For ethnic and lower-income communities facing a disproportionate energy burden, energy efficiency programs can have the biggest impact. But unfortunately, programs often fail to reach these underserved communities. In many cases, this can be attributed to non-targeted program designs, which tend to limit participation. Instead, programs should be designed using a targeted marketing approach to meet the needs of a wide mix of customers and not only wealthier households.
We were instrumental in bringing together a diverse group of community based organizations including Verde, the NAACP and the Coalition of Communities of Color to work with the Oregon Public Utilities Commission and Energy Trust of Oregon to develop diversity metrics to improve access to energy efficiency programs.
Improved Air Quality for Vulnerable Groups
We are extremely excited about our Indoor Air Quality initiative which aims to improve the indoor air quality in buildings which serve vulnerable populations.
Poor indoor air quality can result in critical health issues such as viral and bacterial infections, asthma, allergies, mold build-up, and other lung ailments. As the spread of the COVID-19 from one building occupant to another is increasingly becoming an important issue, HVAC systems’ critical role can play in suppressing the spread of the COVID-19 and enhancing sustainable aspects in buildings cannot be overstated.
We are the founders of the Shades of Green Forum which annually brings together a diverse group of attendees to explore ways to build diversity in the energy and utility industries. The goal of this forum is to facilitate candid conversations around information and education that will lead to more equitable access to energy efficiency programs, policies and actionable items.