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Renewable Energy Over Your Head: One Block off the Grid Makes Solar Power Possible, Hundreds of Roofs at a Time

| Thursday November 20th, 2008 | 0 Comments

1Block off the Grid, an initiative powered by a model of community purchasing, aims to help the masses reduce their carbon footprint through affordable residential renewable energy products. By negotiating pricing with vendors, expensive — and often complicated to implement — environmental technologies and solutions become accessible to the participating group members, making widespread change possible on a grand scale. And with the education and logistical support available through the power of the 1BOG community, anyone can begin living a sustainable lifestyle.
Founded by Sylvia Ventura, Dan Barahona and Dave Llorens, 1BOG was built on what they affectionately refer to as the “Clean Living Trifecta,” focusing on the primary barriers to clean energy living:
COST: Community pricing leads to significant cost savings, making sustainable living as affordable as it is critical for the environment.
COMPLEXITY: Education on both the technology and processes helps consumers understand the mechanics of sustainable living so that they can easily adopt it in their everyday lives.
COMMUNITY: Focusing on local communities helps foster growth by identifying key ambassadors within each area who can spread the word and promote sustainable living that is suitable for each market that 1BOG enters, and offers built-in support through their appointed Field Organizers.


It wasn’t long after they launched that their efforts got the attention of well known start up entrepreneur, Steve Newcomb, Founder and CEO of Virgance, an activism-driven company committed to clean living, sustainability, and social change through their signature initiatives such as “Carrotmob” and “Lend Me Some Sugar.”
screenshot_virgance.jpg After identifying a multitude synergies between their organizations, 1Block off the Grid was officially acquired by Virgance, giving it the back end support and resources to expand more rapidly, and in concert with Virgance’s other clean living endeavors. “Taking successful small-scale activism campaigns and turning them into large-scale movements is what we do.” Stated Steve about the acquisition. “While we are successfully starting to scale internally developed campaigns like Carrotmob, 1BOG was Virgance’s first test to see if we could acquire an external campaign and scale it. Today, I am proud to announce that we are expanding the 1BOG campaign to 20 cities effective immediately and are setting our sights on scaling to hundreds of cities over the long term.”
“The portfolio of campaigns within Virgance brings a whole new dimension to what we are trying to accomplish with 1BOG. Having access to tools and expertise such as online social networks puts 1BOG right in the middle of the action, where people actually connect and communities are formed. This feels very much like community organization 2.0.” commented Sylvia on their expansion into 20 cities.

Thanks to the support of Virgance, and commitment of the entire team in bringing sustainability to the forefront, homeowners in the following cities now have the incentive — and leverage — to live cleaner:
Aspen, CO
Austin, TX
Bergen County, NJ
Berkeley, CA
Boston, MA
Brooklyn, NY
Chicago, IL
Denver, CO
Las Vegas, NV
Los Angeles, CA
Miami, FL
New Orleans, LA
Oakland, CA
Portland, OR
Sacramento, CA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Jose, CA
Seattle, WA
Washington, DC
How it works is actually very simple — yet very powerful. It’s a numbers game. The bigger the numbers, the greater the savings. So, based on how many people are signed up in each city, the better the terms 1BOG is able to negotiate with installers and manufacturers. This makes the role of Field Organizer critical as they can help to bolster those numbers by helping to educate locals about the importance of renewable energy and encourage sign ups. By doing so, each city has the power to maximize their individual savings — and sustain the environment in the process.
High end investments such as solar panels may have seemed out-of-reach before, but thanks to 1BOG and Virgance, they are available to everyone in any home type and at any income level. 1BOG even offers solar programs for landlords so that renters can also have access to — and benefit from — cleaner living. And as Sylvia points out, it’s more critical than ever to start instituting renewable solutions. “Energy prices will increase overtime. Every year your electric bill goes up. Over the past 30 years, electricity rates have increased 4-7% annually, and it’s only going to get worse. With the rapidly increasing prices of oil and natural gas, ‘dirty electricity’ is becoming very expensive. The cleaner options (wind, solar, geothermal and tidal) are getting more attractive, but developing the technology is still costly and requires large capital investments from the utility companies. Eventually those costs are passed on to us, the consumers. So by getting your very own solar system you are guaranteed access to a ‘flat rate’ on your energy, regardless of how much the market fluctuates – or how long it takes the industry to reach acceptable carbon emission standards.”
As the harmful effects on the environment continue, along with the depletion of our natural resources, there has never been a better time to take action, and with cost no longer being a deterrent for embracing solar power, cleaner living is just a sign up away. But solar power is just the beginning. The powerhouse team of Virgance and 1BOG have next generation residential products identified, and as they continue to penetrate the market, they will be able to effectively reduce the strain on the environment — and your wallet.
What are you waiting for? Check out 1Bog for Affordable Residential Renewable Energy Products.


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