CARD grant update

Published September 1, 2021

Last January CUB was awarded a Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The purpose of the grant was to complete a research project that will seek improvements to energy efficiency programs to better serve renter, low-income, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) households. 

As a reminder, the impetus for this research project came out of work undertaken by the Energy Efficiency Peer Learning Cohort and other previous efforts that identified the need to improve how energy efficiency programs are designed and delivered. The first cohort began meeting in June 2019 through the fall of 2020. The second group of participants, composed of individuals and community organizations, began work in the spring of 2021 and have worked planned into early 2022. The current cohort work is organized into three teams: an Outreach Team, a Policy Team, and this CARD research team. Look for a comprehensive update on all of this work in the very near future.

For now, let’s focus on the CARD research specifically. Work on the research project began in late January 2021 and will continue into 2022. 

While the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) is managing the project, work is a team effort consisting of consultants from Efficiency for Everyone, TerraLuna Collaborative, the University of Minnesota as well as staff from Community Power and the City of Minneapolis. The CARD team has been busy over the last few months in identifying communities to focus the research work on. A Steering Committee, composed of representatives from community and energy organizations, has been meeting and providing insight into the community selection process. By analyzing census data that identifies energy burden and focusing on the goals of the project, the team has identified three communities to focus research efforts:

  • Black homeowners in North Minneapolis and surrounding areas
  • Hispanic/Latinx renters in Southeast Minneapolis and East St. Paul
  • Rental property owners/managers in Southeast Minneapolis and East St. Paul

Community engagement, in the form of surveys and focus groups, is planned with these communities in the next weeks. These groups will help us better understand their experiences with energy efficiency programs and identify opportunities to make efficiency programs more accessible and impactful.  

The findings from this community engagement will be used in identifying recommendations and best practices for culturally responsive energy program design. Additionally, the impacts of implementing such recommendations will be analyzed in both qualitative and quantitative terms. The project will also seek to quantify the impacts, including benefits and costs, of implementing recommended practices. We look forward to sharing more of these results as the project progresses.

Are you interested in supporting our community engagement efforts? If you, or someone you know, lives in North Minneapolis, Southeast Minneapolis, or East St. Paul and self-identifies as a member of one of our communities of focus, please contact TerraLuna Collaborative by emailing edwin@terralunacollaborative.com or sending a text message to (612) 208-9088 to sign up. Participants will be compensated for their time.

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Author: Carmen Carruthers

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