Green non-profit targets low-income residents: Director envisions city’s first ‘eco district’
By Austin Light CHARLOTTE — Nathan Roberts, executive director of Green Efficient Energy, a new Charlotte nonprofit working to “green” low-income areas of the city, dreams of creating an eco district. The district would be a model, for the city and even the nation, of green homes and sustainable living. It’s an ambitious goal, and Roberts has more than a few hurdles ahead of him. “A lot of people in the areas we go don’t have Internet or a subscription to the newspaper,” Roberts said. “They don’t even know what ‘going green’ is, so first we have to inform and educate them.” Roberts and his coworkers are targeting lower-income parts of Charlotte, including Villa Heights and Belmont near North Davidson Street. Informing residents about sustainability and related resources requires a lot of old-fashioned leg work, Roberts said. When they first canvassed the area, they teamed with the Sierra Club to hand out informational fliers and energy-efficient light bulbs to homeowners and renters. Roberts said they gave away about 120 light bulbs.