Light Up Avondale: A Project Update

Posted July 13, 2018 by Sophia Cifuentes

By Lauren McClure & Fia Turczynewycz, July 2018

Light Up Avondale is in full swing this summer! As you may recall, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden received a $425,000 grant from the Duke Class Benefit Fund to help transform the neighborhood of Avondale into one of the most energy efficient communities in Cincinnati. With this grant, the Zoo, as well as our partners from Donovan Energy and Mill Creek Alliance, are facilitating the installment of LED light bulbs in churches, businesses, community centers, and residential homes of Avondale during 2017-2018!

The neighborhood of Avondale has been the home of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden for almost 150 years, and we strive to be the best neighbors we can be. Understanding our responsibility to be a good neighbor, we work hard to build strong relationships with neighborhood organizations, schools, and residents. A strong community means a strong Zoo.

Avondale is predominately a low-income, high-unemployment, high-crime, and underserved area. With the support of Duke CBF, the Greenest Zoo in America can share its expertise with energy efficiency and environmental sustainability to benefit neighboring homes and business owners. Through this switch to LED lights, we are helping our Avondale neighbors lower their utility bills by hundreds of dollars every year. That is money that can instead be reinvested back into families and the community. The energy savings seen with this project will also help to decrease the amount of pollutants in the air, reducing the risk of major health issues in the neighborhood such as asthma.

Earlier this year, installations and upgrades were made to many of the local churches and non-profits, significantly impacting their employees and community members. Having successfully tackled some of the bigger organizations in Avondale, our team is now beginning to help make the LED switch in many of our neighbor’s homes!

To do this we have partnered with the Mill Creek Alliance Green Corps and Green Team. These two groups consist of both young adult and teen members who receive supervision, training, and employment in environmental related work. Aristotle Buie, a Green Corps employee, shares his thoughts on his experience with LUA – “During my time working on Light Up Avondale I have learned that most people aren’t familiar with LED light bulbs, much less the benefits of using them. It feels good to know I’m helping people save money while at the same time, lessening people’s impact on the environment. I’ve always tried to encourage friends, family, and even strangers to take a greener approach to things. It’s not always easy to explain why being green is the right thing to do, especially in my community. This program allows me to easily install environmental and economic benefits for homeowners by simply changing a light bulb.”

Currently twenty-one homes in Avondale have already made the switch to LED lighting. By the end of the year, we are looking to upgrade a total of 300 residential homes!

If you, or anyone you know, are an Avondale resident and would like to participate in the Light Up Avondale Project, please contact Fia Turczynewycz at (513) 487-3355 or [email protected]