the BEC bag and connects them to Project Lightbulb's free lightbulb installation service. Thanks to Howard Fink for the great pictures!

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Neighbors sign the FLIP THE POWER pledge and receive a Baltimore Energy Challenge bag (8/7/12)

We celebrated the launch of our FLIP THE POWER comic strip series by handing out copies of "Club Bubbles" with RHIC's summer 2012 newsletter and letting kids play around with their own bubble blowing kits.

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Bubbles and "Club Bubbles" comic strips at National Night Out (8/7/12)

But bubbles and purple bags were only a few of the exciting things happening at 2012 National Night Out.  Most notably, residents dedicated the Reservoir St. Park in memory of Willie Mae Davis, a long-time community leader who took great pride in her neighbors and neighborhood.

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Davis family members unveil a boulder name plate dedicating Reservoir St. park in memory of Willie Mae Davis (8/7/12)

Beyond bubbles, bags, and boulders, there were also just a lot of smiles:

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Thanks to Reservoir Hill Mutual Homes, and especially Ruthie Wilder, for their great work hosting National Night Out every year:

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Club Bubbles: Behind the scenes

New Lens designers present a draft comic strip story board for critique (11/17/11)

When RHIC and New Lens youth designers started designing our "Flip the Power" energy conservation outreach project in 2011, we started with a few questions:

How can we make energy conservation seem like something appealing to Reservoir Hill neighbors? Important? Understandable? Urgent?

And don't forget funny, creative, and original.

New Lens designers working on comic book illustrations (1/25/12)

We went through all sorts of ideas, from hanging porch mobiles to lawn signs, that would make energy conservation appear to be a more public, collective effort than the typical energy-related activities--turning off lights, lowering the thermostat-- that happen inside your home.

We finally decided on comic strips. Their bright colors would be attractive to kids, but they would also allow us to slip in useful content for adults. We spent the following days, weeks, and months writing, drawing, revising, and then re-writing, and re-drawing, and revising more. It takes a long time to make stories interesting when the characters are washing machines, light bulbs and sweaters!

New Lens designers and RHIC discuss an early draft of "Club Bubbles" (11/17/11)

But when youth are creating the concepts and designing the final products, you can end up describing energy conservation in ways you never thought possible.  We've now finished three comic strips:

  • Club Bubbles: What happens when laundry machines go to the club?
  • Meet the Brookfields: What do you when your energy efficient boyfriend meets your old school parents for the first time?
  • A Winter Crime Scene: Who will save the neighborhood from a dollar-snatching cold front?

In the coming weeks and months, we will be distributing each comic strip to all 4,000 or so Reservoir Hill households. Here is a sneak peak of Club Bubbles (front and back):

Reservoir Hill Flips the Power

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elisa sculpture at farm

Reservoir Hill resident Elisa Lane installs her kinetic sculpture, "Find Your Power", designed to encourage interest in alternative energy (10/5/2011)

Are you committed to using your power as an energy consumer and engaged community member to make a stronger and healthier Reservoir Hill?

In winter 2009-2010, in collaboration with Baltimore Neighborhood Energy Challenge, 100 households in Reservoir Hill made this commitment  and saved 11.2% on their home energy bill.

This year, through grant support from Baltimore Office of Sustainability and in partnership with Baltimore Energy Challenge, RHIC is excited to open this opportunity to all of Reservoir Hill!

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FLIP-ART-WEB

Sign the "Flip the Power" Pledge and receive:

  • A step-by-step guide to saving hundreds of dollars a year on your BGE bill!
  • Comic strips designed by New Lens youth delivered to your house!
  • Give aways-- like New Lens designed and Reservoir Hill themed laundry bags!
  • A Project Lightbulb visit that provides: 15 CFL bulbs, 2 low flow faucet aerators, 1 low flow shower head, 1 insulating hot water heater wrap and up to 6 feet of accompanying hot water pipe insulation, and 1 CO/Smoke Detector!
  • Baltimore Energy Challenge kits including: a reusable grocery bag, an outdoor CFL light bulb, draft stopper gaskets for outlets, a first aid kit, a toilet tank bank, a light switch decal, and an energy savers guide!

ALL FOR FREE!

You can. . .

  • Turn all the lights off before I leave you house for the day, and before you go to bed and save $20/bulb/year
  • Participate in Project Lightbulb and have 15 energy efficient light bulbs installed in your house at no chargeand save $105/bulb over its lifetime
  • Keep your window draperies and shades over sunny windows open during the day, but remember to close them at night for further insulation and take advantage of free solar heating
  • Lower the thermostat in your house by 5-10degreesat night and save $185/year
  • Shut off/unplug electrical devices such as computers, toasters, chargers, & televisions after using and take control of 20% of your BGEbill
  • Line dry your clothing and/or clean out the lint trap when you do use the dryer and save $300/year
  • Wash full loads clothing in cold water when you do laundry and save $100/year
  • Turn your dishwasher off “heated dry mode” and allow the dishes to air dry and save $50/year
  • Talk to your neighbors about how they can save money and energy like you and help make a stronger, healthier Reservoir Hill

To sign the pledge:  contact Erin Bowman at  

ebowman@reservoirhill.net

, (410)225-7547, or stop by the Reservoir Hill Improvement Council office at 2001 Park Ave!

Make way for bikes (in Reservoir Hill and Lithuania)

Madison Ave bike lane
Madison Ave bike lane

Madison Ave. bike lane (7/28/11)

RHIC works with Baltimore City Department of Transportation on road improvements of all kinds, from fixing potholes to installing speed bumps. In the last year, however, many of the most visible changes to Reservoir Hill streets have had to do with bikes.  Last summer, DOT painted bike lanes on Eutaw Place and Madison Ave., and last fall the City established a Park Ave. signed bike route to connect Druid Hill Park all the way to Dolphin St. in Mt. Vernon.

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Park Ave. signage

Park Ave. bike route sign at intersection of Park Ave. and Whitelock St. (7/28/11)

Most recently, RHIC requested bike racks to encourage people to visit the new German Park playground and Whitelock Community Farm.

Bike racks at Whitelock Communit Farm
Bike racks at Whitelock Communit Farm

Bike racks at Whitelock Community Farm (7/27/11)

All these improvements show that Reservoir Hill is a neighborhood to committed to making biking easier and safer, but we've still got a long ways to go if we want to catch up with Vilnius, Lithuania. Check out how the Mayor of Vilnius is protecting bike lanes against illegal parking:

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lithuanianmayor

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-fWN0FmcIU&feature=channel_video_title]

If you don't have a tank available, your best opportunity to show your support for all the new bike features in Reservoir Hill is to join us on the Charm City Garden Tour on Saturday 8/13/11.  The Tour will start and end on Whitelock St., with groups going out by bike and bus to visit a selection of Westside community gardens.  At around 5pm, everyone will return to a party with food and activities  open to the entire community. While the party is free, click here to register for the Tour.

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