Lincoln Light Swap - For the Community, Made Possible by the Community
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to organize and complete the Sierra Energy Watch Program’s light swap event in charming Lincoln, CA. As a part of these light swap events, Sierra Business Council staff members team up with Pacific Gas & Electric and lighting distributors to reach out to small businesses, offering lighting efficiency upgrades during a day-long push through a downtown area. Like the rest of the Sierra Nevada Energy Watch program, we offer lighting products at our rebated cost that make the business’s cost of replacing their lighting with more efficient LED lights significantly less than it would be if they did it on their own.
Being just a few months into my fellowship and entirely new to the process of going door to door talking to downtown businesses, this idea seemed pretty intimidating at first. I wanted to make it clear to business owners that we are not simply a for profit company trying to sell lamps!
I learned quickly that the Sierra Business Council has a great reputation throughout the Sierra and that community members are not only receptive to our help but many will also promote our organization and our work to their community. The former mayor of Lincoln, Councilman Stan Nader, expressed immediate enthusiasm when we told him that we would be doing a light swap in the area. Councilman Nader helped us reach out to the Chamber of Commerce and circulate information about the light swap throughout the community. His efforts as well as the efforts of other Chamber and local media members really got the word out to small business owners. It was fantastic that so many businesses knew what the light swap was and when it was happening before we had even arrived!
At the end of the event, several small businesses in the area signed up and were excited to save energy through Sierra Nevada Energy Watch’s energy rebate process. Through my first light swap experience I began to understand how the reputation that Sierra Business Council has built over the past twenty years really helps us in continuing to reach out and help more community members, and that the help we provide really does benefit a number of communities. I was amazed by the responsiveness of the city to our efforts, as well as their drive to help us help their community. My confidence in reaching out directly to community members has increased significantly, and I hope that future light swap outreaches will be as successful as this one!