In 2010, Global Exchange developed the Green Economy Leadership Training (GELT) to implement green economy solutions (home weatherization, establishing urban gardens, etc.) while training individuals in how to build, work and live in a new local, green economy/clean energy framework. GELT was based in Highland Park – a low-income community in Detroit. Full-time volunteers worked side-by-side with Highland Park community members to put energy efficiency and LEED for Neighborhood Development guidelines into practice. Read our Blog.
Over three years GELT supported 100 people in the training, certified 30 individuals in permaculture design, 7 in solar photovoltaic design (recognized by NABCEP) and trained each articipant in residential energy efficiency, social justice, project development and business generation.
Additionally, the community impact of GELT was tremendous. Nearly 3,000 residents were impacted by GELT projects. In Highland Park, 125 homes received free, energy efficiency upgrades, saving residents an estimated $200 per year on their utility bill as well as critical information regarding energy consumption.
A vacant lot was transformed into a full-scale community playground, using resources recovered from nearby neighborhoods, demonstrating creative, practical options to blight. A year-round greenhouse, complete with solar-powered fans, was built to educate, employ and feed residents, as access to healthy food and nutritional literacy has been community-identified, as a need, while establishing the foundation for a revenue-driving, local food system.
Additionally, a residential home was ecologically deconstructed, paving the way to rehabilitation, but also to provide examples of the abundant amount of usable resources available in vacant homes, challenging the option of environmentally-damaging demolition.