Greening NYC Step by Step: Tale of the Green Lady

Guest post by Carla Davis

On the frontlines of the green revolution are the foot soldiers. I have become known as "the green lady" since the unseasonably warm days of mid December 2006, by selling renewable energy made from wind and water door to door to small businesses in New York City. The first people to sign up have been creative shops in areas of the Lower East Side, the East Village, Williamsburg, and Park Slope Brooklyn.

Initial response to the green energy pitch can go from an excited "I didn't know I could do that!", to a sly "now, how are you going to do that...?", to confusion between electrons and energy drinks as in "we have no more space in our refrigerator", to sighs over landlords who control the utilities. Often the owners are stretched thin, and I am thrilled that so many find the time to grab the bill and make the verification call.Each sale requires schmoozing about the logistics of the supply and delivery of energy. The wind farms and hydropower are located in upstate New York, and the energy from the supply company is delivered through the infrastructure or "grid " to each NYC business by the public utility company.

Playing energy bill sleuth to sort out issues with bills helps. One herbalist shop owner recalled that she had allowed her neighbor to put a large old model freezer in the basement of her business. Her vegan employee added that the freezer was "full of meat". Yes, that will make the monthly charges big.

Making a snap move to green power yourself seems to be key to getting others to do the same. Along the way there are the green enthusiasts with the expression "sweet!", a broad smile, leads and promising areas to suggest. The gray concrete sometimes reveals a vision of an enchanted verdant city.

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