Chattanooga is one of eight cities to be awarded funding for sustainability projects focused on low-income and diverse communities.
The city’s Sustainability Office worked with local non-profit green|spaces to apply for funding to expand the Empower program, which teaches low-income residents low-cost and no-cost ways to reduce their utility bills.
The expansion of the program will allow more renters and homeowners in the East Chattanooga, Highland Park, Ridgedale and East Lake communities to receive training as well as add the Alton Park community to the service area.
The funding also will support neighborhood-led energy efficiency projects in these communities through a partnership with Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise and the city’s Department of Economic & Community Development.
“We know access to electricity and affordability impacts quality of life,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke explains. “Chattanoogans shouldn’t have to choose between keeping the lights and feeding their family.
“Through this grant, we will help even more Chattanooga families make their homes energy efficient and keep more money in their pockets.”
Chattanooga is receiving $40,000 from Partners for Places and an additional $80,000 in local funding from the Benwood Foundation and Lyndhurst Foundation to continue to help communities increase their energy efficiency.
The communities for the Empower Program were selected from a study conducted by the City of Chattanooga, EPB, United Way and green|spaces, which showed that homes in those areas used on average 43 percent more energy per square foot than the average home in Chattanooga during the winter months.
Those neighborhoods also had some of the highest call volumes for energy assistance to The United Way 211 Call Center.
“It has been incredible to see how simple changes and improvements to a home can have such a big impact. Participants, on average, have saved over $400 after attending just one 45-minute class,” says Sam Fulbright, green|spaces Empower Program coordinator for Chattanooga.
Other Partners for Places recipients are Detroit, Hartford, Miami-Dade County, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle and Tucson.
To date, Partners for Places has awarded more than $4 million across North America in this matching grant program.
Source: The City of Chattanooga’s Sustainability Office