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State and Local Climate and Energy Program

Long-Lasting Greenhouse Gas Reductions for Marginalized Communities throughout Hawaii, the United States, and Beyond

Honolulu, Hawaii

Federal Funding: $499,363
Project Timeline: February 2010 – December 2012

Latest Update

The City and County of Honolulu worked with three partner organizations under the EPA Climate Showcase Communities Program to hold light bulb swaps, collect data from energy monitors, and recruit youth volunteers to conduct energy assessments. The City and County distributed a total of 108,000 CFL bulbs, 306 energy monitors, and 156 energy-saving kits over the course of the three-year program, which wrapped up in December 2012.

The City and County are working to analyze overall project results. Results from a sample set of participants who received an energy monitor revealed that household energy use decreased by almost 5 percent during the first two months. Annually, project participants reduced energy consumption by 12 percent. Responses to household surveys suggest that participants attribute the energy monitor as the main reason they changed activities at home to affect their energy bill, but reinforcing the initial behavior changes is critical to establishing permanent conservation habits.

Project Summary

A Partnership to Model Mass Individual Behavior Change That Leads to Quantifiable and Long-Lasting Reductions in Greenhouse Gases

The City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii, is one of the most fossil-fuel dependent regions in the United States. Its residents pay the country's highest rates for energy. Through this project, the Department of Community Services (DCS), City and County of Honolulu, will promote mass individual behavior changes and efficiency retrofits that result in long-term greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reductions. The project is specifically focusing on marginalized communities throughout the state that have been slow to implement efficiency and conservation measures. Reductions in energy consumption achieved through this program will reduce GHG emissions from both direct energy consumption and from reduced delivery of fuels to Hawaii.

With Climate Showcase Communities funding, DCS is taking a multi-faceted approach to reducing fossil fuel consumption while promoting the development and use of renewable energy sources. Included in DCS's approach are intensive community outreach, development of a Hawaii-specific energy audit, training and deployment of household energy auditors, installation of weatherization kits, installation of real-time energy monitors, and ongoing engagement of individuals in a social network that fosters continued GHG reductions. The ultimate intended outcome for this work is a permanent change in individual behavior that results in quantifiable reductions in energy use and the consequent GHG emissions.

While DCS is providing fiscal oversight, project reporting, and grant support, much of the on-the-ground work will be completed by three partnering organizations. Blue Planet Foundation is leading community outreach and canvassing efforts, designed to swap 60,000 to 75,000 incandescent bulbs for energy-efficient CFL and LED bulbs, and will report on the effectiveness of these efforts. Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps is co-designing the energy audit, training youth to conduct energy audits, leading energy audit activities, and will co-publish Hawaii-specific energy audit best practices and energy auditor software. Kanu Hawaii is providing overall project management for the duration of the two-year project, co-designing the energy audit, designing and deploying real-time energy monitors in 300 households, and creating a social network for ongoing engagement, among other tasks.

The project was expected to result in a reduction of GHG emissions of over 3,700 metric tons per year, residential savings of $660,000 per year, and reduced electricity use of 2.7 million kWh per year. The project results ultimately far exceeded the initial estimates.

Community Characteristics

Population 903,231
Area 600 square miles
Government Type County
Community Type Urban, Suburban, and Rural
Median Household Income $68,655

Program Results

  Reported Results (as of September 2012) Projected Cumulative Results
Annual GHG Reductions 4,903 mt CO2e 3,700 mt CO2e
Annual Residential Cost Savings $2,322,187 $660,000
Annual Electricity Reductions 6,634,821 kWh 2,700,000 kWh
Jobs Generated 28 20

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