Summary of REDUCE Track:
The Reduce Track morning session featured a panel discussion titled, “Models for Engaging Communities in Energy Efficiency,” centered on the CNT Energy program of Energy Impact Illinois. The panel featured different members of the program including community organizers and outreach staff. Morning panelists included:
Anna Markowski, CNT Energy
Vito Greco, CNT Energy
|Pamela Brookstein, CNT Energy||Ben Handy, 89th & Ridgeland Block Club|
The panel discussed how Energy Impact Illinois went from being one of the weakest energy efficiency national programs to one of the most successful over a three year period, resulting in the completion of over 3,000 retrofits in Chicago homes last year. The first year emphasized a huge marketing campaign; the second year focused on a Call to Action and using an online calculator. But it wasn’t until the third year that success came, based on a community strategy engaging homeowners in holding house parties and involving some 300 volunteers. As the panelists shared their three year learnings, the participants were able to see how the face-to-face strategies became the key to the remarkable reduction of community energy.
The afternoon session had five “Ignite” presentations (igniting our imagination!) from organizational representatives who support individuals and communities in reducing energy use. Each five-minute presentation was followed by five minutes of participant dialogue. Afternoon presenters included:
- Coleen McGinnis, Delta Institute, describing two citywide competitions – the Chicago Green Office Challenge and the Chicago Neighborhood Energy Challenge – and how individual actions help make their offices and communities more energy efficient.
- Rajiv Ravulapati, Citizens Utility Board, outlining CUBEnergySaver.com, an online energy-advisory tool dedicated to lowering energy use and rewarding actions to do it!
- Michelle Ackmann, ComEd, sharing the details of ComEd’s Smart Ideas for Your Home program, an energy efficiency program for residential customers.
- Emily Burns, Historic Chicago Bungalow Association, discussing the HCBA’s Energy Savers Program and how it’s partnerships with community organizations helped complete over 700 subsidized retrofits for seniors and other hard to reach groups.
- Jim Heffron and Zoe Bottger, Peoples Gas, discussing the various Peoples Gas energy efficiency programs and how direct community engagement helps improve energy savings citywide.
Participants enjoyed learning about the game Delta Institute created for involving people in the Green Office Challenge. They were glad to hear that CUB now has 25,000 EnergySaver users. The big take away from the afternoon session was learning how the energy saving resources offered by such programs as ComEd, Peoples Gas and the Bungalow Association are all now accessed through one site – Retrofit Chicago – providing a one-stop shop for people seeking to reduce their energy use. Participants were grateful that the multiple resources they had heard about now are connected and easier to access than in the past.