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Retrofit Ramp-Up: The US DOE's Innovative Climate Action at the Local Level

Nominated by Zoë Chafe

Retrofit Ramp-Up

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is on to something: In April, the department announced that $452 million of federal funding would be directed toward energy efficiency projects in 25 communities around the country (PDF). The goal: scale up local energy efficiency ideas and programs.

What exactly is DOE on to? Innovative climate action at the local level. Around the US, cities and counties are taking the lead on climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. Retrofitting existing houses and commercial buildings, to make them more energy efficient, can address both mitigation and adaptation concerns, while creating jobs and saving households money.

Keep an eye on Retrofit Ramp-Up grants for 3 reasons: 1) they showcase cutting edge approaches to city- and state-level retrofitting efforts; 2) they provide adequate funding to experiment with taking projects to scale; and 3) they reinforce the necessity of local leadership.

As the Retrofit Ramp-Up funds become available, community involvement will be crucial. Citizen participation is needed to keep the projects on track, follow how the money is spent, and record the successes and pitfalls of taking energy efficiency projects to scale.

More links (with maps and charts):

Zoë Chafe is a Worldwatch Institute Senior Fellow and graduate student at the UC Berkeley Energy and Resources Group.

Editor's Note: This piece is part of Worldchanging's Attention Philanthropy campaign. All week long, the Worldchanging Network will be delivering "attention grants" to worthy projects, individuals, resources and more. You can learn more about these gifts of notice and find other entries by clicking here.

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