Need to ReCharge?

It’s not just individuals who need to recharge their batteries and conserve energy these days, it’s families, communities, the whole country. And for thousands across America, a new way of living begins on Monday, January 19th, Martin Luther King, Jr. day. That’s the day Barack and Michelle Obama are asking every American to take part in a national day of service.

In this spirit, ecoAmerica has teamed up with Clean Tech for Obama and Green Business Leaders for Obama to create a simple but powerful service opportunity. It’s called ReCharge America.


Among many features, the website offers a simple 10-step toolkit that anyone can use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save hundreds of dollars each year in energy costs. Here you’ll find tips about saving energy – and money – with lighting, heating, air conditioning, kitchen appliances, washers, dryers, water heaters, faucets, computers, home entertainment systems and heating vents. Cars also come under scrutiny. (The above video with Lisa Ling walks you through the 10 steps.)

Why is this the right time to reexamine how we live?

We spoke with Lisa Renstrom, former president of the Sierra Club and ReCharge America co-creator.

“In these tough economic times, why not get some money back just by being more energy efficient? We’re all looking to improve our budgets,” says Renstrom. “But we haven’t really tried to make our homes energy efficient. And once we do, we not only serve ourselves, we serve our country.”

National service may begin on Monday, but it can be woven into the fabric of the rest of our lives, says Renstrom.

“In my own experience, all of this is a journey. This home energy tune-up is about taking the first step. This is to get motivated, to take action, and then the next step naturally follows.”

The ReCharge initiative is also featured at the USAService site.

– with reporting by Peter Meech