Energy and water efficiency pilot is helping food banks cut utility bills, redirect savings

This information provided by Smart Cities Council Compassionate Cities.

As Nancy Curby of Feeding America puts it, "Every dollar a food bank saves on utility costs becomes a dollar that helps to serve more families who face hunger." That says enough about the value of the water and energy efficiency pilot that Southface, an energy focused Atlanta-based nonprofit, and the JPB Foundation are backing. No doubt nonprofits of all types can benefit from lessons learned. – Liz Enbysk


The Nonprofit Energy and Water Efficiency (NEWE) Initiative will be piloted over three years at Feeding America food banks to help develop a sustainable energy and water efficiency program for nonprofit organizations. Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks across the U.S.

The pilot's goal is to demonstrate the value of investing in energy, water and resource efficiency -- providing a path for nonprofit organizations to reduce their annual utility costs and redirect the savings to helping feed the hungry.

"Nonprofits are good targets for efficiency programs as they are under pressure to reduce expenses and often occupy inefficient buildings that needlessly waste energy, water and other resources," said Chandra Farley, NEWE Initiative program manager at Southface. 

Seeing results in Tuscaloosa
Three food banks are participating in the first year of the Feeding America pilot:

  • West Alabama Food Bank in Tuscaloosa
  • East Texas Food Bank in Tyler
  • St. Louis Area Foodbank

According to Southface, projected annual savings total $29,000. After just five months, the West Alabama Food Bank realized more than 11% in energy savings while significantly improving lighting quality.

More food banks will be invited to participate in early 2017. Learn more about the NEWE Initiative.

The JPB Foundation, which is funding the pilot, is a New York-based philanthropy that supports transformational initiatives that help people living in poverty as well as medical research and environmental sustainability.

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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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