Green Buildings Open House

Green Buildings Open House

Save The Date: October 5, 2013

Above photo courtesy South Mountain Company, 2012 entrant for the Zero Net Energy Building Award

Welcome to the biggest green energy event in the Northeast

Green Buildings Open House advances sustainable energy practices

GBOH is an opportunity for the public to learn about energy improvements in their communities, and connect with NESEA members who are often behind the designs, upgrades, and products seen on the tour.

A Special Thanks To Our Sponsor:

Our 2012 Survey: what we learned

With the support of the National Grid Foundation, we were able to conduct our first ever impact assessment survey of the program. The results were staggering.

96% of GBOH tour participants made some energy efficiency improvements as a result of going on the tour.

In other words, seeing for yourself really works.

Click here to view the full results of our survey here

GBOH in the past

Green Buildings Open House (GBOH) got its start as an annual free consumer education program in 2002. It was aligned with, but run independently from the American Solar Energy Society’s National Solar Tour (on the first weekend of October). The basic program mechanics involved us inviting home or building owners who employed any energy efficiency measures to list their property in our database. To help promote all of our hosts sites, we would ship GBOH lawn signs, NESEA magazines and other literature to each host, as well as contacting local press outlets and sending out emails. We also made the database of hosts searchable on our website. In addition we helped tour organizers coordinate their efforts, and mailed sign-in forms to each host, so that with their help, we could track just how many people were taking the tour.

With 400 host sites participating from around the northeast, this program grew to attract up to 10,000 participants, and required the attention of a full-time staff person. GBOH required herculean effort, but as you might have seen on the GBOH landing page, that effort paid great dividends.

We’ve done some careful examination of GBOH as a program, as well as how it relates to our mission and our practice. Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Green Buildings Open House is extremely resource intensive, but produces good results.
  • Green Buildings Open House has grown beyond the scope of our ability to coordinate it to its maximum effect. In addition, it has also outgrown the traditional single Saturday allotted for the tour.
  • While “on mission”, the combination of GBOH’s consumer-education focus and absence of site vetting means that it does not accurately align with our wider BuildingEnergy brand.
  • Our new (for 2012) partnership with Business Member EnergySage showed us a better way to display host sites in such a way that the listings are more comprehensive, and keep the momentum from the tour moving year-round.
  • The sites with the greatest visitor volumes were sites with passionate hosts who were able to effectively self-promote in addition to our support, instead of relying solely on us.

GBOH in the future

So, what does this mean for GBOH? This means that while we will be changing what we offer for tour organization, and eventually, how the tour is structured, the tour itself is not going away. Instead, for 2013, our focus will be to enable tour hosts to be independent, and support those who are excited about their projects and confident in their ability to self-promote.

GBOH operates in conjunction with the American Solar Energy Society’s National Solar Tour and helps kick off National Energy Action Month.