Live Pono: free home eco-upgrades for teachers, farmers, and more!
Teachers, first responders, farmers, certain volunteers and students are keystone members of a thriving and livable society, and yet earn less than many careers that don’t contribute as much to our society. Our company has been fortunate enough to have the support of an energy conservation program in Hawaii that funds some of our work with lower income individuals, helping them save money on their utility bills every month. We’ve seen the power in this work–it helps create social equity and relieve financial stress from those who need help while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating local self-reliance. We don’t think this type of work should be limited to cities and towns with progressive leadership, so we are pleased to announce the Live Pono Program.
How does it work?
Through our Live Pono shop, and through our Patreon page, we collect money from supporters interested in helping fund home eco-upgrades for teachers, farmers, and other wonderful and giving people in our community that earn less than they deserve. We pool the money and when we have enough to green a home, we contact the people at the top of of the list who’ve requested it. (So get on the list if you haven’t already!) We green the home, at no cost to the resident, and then spread some gratitude on social media (residents are welcome/encouraged, but not required, to also spread the love).
We provide 100% transparency on the flow of money. Our average invoice to green a home is less than $500, and for our paying customers, we guarantee it pays for itself quickly in terms of lower utility bills or they get a refund, so you know it’s an effective scope of work. Sustainability is not so difficult, but getting it into the homes of individuals that need it most is a major challenge without outside funding.
Who qualifies to get a free eco-upgrade?
Basically, if people embody the “Live Pono” mantra and give back through their efforts, we want to help. People qualify for this program based on what they do “full time”. An after-school math tutor would not qualify, but a 9th grade Biology teacher at a public school definitely would. Someone volunteering a few hours a week would not qualify, but someone volunteering full time through VISTA or another similar program would, for instance.
- Teachers. Anyone teaching at a school, no matter the subject, grade, or whether it’s public or private, is qualified to participate. We <3 teachers, and feel they simply don’t get thanked enough in our society.
- Farmers. These wonderful people are creating local food systems that feed people, rebuild soil (which removes carbon from the atmosphere), and create green jobs. Priority will be given to certified organic farmers.
- Volunteers and nonprofit employees. People volunteering for an accredited civil service or other public benefit organization (VISTA, Peace Corps, etc.) are qualified, so long as the organization they volunteer for has a progressive mission like sustainability, women’s rights, social justice, and the like. This is up to our discretion, as there are a lot of nonprofits out there that are not so pono, and we reserve the right to politely refuse service.
- First responders. Full-time firefighters, First Aid/Paramedics, and the like.
- Students. Full-time adult students enrolled in an accredited college or university.
- People living in Section 8 housing are also qualified for this program.
How do I sign up?
Simply fill out the form on the bottom of this page!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- I’m interested in signing up to support this program. How will we know how the money is being spent?
100% transparency is provided! Each month, we’ll post information about this program into our newsletter. It will detail how much money is in the pool currently, the people we’ve served, the programs we did at their homes, and what our plans are going forward. Again, here’s our Patreon page. Thank you!
- Does everyone in the household have to qualify?
No. Just one adult member of the household. If you have one insurance salesperson and one teacher, you’re still good.
- What does the service include?
You can get a general sense of what we do here. Nothing is “required”. The resident participating in this program can pick and choose from among the offerings we have. If they want a particular LED or to get their window better insulated, great, if not, all good, we move on to the next item.
- How is the money spent?
We bill through time and materials. Our labor is billed at $60 per hour, and materials are installed at retail price. We’ll go through the customer’s home, give them some options, and they can pick what they like (including getting a chance to “test drive” some options to check on lighting quality, color, shower flow rates, etc.), and they get what they want, and nothing they don’t. Whatever is installed is billed at retail price, and labor is just tallied on a quarter-hour increment. Simple!
- Will priority be given, or will it be a first-come-first-served model?
We reserve the right to exercise some discretion on this matter, but for the most part it will be first-come-first-served. There may be an occasion in which an incredibly deserving person signs up and has a bit of a time pressure (as in, they may default the following month if they can’t cut their utility bills, or they’re leaving for an overseas volunteer mission in a month and want to green their family’s home before they leave). In cases like that, we may choose to bump them to the top of the list, but if we do, like all things in this program, we’ll be 100% transparent about it.