Despite gray winter weather, some Knoxvillians are seeing green.

As part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. "Make a Difference Day," the student organization Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development, will host its fourth annual "Green the Block" community service project on Saturday at Paul Hogue Park. The project will be followed by a rally with food and entertainment.

"Green the Block" will address issues surrounding green energy efficiencies and the benefits of home weatherization within the urban community.

Dozens of volunteers are scheduled to canvas a four-block area within the Five Points neighborhood located in East Knoxville. Volunteers will conduct surveys, talk to homeowners about their energy use, the cost savings of green energy and pick up litter around the area.

According to Joshua Outsey, SEEED's community outreach director, this is the group's first appearance in this neighborhood, the home of five Energy Star homes implemented by Mayor Madeline Rogero at the time when she was the community development director.

"We want to see what the residents know about energy efficiency, weatherization and what we can do to increase their energy savings," Outsey said.

The data collected will be presented to the Smarter Cities Stakeholder Council to address these issues.

"This is a two-way street," Outsey said. "We let the city know how the communities feel, what their needs are, and how to address their needs surrounding the issue. We also let the residents know where the city stand on this issue. It's a community between the community and the city."

Rob Huber, an architecture student at UT and the design coordinator of SEEED, said he believes weatherization is a concern that should be universally shared.

"It's less expensive and more effective," Huber said. "Anyone can do it, and if they do, less energy is exuded as a society. As a result, costs can be saved. Energy is money and if you're wasting energy, you're wasting money."

Saturday's event is intended to educate local citizens about energy efficiency, building on SEEED's mission to prepare "at-risk young adults for good-paying, sustainable green jobs in Knoxville's emerging green economy."

"SEEED is about creating a family within the community and building a stronger relationship surrounded by these issues," Outsey said. "It's about wanting to create sustainable jobs, build income and stimulate the local economy."

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