June 2, 2015
With a whole-home approach to energy efficiency, Geoff Chapin founded Next Step Living, a sustainable business success story that helps homeowners in the Northeast save energy and money. And, with the founding of Next Step Giving, the philanthropic program created within Next Step Living, Chapin is also working to provide access to clean water and electricity to rural communities in Africa. Find out about what Chapin calls his “practivist” approach to reducing our carbon footprint in this Eco News Network sustainability leaders profile.
Geoff Chapin founded Next Step Living® in 2008 after years as a teacher and strategy consultant largely focused on nonprofits and community development. With his unwavering commitment to solving environmental problems, Chapin envisioned a socially responsible company that helps homeowners take the right actions to reduce energy and carbon emissions. He took his “practivist” approach – that’s a combination of being a practical business professional and an activist – and turned Next Step Living from a small group of friends sitting on $7 plastic chairs with not enough desk space into one of the fastest-growing private companies in a span of only six years.
Next Step Living changed the way homeowners view energy consumption by offering them a whole-home approach to look at the totality of how a residence can become more energy-efficient. Unlike typical home contractors who only offer one type of service, Next Step Living acts as a resource for all aspects of home energy improvement – from insulation to solar – assessing the entire home’s energy consumption and offering informed recommendations on services and state and utility program rebates and incentives.
It adds up to a unique way to help homeowners live more comfortably and sustainably while saving money. To date, more than 110,000 homeowners in the northeastern part of the United States have benefited from Next Step Living’s energy efficiency services. The estimated impact of the tens of thousands of homes the company has served is an annual carbon emissions reduction of more than 96,000 metric tons. That’s the equivalent of removing more than 20,000 fossil fuel-burning cars from the road, permanently.
In addition to helping homeowners in the Northeast, Chapin envisioned helping the global community harness the power of energy efficiency and clean energy. That’s why, in late 2013, Chapin led the foundation of Next Step Giving, the philanthropic program created within Next Step Living to help spread the benefits and potential of renewable energy and energy-efficient habits beyond the borders of the Northeast by supporting groundbreaking and creative social enterprise initiatives.
The first beneficiary is Saha Global, a nonprofit focused on providing access to clean water and electricity to rural communities in Africa. To date, with Next Step Living’s support, Saha Global has helped start eight women-led solar businesses in Ghana that provide electricity to more than 450 families, saving each family an estimated $116 annually. That’s the equivalent of an American family saving thousands on its utility bills. In 2015, Saha Global plans to help create 13 additional solar businesses, which will bring clean electricity to more than 10,000 people.
Chapin continues to help educate the community about energy efficiency and clean energy as a board member of the New England Clean Energy Council and PRIME, a nonprofit that encourages Program-Related Investments in the energy sector. He is a tireless advocate of sustainable living and testifies on Capitol Hill, provides testimony on environmental bills before the Massachusetts legislature and gives comment before other governmental bodies to encourage policies that support carbon emission reduction.
Photos provided courtesy of Next Step Living.