Energize Corvallis is made possible by collaborations between the City of Corvallis, Corvallis Environmental Center, Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, Oregon State University Extension, Benton County, and The Resource Innovation Group. Primary funding is provided by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Showcase Community grant and the Energy Trust of Oregon.
City of Corvallis
Corvallis, Oregon is an award-winning city that has been recognized as one of the best college towns, one of the top ten places to live, and as having the highest Peace Corps volunteers per capita and the most green buildings per capita. The City was recognized for exceeding standards established by the International City Manager’s Association Center for Performance Measurement and was ranked #1 on the Environmental Protection Agency’s national list of Green Power Communities.
The City of Corvallis has been instrumental in helping Energize Corvallis build collaborations and secure funding for programs. In 2011, the City of Corvallis was awarded a Climate Showcase Communities Grant for Energize Corvallis. This grant provides funding for four Energize Corvallis programs and three partnering organizations. In 2009, the City allocated Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants to the Corvallis Environmental Center for two Energize Corvallis funding programs (the Corvallis Weatherization Incentive Program and the Saving Energy Loan Fund) and for one full-time position (Volunteer Coordinator in Renewable and Responsible Energy Management), which helped create the Energy Advocate and Communities Take Charge programs.
Corvallis Environmental Center
The Corvallis Environmental Center provides learning opportunities and technical outreach to Corvallis area residents and businesses, giving them tools to pursue ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable practices. Founded in 1994 as a grassroots effort to take on a number of environmental issues, the Corvallis Environmental Center reaches more than 10,000 people directly each year through sustainability education, programs and outreach activities.
The Corvallis Environmental Center manages three Energize Corvallis community programs including Communities Take Charge, Energizers, and Energy Advocates. The Environmental Center also administers the Resource Efficiency Program for businesses and organizations, and it oversees the Corvallis Weatherization Incentive Program for homeowners and businesses.
Corvallis Sustainability Coalition
The Corvallis Sustainability Coalition is a network of volunteer organizations and individuals in Corvallis, Oregon. The Coalition works to promote an ecologically, economically, and socially healthy city and county. It was formed in 2007 to bring together businesses, non-profits, faith communities, educational institutions, and government entities in the Corvallis area in a democratic, highly participative decision-making process to accelerate the creation of a sustainable community — one that values environmental quality, social equity, and economic vitality.
The Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s Energy Action Team collaborates closely with Energize Corvallis during bi-monthly meetings and work session. The Energy Action Team plays a key role in identifying needs for energy efficiency and conservation programs in Corvallis. Many of the ideas for Energize Corvallis programs, funding opportunities, and collaborations were sparked through Energy Action Team meetings and networks. Energy Action Team volunteers provide ongoing expertise and enthusiasm for Energize Corvallis programs and initiatives. The Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s Communications Action Team also provides much-appreciated support by promoting programs and events.
Oregon State University Extension, Benton County
The Oregon State University Benton Country Extension coordinates information tours, conferences, short courses, workshops, and demonstrations. For the past 100 years OSU Extension has delivered education to every community in Oregon by providing brochures and publications with specific research based information on a variety of subjects. It offers objective, research-based information to help Benton County youth and adults solve problems, develop life skills and manage resources wisely.
The Extension office manages Neighborhood Sustainability Stewards, which is an Energize Corvallis program.
The Resource Innovation Group
The Resource Innovation Group is a non-profit organization that works to foster the development and application of innovative thinking and approaches to the complex causes and solutions to social-ecological problems, including climate change. TRIG’s approach is grounded in the integration of whole systems thinking with the physical and social sciences, social equity, and change management. TRIG works through partnerships with academic institutions, non-profits, private firms, and all levels of government to accomplish its goals. TRIG is affiliated with the Center for Sustainable Communities at Willamette University.
TRIG manages Green Shares, which is an Energize Corvallis program.
Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works to protect human health and the environment. The EPA’s Climate Showcase Communities program provides grant funding to communities within the United States for projects that mitigate climate change and advance clean energy—energy efficiency, renewable energy, and combined heat and power.
Corvallis was awarded a $492,000 Climate Showcase Communities grant in 2011 for Energize Corvallis programs. During the three-year program, an estimated 18,000 Corvallis residents will receive climate and energy action education to improve their energy efficiency and to save them money on their energy bills. This has the potential to result in a carbon emissions reduction equivalent to the removal of 19,000 passenger cars from the road for one year, with many of those savings persisting over time as a result of the efficiency improvements.
Energy Trust of Oregon
The Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Oregonians benefit from saving energy and tapping renewable renewable resources. It works to provide comprehensive, sustainable energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy solutions to Oregonians. Energy Trust’s services, cash incentives and solutions have helped customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas save nearly $800 million on their energy bills. As a public purpose organization, it is committed to working for the greater good of all Oregonians.
The Energy Trust provides expertise, support, and funding for the Resource Efficiency Program and the Energy Advocate program. Energy Trust also provides free Home Energy Reviews, which are an important first step to home energy efficiency in Corvallis.
Oregon State University Student Sustainability Initiative
Oregon State University’s Student Sustainability Initiative is committed to supporting student efforts to create a sustainable community at OSU through action, education, and opportunity. The Student Sustainability Initiative is the student-run, student-fee funded organization charged with representing student interests in sustainability at Oregon State University.
The Student Sustainability Initiative collaborates with Energize Corvallis on the annual Campuses Take Charge program (formerly called Campus Carbon Challenge) and provided funding for the interactive, online “Take Charge” website.
Grand Aspirations and Summer of Solutions
Grand Aspirations is a national organization that empowers, connects, and supports youth leaders as they create innovative, self-sustaining, and inter-dependent initiatives that systemically integrate climate and energy solutions, economic security, and social justice. Summer of Solutions is a project of Grand Aspirations that brings together youth every summer in communities across the nation for a training ground and a launching pad for the solutionary vision. With the support of local partnerships and a national network of fellow solutionaries, participants create self-sustaining projects that have a direct impact on their communities and that serve as models for others to build on.
Energize Corvallis hosts a Summer of Solutions program for Communities Take Charge volunteers and students. Communities Take Charge staff and volunteers also collaborate with Grad Aspirations throughout the year on national, regional, and local working groups.
Northwest Institute for Community Enrichment
The Northwest Institute for Community Enrichment (NICE) is a volunteer led organization that coordinates support for local groups in developing creative and effective community organizing techniques, and in innovating and implementing community-based solutions in the Pacific Northwest. The NICE supports a variety of projects including energy efficiency, local renewable energy, sustainable transportation, localized foods, and ethical waste projects to help communities become models of sustainability. By working on these projects and with communities to provide a solution oriented venue for jump-starting or moving forward efforts to create local sustainable communities, the NICE acts as a catalyst for real change towards a future that is sustainable, just, and prosperous for all.
Energize Corvallis collaborates with the NICE on at the local and regional scale through the Summer of Solutions Program and through Learning Communities. NICE founder, Nathan Jones, was instrumental in creating a youth-lead summer program in Corvallis, which later evolved into the Communities Take Charge program.