Swiss native Andreas Hoffmann founded Green Light New Orleans in 2006 to assist in the sustainable rebuilding of New Orleans and at the same time offset the pollution of his touring band. What began as one man’s “light bulb moment,” Green Light New Orleans now operates one of the largest energy efficiency programs in New Orleans. Green Light’s free CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) and installation program is arguably the most successful large-scale energy efficient light bulb distribution program in the country. The effectiveness of Green Light’s program lies in the organization’s innovative direct installation approach, which guarantees, to a larger extent than any other method, the resultant energy, emissions, and utility cost reductions.
The goal of the program is to have a positive environmental impact by increasing the use of CFLs, helping residents reduce their utility bills and reducing the carbon footprint of the community. The service is free. Green Light changes awareness as we change the bulbs, planting a seed that shows participants that small changes can make a big difference in combating the effects of climate change and rebuilding sustainably.
Green Light has recently expanded its energy efficiency work to include a stronger community health focus and address the fresh food access gap by building free backyard vegetable gardens. Like energy efficient CFLs, backyard vegetable gardens serve as a tool by which residents can save money on reoccurring costs and reduce their own carbon footprint. Gardens have the added benefit of increasing a family’s access to fresh, affordable produce. Green Light has developed a simple, raised-bed garden system that can be easily reconstructed by volunteers in backyards throughout the city. Green Light provides the tools, resources, and support to help gardeners learn how to maximize their garden yield.
In addition to the free CFL and installation program, Green Light has expanded its outreach in an effort to engage all New Orleanians. Green Light teaches elementary-age youth through its SPARK environmental action and education program, partners with local high school clubs and university courses to develop youth leaders through community service, and manages an energy efficient light bulb program for small businesses and churches. In 2010, Green Light New Orleans launched Tip the Block to increase neighborhood impact and connect residents to an array of local resources specific to their interests and needs.