IBEW/NECA Champion
Adopt-A-Watt Program

April 24, 2014


Members of NECA’s Southeast Michigan chapter and Detroit Local 58 have partnered to install electric car charging stations and 102 new energy efficient lights.

No public-private partnership is better known than the Adopt-A-Highway. Travel just about anywhere and you’ll see signs for local business and nonprofit organizations that have traded volunteer hours picking up litter on roadways for some prominent publicity


A few years back, Thomas Withers, a Michigan-based technology innovator, was driving down a highway. He saw an Adopt-A-Highway sign and said, “I thought, ‘What if instead of just picking up trash, sponsors could be solicited to help cash-strapped municipalities finance projects to improve energy efficiency?’” He launched the Adopt-A-Watt program in 2012.

Adopt-A-Watt programs are underway in several cities, supported by IBEW and the National Electrical Contractors Association. It’s free advertising and the kind of community engagement that was unanimously supported in a resolution at the 38th International Convention in Vancouver.

IBEW and NECA are prominent sponsors of some high-profile projects at airports, parking lots and schools where their names and logos are displayed on signs recognizing their mutual concern for the environment and support for their cities.

The Southern Sierras Chapter of NECA and the IBEW have announced they will sponsor 10 Adopt-A-Watt projects in Southern California: five in San Bernardino County, the jurisdiction of San Bernardino Local 477;and five in Riverside County, the jurisdiction of Riverside Local 440.

Journeymen inside wiremen in Riverside Local 440 have retrofitted about 20 parking lot lights at Riverside Municipal Airport with new, energy efficient induction fluorescent lighting systems. These lights will reduce electricity consumption by 60 percent while reducing the airport’s operating costs and carbon footprint

“This is a good outreach program,” says Local 440 Business Manager Robert Frost. “Our locals are showing our support for the community, while simultaneously getting our signatory contractors involved in an airport where they haven’t had much presence.”

Electricians are also working with the Temecula Unified School District retrofitting approximately 100 parking lights on district campuses, significantly reducing the district’s operation costs.

In Royal Oak, Mich., where NAAWP was founded, members of NECA’s Southeast Mich. Chapter and Detroit Local 58 have partnered to install electric car charging stations and 102 new energy efficient lights. Dynaletric and Electrical Vehicle Supply Equipment co-sponsored the project.

“I can’t say enough good things about Adopt-A-Watt,” said Jennifer Mefford, director of business development for Southeast Mich. NECA. “We want to give municipalities an opportunity to finance infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations and other projects at no cost to taxpayers.”

“When sponsors like the IBEW and NECA support the program,” says Withers, “It makes travelers think; maybe I should be doing this in my home or business.”

Local unions interested in adopting energy-saving projects for their municipalities can call Adopt-A-Watt at 866-643-5724 or visit the group’s website at www.adopt-a-watt.com.

“We’ve gotten a wonderful response from IBEW and NECA,” says Withers. Mefford invited representatives from Washington, Illinois and Indiana to an Adopt-A-Watt mini-seminar. Local unions and contractors in Ohio are exploring the program

“We supply the missing ingredient for municipalities and cities to reduce energy costs: cash,” Withers says.


Home page photo used under a Creative Commons License from Flickr userNick Gavey.