At this evening’s Natty Awards, LifeCity will auction a decorative chandelier in honor of New Orleans’ most sustainable businesses. The chandelier was crafted by artist Mark Kirk from recycled showerheads. The showerheads were salvaged from Energy Smart’s multi-family direct install program which replaces inefficient fixtures with low-flow showerheads in addition to making energy efficiency improvements for Entergy customers in Orleans Parish.
The Natty Awards or Natties, the annual sustainable business awards ceremony and conclusion to the Green Games, will recognize the city’s most sustainable organizations from the past year. Auctioning of the chandelier at the event will present an opportunity to showcase one of the many ways in which organizations can profit from going green. Similarly, by donating the item to tonight’s auction, it will demonstrate the benefits of being a sustainability conscious organization in New Orleans.
Prior to being crafted into chandeliers, the showerheads were being warehoused in Energy Smart’s storage facility until being landfilled for a cost. Wishing to offset the waste being created by the program, Energy Smart approached LifeCity for a more sustainable solution to growing stock piles of discarded showerheads. Liz Shephard, CSO and founder of LifeCity, was able to connect Energy Smart with local recycling artist Mark Kirk who jumped at the opportunity to turn waste into art.
The connection has been a fantastic opportunity for Mark and his store, Unique Products, which sells pieces hand made from recycled materials. Mark calls the process of turning waste items into new goods “up-cycling.” Referring to the showerheads received from Energy Smart Mark said, “When we finally got one apart there at least 100 pieces. All of which couldn’t be used for the chandeliers.” From the remaining parts Mark was able to create a line of home furnishings and jewelry which he now sells in his store.
Mark has taken on similar ventures to support green businesses in past years. In 2013, Mark was able to take discarded incandescent bulbs provided by Green Light New Orleans, another locally based green non-profit organization, and turn them into Christmas trees. The trees were constructed with Mark’s guidance by a group of third grade students. Once finished the trees were then sold in store fronts along Magazine St. The proceeds were then donated back to Green Light New Orleans to benefit their mission.
This particular chandelier will make its debut at tonight’s auction and award ceremony. Energy Smart’s Senior Program Manager Alex Scott said, “I can’t wait to see the finished product.” Energy Smart’s multi-family direct install program has installed over 42,000 energy savings devices in 3,400 apartments in New Orleans, for a total savings of over 2.5 million kWh. Through this partnership, both organizations hope to continue to create additional environmental savings by turning what were once a throwaway items into valuable works of art.
Energy Smart administers Entergy New Orleans’ energy efficiency program, helping electric customers save energy and save money through energy assessments and valuable cash rebates. Energy Smart can help pay up to $5,000 towards home energy improvements, and could save homeowners and renters 20% or more on utility bills! To find out how to participate, call (866) 721-0249, visit http://www.energysmartnola.info/index.php, or email Info@EnergySmartnola.com.
Unique Products is the creative endeavor of recycling artists Mark Kirk and Heather Macfarlane. Located in New Orleans since fall 1999, UP is an environmentally friendly retail gallery providing green themed home decor, accessories and lighting to a new and ever renewing New Orleans and beyond. Every item is individually designed and handmade by the artists. UP/ Unique Products is located at 2038 Magazine Street inside ‘2038’ in the historic Lower Garden District of New Orleans. You can contact the store directly by calling (504) 529-2441 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.