The City of Corvallis is one of 25 applicants from around the country to be awarded an EPA grant as a Climate Showcase Community. The grants assist communities in setting up programs to reduce carbon emissions. The City will use the grant funds for “Energize Corvallis,” a joint project with the Corvallis Environmental Center, OSU-Benton County Extension Service, and The Resource Innovation Group, a non?profit social science research organization based in Eugene.
With EPA funding, training, and technical support, Energize Corvallis will result in a measurable reduction in energy use and carbon emissions from homes and businesses throughout the community, while creating new work for energy conservation businesses. 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.
Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning said, “Energize Corvallis demonstrates a collaborative approach to saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by combining several community outreach efforts that are aimed at diverse populations within Corvallis.”
Over the coming months, Corvallis residents will have a variety of opportunities at home, at work and at school to get involved, save energy and money, and help the community develop programs that can be duplicated in other communities across the nation.
- The Corvallis Environmental Center will expand its energy-efficiency programs with the Communities Take Charge, a neighborhood outreach program to reduce energy use through no?cost and low?cost actions. Another program known as Energizers will create a network for disseminating energy-related information throughout Corvallis.
- OSU-Benton County Extension will update and expand the Neighborhood Sustainability Stewards community volunteer program, which was piloted in 2009-10. In the tradition of Master Gardeners and other OSU Master Programs, the Neighborhood Sustainability Stewards program trains community members to educate Corvallis residents on practical ways to reduce their personal and household carbon footprints.
- The Resource Innovation Group will kick off a new and unique Green Share program to train employees of businesses to work with customers to reduce residential greenhouse gas emissions. Participating businesses and agencies would include home improvement stores, water heater and HVAC system installers, construction companies, county and city permitting offices, architecture and landscape architecture firms, and landscaping and arborist companies.
The Climate Showcase Communities project benefits from experience gained in previous community-wide energy campaigns. In 2005, the City Council passed a resolution urging residents and businesses to purchase renewable power. That effort resulted in Corvallis becoming the first city on the West Coast and the third in the nation to be named an EPA “Green Power Community.” In 2008, the Energy Trust of Oregon partnered with the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition to launch the year-long Corvallis Energy Challenge, which resulted in an increase in residential energy audits of 335 percent over the previous year. In 2009, the City received $511,600 in federal energy block grant funds, which were used in part to build on the Corvallis Energy Challenge.
For more information on:
- The Corvallis Environmental Center’s Communities Take Charge and Energizers programs, contact Carly Lettero at email@example.com or 541-758-6749.
- OSU-Benton County Extension’s Neighborhood Sustainability Stewards program, contact Rick Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-745-7363.
- The Resource Innovation Group’s Green Share program, contact Sarah Mazze at email@example.com or 541-556-5291.