Local Energy Matters
"I cry tears of joy for all the help you gave me. I am now warm in my house and I have water to use. Before I felt so alone and helpless. Now I know that people care and I am not alone," says one Ecolibrium3 participant. "You are an asset to Duluth," says another. What we say is that local energy matters.
Ecolibrium3’s mission is to inspire and lead change in our community toward an equitable and sustainable future. Our flagship project, the Duluth Energy Efficiency Program, accomplishes our mission by working with households, contractors, utilities, and communities to reduce residential energy use through coordinated training, home performance assessments, bidding and contracting for energy improvements, and providing post-improvement quality assurance. We have worked with over 900 households in the last three years, saving each an average of $689 per year on their energy bills. Ecolibrium3 has been recognized as an EPA Seeds of Change Awardee for innovative design and delivery of programs that has been replicated in other portions of the country, and our CEO has received the White House Champion of Change Award for work on community resiliency following the Duluth flood in 2012. We have also launched a pilot program for faith communities in which parishioners from four area churches have had energy audits conducted on their homes in order to receive an energy fund through Minnesota Power for their congregational building. Ecolibrium3 is taking the capacity we've built through DEEP, and our recognition as a leader in energy efficiency, to spearhead Duluth's entry into the Georgetown University Energy Prize. This friendly competition pits Duluth against around 50 other communities throughout the United States to maximize our energy savings in 2015-2016. There's a $5 million prize at stake!
Local energy isn't just about furnaces and water heaters, though. It's also about building community in Duluth's historic neighborhoods. Ecolibrium3 has become the convening agency by taking a lead role in community coordination in our own neighborhood, Lincoln Park. We run a community portal website, www.ourlincolnpark.com, with an interactive event calendar and a blog platform to highlight great things going on in the community. The ongoing neighborhood identity and development work has resulted in a popular neighborhood logo, tag line and the first annual Lincoln Park Open House, which highlighted many of our neighborhood assets. We have worked on an energy pilot in one such neighborhood, Morgan Park. This former "company town" for US Steel was called the Model City when it was built. The Model City 2.0 program will help Morgan Park residents make their historic homes energy efficient and revitalize their neighborhood--without losing its character.