Changing More Than Lightbulbs

Is your company passionate about the environment? Green Light New Orleans offers many ways to help the city get a little greener.

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THE BASICS

MISSION

Green Light New Orleans invests energy in people by assisting New Orleans residents in person, one household at a time. Volunteers install free, energy- efficient lightbulbs, rain barrels and backyard vegetable gardens to demonstrate that a mass movement of individual actions creates a significant impact on our environment and community. The organization connects New Orleans residents to relevant, local opportunities and encourages individual action so that everyone can benefit from a vibrant, resilient and sustainable community.

CONTACT
8203 Jeannette Street
(504) 324-2429 Greenlight-NewOrleans.org

 

SMALL, INDIVIDUAL ACTIONS, REPEATED many thousands of times by thousands of people, can add up to make a huge difference — that’s the driving force behind Green Light New Orleans, an organization founded in 2006 by Swiss native Andreas Hoffmann with the goal of addressing the world’s environmental crisis caused by global warming and pollution.

Green Light New Orleans’ volunteers install free energy-efficient light bulbs, rain barrels and backyard vegetable gardens in an effort to demonstrate that a mass movement of individual actions creates a significant impact on our environment and community.

The organization has installed 600,000 CFL lightbulbs in 28,000 homes and businesses in the New Orleans area in 12 years — all at no cost to residents.

“The goal of the program is to have a positive environmental impact by increasing the use of energy-efficient light bulbs, helping residents reduce their utility bills and reducing the carbon footprint of the community,” Hoffman said.

Green Light’s efforts have attracted the attention of large companies like Entergy — which sends several volunteer groups, consisting of 10 to 25 employees, to volunteer throughout the year — and Domain Companies. The real estate investment and development firm recently sent 65 team members out as volunteers.

Green Light also builds free backyard vegetable gardens. The organization has developed a simple, raised-bed garden system that can be easily reconstructed by volunteers in backyards throughout the city. Don’t know how to garden? The Edible Teaching Garden at 2420 Cambronne Street provides an educational space for Green Light gardeners and, for $20 per month, participants can come and harvest their own food.

Green Light also offers the community beautifully painted, repurposed 50-gallon rain barrels.

“Catching 50 or 100 gallons of water on your property during a storm where millions of gallons of water make it into the city’s stormwater system may not seem like much,” Hoffman said, “but if we have the same success with rain barrels that we had with light bulbs, we could install two barrels at 27,000 homes and we’d be catching 2.7 million gallons of water during each rain event.”

Volunteers come from all around the country, from sororities to big corporations, to clean, prep and paint the barrels.

Hoffman continues to start conversations about how community members can work together to create environmental change and emphasizes that it is a problem that will take decades to fix.

“But by supporting Green Light New Orleans, you lower the city’s carbon foot- print, provide access to healthy food and help manage our stormwater,” he said. “I do it because I want our children and our grand- children to have a place to live in their futures.”

 

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ENTERGY AND DOMAIN SPEAK OUT ON THE VALUE OF CORPORATE VOLUNTEERISM

“What employees appreciate the most is the opportunity to make an impact on their communities,” said Kaleb Stargel, Entergy Services program coordinator and corporate social responsibility. “This is their home. Our employees love knowing that they can power life in their communities and neighborhoods by volunteering for organizations that make a lasting impact like Green Light. Volunteering also provides employees with an opportunity to work with and make connections with colleagues in other departments who they might not otherwise get to work with, or even meet.”

“Domain’s community engagement initiatives and social impact work are a significant part of our DNA as a company,” said Mary McCullough, Domain Companies’ community engagement director. “Any company that invests in growing their corporate volunteer platform will see that investment pay dividends.”

 

 

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HOW YOUR BUSINESS CAN GET INVOLVED

Green Light offers year-round volunteer opportunities Monday through Saturday for groups of any size. Sustainable lunches can also be arranged.

Buy a rain barrel or form a team to decorate a barrel. Each barrel costs $500 to produce, including administration costs and raw materials. In 2021, Green Light aims to create 1,200 barrels at a cost of $600,000.