Pittsburgh nonprofit GTECH is rolling out a new public-private initiative it hopes will not only reduce residential waste but also improve air quality and create jobs in Allegheny County.
ReEnergize Pittsburgh is a collaboration of local organizations and nonprofits. The goal is to cultivate the potential of people and communities to do the right thing and support a greener economy and improve the health of their neighborhood.
“Allegheny County stands to lead the nation in a self-initiated regional strategy to create jobs while improving public health conditions,” says Andrew Butcher, co-founder and CEO of GTECH.
The initiative will target energy efficiency as a platform for community development, working at a grassroots level to build up community networks and educate homeowners on energy efficiency and the services available.
The average homeowner spends $2300 annually on energy, explains Butcher. With an energy audit, that homeowner can save $500 a year.
ReEnergize hopes to target 2000 homes in 20 communities, engaging some 5000 residents, in the pilot year with the goal of removing hundreds of tons of carbon from the environment.
“All solutions are on the table,” Butcher says. “We’re looking at the best practices around the country; no one solution fits all. We believe actions beget actions. And these actions will yield an upward spiral of community action.”
The program consists of a website and community outreach. ReEnergizepgh.org is a clearinghouse of local resources and services. An executive director will be hired, along with 16-20 paid ambassadors who will work to develop community networks and build partnerships with local businesses.
“In order for the market to grow, and for demand to increase, the range of programs needs to be easily delivered to average resident,” explains Butcher. “It really does take a village to do all this stuff. “
More than 30 organizations are already on board: local utilities, governmental agencies, non-profit service providers, small businesses, education and training programs, foundations, and existing public-private collaborations such as the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative and the Breathe Project.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Andrew Butcher, GTECH