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Energy Efficiency Peer Learning Cohort Update

In August we shared information about a special project called the Energy Efficiency Peer Learning Cohort.  CUB is part of a team partnering with a number of organizations including several neighborhood-based community groups to improve knowledge of existing energy efficiency programs and improve program offerings.  

The Cohort had a busy and productive fall.  In addition to its regular monthly meetings, two public workshops took place.  One was held in September and another in October. These meetings represented the cohort working to increase knowledge of existing programs that help people today and looking to new, innovative ideas for Minnesotans to have better access to energy efficiency opportunities.     

On September 14 the Cohort hosted an Energy and Housing Rights and Resources Open House.  The public was invited to meet with and hear from organizations who work on energy and housing issues.  Several organizations had tables at the event. The speakers included:

  • Inquilinixs Unidxs:  Renters rights information; founded to build power to change the housing system in Minneapolis
  • Citizens Utility Board: “Understanding Your Utility Bill presentation” and free on-site energy bill consultations
  • HOME Line:  Free and low-cost legal advice and support, organizing education and advocacy services    
  • Community Action Partners of Hennepin County:  Energy assistance resources and applications  

On October 7, the Cohort hosted regional and national speakers to talk about innovative ways of bringing energy efficiency to more people.  The participating speakers and their topics included: 

  • David Haeg, how to get efficiency resources to actually reach residents in Chicago with Elevate Energy
  • Marti Frank, Efficiency for Everyone, offering money-back rebates for appliances at the time of sale rather than months after purchase through “SHIFT model”
  • Tammy Agard, Eetility, program making energy efficiency improvements without upfront cost or credit score called “Pay-As-You Save”  
  • Gary Ambach, Slipstream, program that pays tenants to organize, educate and improve energy efficiency in their own rental housing through EcoAdvocate 

The Cohort will take a break in December but intends to offer additional public workshops in early 2020.  CUB will keep you posted. We will be encouraging you to attend these meetings to share your thoughts and ideas of how energy efficiency opportunities can be improved, especially for communities of renters, low income, and black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).

Author: Carmen Carruthers

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