Even the classic neighborhood block party has been upgraded for energy efficiency. Communities in New Hampshire are pioneering a popular initiative to reduce local energy consumption and improve conservation. Orion (March-April 2009) reports that neighborhood “energy raisers” are in high demand. Organized barn-raiser style, the events bring together neighbors, acquaintances, and complete strangers alike to install solar hot-water heating systems on their homes.
The hefty fuel savings and lack of labor costs mean each system’s initial expenses are recouped in only a few years, and homeowners who have had a system installed are simply asked to volunteer at other energy raisers. With 30-some raisers completed and a burgeoning network of 300-plus “laborers,” the group hopes to school other communities via an instructional CD.