In the United States, 44% of low-income households struggle to pay their utility bills, affecting their ability to afford necessities such as food and health expenses. There is a high demand for, but low availability of, energy efficiency services in underserved neighborhoods, creating an opportunity for community-based programs to fill this inherent gap. This pilot project aims to bring energy savings and education to a uniquely targeted portion of Salt Lake City, UT, through the exchange of light-emitting diode bulbs and examines its feasibility in addressing energy insecurity at larger scales. Through the 8-month project duration, 1432 bulbs were exchanged at 23 events reaching 181 households in low-income areas that, through a year of use, were estimated to save residents approximately $18,219 in electricity bills, reducing CO2
emissions from power plants by 122 metric tons. Since this pilot reached less than 1% of households, we extrapolated a reach of 2%, 5%, and 7.5%, and found substantial potential decreases in power plant emissions and financial savings. Ongoing expansion efforts include more direct engagement with trusted members of the targeted communities and stronger attempts to engage participants in energy efficiency education as our project encountered some difficulties in reaching the intended population.
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