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State and Local Climate and Energy Program

Energize Corvallis: Community Engagement for Greenhouse Gas Reductions

Corvallis, Oregon

Federal Funding: $491,762
Project Timeline: February 2011 – February 2014

Latest Update

All four Energize Corvallis programs – Communities Take Charge, Energizers, Green Shares, and Neighborhood Sustainability Stewards – are well underway. The programs have conducted outreach to residents, local community groups, and businesses by holding volunteer training sessions and distributing educational materials. The Resource Innovation Group is developing a new strategy for its Green Share program, which helps customers reduce their energy consumption. The Green Share program continues to connect contractors with leads for efficiency work and will focus on increasing the efficiency of rental properties and increasing sales of both ductless heat pumps and heat pump water heaters for residential energy savings. The Communities Take Charge program developed a one-page mailer to promote the initiative and has designed an outreach campaign with Oregon State University in preparation for the Campuses Take Charge program. The Energizers program reached out to faith communities by holding a Creation Care Workshop, developed a handbook to help volunteers understand why people in their network might be interested in energy efficiency and conservation, and provided guidance on developing an outreach strategy. Finally, the Neighborhood Sustainability Stewards updated the Climate Masters handbook with local resources. The Energize Corvallis website was updated to include current program information. Upcoming activity includes tabling to promote all Energize Corvallis programs, holding workshops, and further development and distribution of outreach materials.

Photos

Training was conducted for the new Neighborhood Sustainability Steward volunteers.

Neighborhood Sustainability Training

Training was conducted for the new Neighborhood Sustainability Steward volunteers.

Energize Corvallis

Energize Corvallis

Tabling materials were developed for the Communities Take Charge program.

Project Summary

Promoting Community Engagement through Energy Reduction Programs

The City of Corvallis is implementing four complementary pilot programs across the City, all designed to promote the city's energy independence and climate change mitigation work while increasing community involvement in the process. The project, Energize Corvallis, draws on the expertise of four established institutions to expand, fine-tune, and connect successful projects. Using this expertise, the City of Corvallis is:

  • implementing the City Council's Community Energy Strategy and elements of the Community Sustainability Action Plan,
  • expanding the Corvallis Environmental Center's energy efficiency programs including the Communities Take Charge and the Energizers program,
  • establishing Oregon State University's Benton County Extension Service program, and
  • establishing the Resource Innovation Group's Green Share program, which works with customers to reduce their energy consumption.

The City of Corvallis is integrating these four programs along with the implementation of City-wide reduction measures. By integrating these plans and programs, Energize Corvallis is providing opportunities for involvement across a broad demographic and spectrum of individual interest. Energize Corvallis emphasizes community involvement and volunteerism to accomplish energy reduction goals.

The suite of programs offer multiple commitment levels to maximize community members' willingness and ability to participate. With the lowest level of required engagement, the Kilowatt Cruncher program is a neighborhood-based approach to reducing energy consumption through no-cost and low-cost actions. Energize Corvallis works with three to four neighborhood associations to establish goals for outreach, program recruitment, and energy reduction. Requiring a higher level of involvement, the Energizers program trains residents to serve as liaisons to specific groups in the community. Each volunteer creates personalized Energize Corvallis outreach materials and messaging for their groups. Also at this level of engagement, the Green Share program offers targeted workshops to employees in the residential energy and water use fields to encourage efficient behaviors from their customers. Finally, the highest level of engagement, the Neighborhood Sustainability Stewards program, is an initiative where participants go through 11-week training classes and learn from local experts on how to implement residential emission reduction activities. The Neighborhood Sustainability Stewards program is run through the OSU Extension, and the City of Corvallis supports the training of 60 to 75 Neighborhood Sustainability Stewards.

Community residents benefit from energy cost savings. The projects also increase communication among neighbors, improve the City's resilience to energy price shocks, and increase overall civic engagement in Corvallis.

Community Characteristics

Population 54,890
Area 13 square miles
Government Type City
Community Type Small Urban
Median Household Income $35,350

Program Results

  Reported Results (as of June 2013) Projected Cumulative Results
Annual GHG Reductions 1,825 mt CO2e 4,469 mt CO2e
Annual Electricity Reductions 34 MWh 3,800 MWh
Annual Natural Gas Savings 1,058 therms 406,000 therms
Communities Take Charge Participants 4,887 5,500
Energizers 32 60
Neighborhood Sustainability Stewards 205 50

Project Website

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