5 Comments

I worked with an organization called the Sound Alliance, a regional branch of the Industrial Areas Foundation (Alinsky's national org) that started a project funded by the 2008 Stimulus Act. We were a "jobs program," and our mission was to create family wage jobs while working with homeowners to inventory their homes for energy efficiency, and then take mitigating action through our network of contractors. We worked for an economy of scale by enlisting blocks and neighborhoods. We were heavily subsidized from organizing to inspecting to contracting to tax credits on work done - all the way up to adding solar panels to homes. We were a success, inspecting about 5,000 homes, and retrofitting 3,000, and we fulfilled our mission of creating, and sustaining jobs. We were "Sustainable Works." All manner of politics, and the end of stimulus money contributed to our demise, but we proved home owners were willing, and in many cases financially able (with subsidies) to tighten up their homes - in the name of self-interest, and climate change.

Expand full comment

Back in the days of the Carter Administration, the local response to suddenly higher energy costs was for the charity minded folks in Lawrence, KS to come up with a program called Warm Hearts, which collected money to pay off the utilities for low income folks. As neighborhood energy activists back in the day, we were offended that folks were paying bills for the energy producers who got the Warm Hearts monies, not the low income communities. So we created, applied and received money for Save Energy Around Lawrence, or Project SEAL, which bought weatherization supplies from local businesses, boxed together by a local manufacturer as a donation, held workshops and gave away weatherization supplies to participants to go home and weatherize their homes, improving their housing comfort, reducing waste and energy consumption patterns. It was very successful and I'm glad such simple, effective strategies are still around. There is typically a solution that is from the top down and an alternative which builds from the ground up and helps the community get stronger: all you have to do is look and use your imagination and ask around to figure out what it is!

Expand full comment

I would be nice if we could use heat pump rebates or something to electrify these WAP projects when equipment upgrades are in the work scope.

Expand full comment

Very clever article! Love how you are making discussing funding energy efficiency in low income housing sexy!

Expand full comment

WAP also stands for the Western Antarctic Peninsula, which is the most rapidly warming region in the Antarctic! I'm a scientist part of the Palmer Antarctic Long-Term Ecological Research program (PAL LTER) funded by the National Science Foundation to understand the effects of climate change on the ecosystem along the WAP. Those of us in the program thought about doing a play on #WAP like Heated did so well but worried our federal funders wouldn't get the joke :p

Expand full comment