Greetings Midwest BDC!

Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! First established to recognize the arrival and contributions of Japanese immigrants and Chinese railroad workers, the celebration has expanded to include 24 million people under a huge umbrella that includes cultures, languages, and locations from the entire Asian continent and Pacific Islands.

Our Coalition is focused on equity in building decarbonization. Part of that means understanding and supporting the huge variety of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities across the Midwest. While there are large populations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Midwestern cities like Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, there are also growing communities in Indiana, Iowa, and elsewhere in the region. To learn more some of the many experiences and stories we classify under the AAPI umbrella, check out this May’s Library of Congress events, or PBS specials compiled for AAPI Heritage Month.

Keep reading to learn about our member-created definitions for Equity and Equitable Building Decarbonizations, a great contribution by our Education and Training Sub-Committee of the Equity Team.

In solidarity,

– Marnese, Margaret, Jacob, and Eric

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

This month, we’re spotlighting two active Coalition members: Callie Scipio from Indiana, and Ian Tran from Michigan.

Callie Scipio

Callie Scipio has spent the past 10 years working in the nonprofit sector from teaching, retaining, and analyzing data in her local school district to her current role at the Fort Wayne Urban League. She has always been an advocate for diversity, self-sufficiency, and women’s rights. Her education consists of a degree in Arts and a degree in Healthcare Administration. Callie is a current NAACP member, American Red Cross volunteer, and Midwest Decarbonization Coalition Co-lead of the Education and Training Sub-Committee. Most importantly, Callie is the proud mother of two wonderful children. Callie’s motto is put God first and the rest will fall in line.

To learn more about Callie’s role leading the Education and Training Sub-Committee, scroll down to our blog post, or click here to read it online.

Ian D. Tran

Ian D. Tran connects and empowers people, organizations, and communities by facilitating data, relationships, and participatory storytelling to advance greater purpose across sectors with systemic solutions deeply rooted in culture. Tran is Co-Founder Emeritus of Alkemystery 313; leads U.S. operations for ISMOTION, a global education design strategy social enterprise for education, innovation, and sustainability; former Innovation Strategist for Southwest Detroit-based AGI Construction company and Advocacy Chair for the US Green Building Council; and advocating musician-storyteller/educator. Ian has contributed to the MWBDC Equity Team, coalition priorities, lifting Data Justice and the structuring of the coalition.

As an educator, Tran worked with communities and hundreds of youth in public, private, and higher education institutions, in outdoor education, writing consultation and tutoring, and developed curriculum at national, state, and international levels, and extended his work into public contexts through stakeholder engagement, facilitation, and advocacy. As a storyteller/musician, often on violin and viola but also with garden tools and participatory approaches to the arts, his work focuses on shifting power dynamics and using experiences to shape education, strategy, and advocacy.

His participatory works and workshops have been featured at TEDxUM-Dearborn, as part of the Detroit UNESCO Delegation to Sainte Etienne’s 10th Biennale in France, and across the Great Lakes and DC regions.

Tran earned his B. Sci in Environmental Science with a minor in Political Science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

COALITION BLOG

Defining Equity as the Center of our Coalition

View this blog online or share it with this link.

During the April Equity Working Group meeting, Coalition members voted to adopt two definitions prepared by the Training and Education subcommittee of the Equity team: Equity and Equitable Building Decarbonization.

Equity: Holding ourselves and one another accountable to inclusion in a society in which all can participate, prosper, have value, and reach their full potential. We recognize and work to dismantle injustices, systems, and barriers that prevent some from achieving this goal.

Equitable Building Decarbonization: To remove the hazard of fossil fuel usage in buildings and facilitate access to carbon-free heating, water heating, and cooking, while prioritizing BIPOC/ intersectional identities and empowering poor, low- and moderate-income households and underserved communities with clean technologies and infrastructure including:

  • Equitable outcomes in who produces and who benefits from decarbonization; and
  • Leadership of enterprises and communities most impacted by the burdens of energy and environmental injustices.

Callie Scipio, Coalition member and Executive Administrator at the Fort Wayne Urban League, helped shape the definitions and writing process as a co-chair of the Equity Team’s Training and Education subcommittee. She sees this work as directly connected to her mission at the Urban League: putting equity first, and centering people who are under-served.

“I want people to understand that Midwest BDC is Equity First and People First,” she says of the definitions. In addition to creating shared understanding among members, Callie also sees definitions as an important part of onboarding and recruitment.

“We have people in meetings who are longtime members alongside brand new members,” she shared. By establishing what equity means to the Coalition, she hopes all of the members—new and old—are better prepared to participate, contribute, and learn.

Learning, and sharing knowledge about equitable building decarbonization is one of Callie’s motivators as a Coalition leader. In committee meetings, Callie has been impressed with the knowledge and passion people already had for decarbonization. But to her, the learning process is a journey and not an end.

“If you’ve been here 1000 years, you still have something to learn.”

For anyone new to building decarbonization, or someone who wants to get involved in the equitable energy transition here in the Midwest, Midwest BDC has plenty of ways to engage. You can register for an upcoming orientation here, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, or watch a recording of our Building Decarbonization 101 training to get the details behind the definition.

COALITION CALENDAR

To view upcoming working group meetings and other Coalition events online, visit midwestdecarb.org/calendar.

May 4: Health Working Group

The Health Working Group meets monthly on the first Wednesday at 12pm Central / 1pm Eastern. To participate, please email Emma Hines.

May 5: Governance Working Group Meeting

The Governance Working Group meets every other Thursday at 9am Central / 10am Eastern. To participate, please email Marnese.

May 5: AWHI Steering Committee

The Midwest Advanced Water Heating Initiative Steering Committee meetings the first Thursday of each month at 10-11am Central / 11am-12pm Eastern. To participate, please contact Jacob.

May 11: Coalition Monthly Meeting

Our next monthly meeting will be on Wednesday, May 11 at 2pm CST / 3pm EST. Send any agenda suggestions or additions to Marnese. If your announcement item will take more than 2-3 minutes, please get on the agenda ahead of time.

May 17: Affordable Housing/QAP Working Group

This group meets every third Tuesday of the month at 3pm Central / 4pm Eastern. To participate please email Marnese

May 18: Equity Working Group

This group meets every month on the third Tuesday at 12:30pm Central / 1:30pm Eastern for 90 minutes. To participate please email Marnese

May 19: Governance Working Group Meeting

The Governance Working Group meets every other Thursday at 9am Central / 10am Eastern. To participate, please email Marnese.

May 19: Policy Working Group Meeting

The Policy Working Group meets every third Thursday at 10:30am Central / 11:30am Eastern. To participate, please email Marnese.

May 24: New Member Orientation

New member orientation is every 4th Tuesday of the month at 12pm Central / 1pm Eastern. Click here to register.

May 24: Michigan Building Decarbonization Coalition Meeting

This group meets monthly on the 4th Tuesday at 1pm Central / 2pm Eastern. For more information, please contact Charlotte Jameson with MI Environmental Council. 

May 24: Affordable Housing/QAP Working Group

This group meets every third Tuesday at 3pm Central / 4pm Eastern. To participate please email Marnese

May 25: Local Codes and Standards Working Group

This group meets every month on the fourth Wednesday at 3:30pm Central / 4:30pm Eastern. To participate, contact Jacob.

May 26: Jemez and Environmental Justice Principles 101 Training

Click here to register for this training from Noon-1:30pm Central / 1-2:30pm Eastern. We talk a lot about Environmental Justice, but what does it mean? How do we put it into practice? Join us to learn and reflect on some of the core principles of our movement. Facilitated by Marnese Jackson and Eric Fowler from Midwest BDC.

June 1: Health Working Group

The Health Working Group meets monthly on the first Wednesday at 12pm Central / 1pm Eastern. To participate, please email Emma Hines.

June 2: Governance Working Group Meeting

The Governance Working Group meets every other Thursday at 9am Central / 10am Eastern. To participate, please email Marnese.

June 2: AWHI Steering Committee

The Midwest Advanced Water Heating Initiative Steering Committee meetings the first Thursday of each month at 10-11am Central / 11am-12pm Eastern. To participate, please contact Jacob.

For full details about all Coalition working groups, keep reading.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Getting Fossil Fuels out of Buildings, May 4th

Join RE-AMP on May 4th at 1 pm Central/ 2 pm Eastern to hear how members are working to eliminate fossil fuels from buildings and to talk about how we can work together to accelerate the transition to healthy, safe, and affordable buildings that use no fossil fuels. If you currently work or plan to work on decarbonizing emissions from buildings, this call is for you! Register here.

Advancing Energy Justice: Tools for Justice40 and Equitable Deep Decarbonization, May 11-12

Federal and state-level policy discussions are increasingly focused on achieving an equitable clean energy transition. The Biden-Harris administration’s Justice40 Initiative aims to deliver at least 40 percent of benefits from federal investments in clean energy to historically overburdened and underserved communities.

This two-day conference will bring together federal agency staff working to implement Justice40 with researchers to discuss how academic research can be more responsive to communities’ needs. Click here for details and registration for this free event.

Energy Foundation Grantees Can Apply for Resource Hub grants May 2-16

On May 2, the application will open for Energy Foundation (EF) grantee organizations and partners to apply for resources through the Hub. The Resource Hub was designed to help small organizations afford hard-to-fundraise for tools to allow them to level up their mission, and we will do our best to meet the needs of this community. Grants will be between $3,000 to $10,000. Reach out to resourcehub@ef.org for more information.

DOE Preparing $13 million in Geothermal Funding

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) intends to issue the Community Geothermal Heating and Cooling Design and Deployment Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). Learn more about the upcoming opportunity here.

Electric Kitchens Website and Newsletter

ElectricKitchens.org is part of a new campaign by the Building Decarbonization Coalition to provide information and resources about all-electric kitchens. Learn more on the website, or by subscribing to the newsletter here.

Job Openings

Do you have announcements to share?

Send them to Eric at fowler@fresh-energy.org

RESOURCES

Cost Study of the Building Decarbonization Code, New Buildings Institute and NRDC, April 13, 2022

Building Decarbonization Solutions for the Affordable Housing Sector, ACEEE, April 18, 2022

State of the Air report, American Lung Association, 2022

Gas Leaks, a new collaborative project between Climate Nexus, Energy Media, Fossil Free Media, and Sunstone Strategies, highlighting the climate, health and safety risks of methane gas in all its uses and taking on the industry’s misinformation efforts.

NATIONAL AND REGIONAL NEWS  

Heat pumps could be part of the solution to decarbonizing Minnesota and addressing climate change, MinnPost, March 17, 2022

Michigan eligible for $183 million to make low-income homes more energy efficient, The Detroit News, March 30, 2022

Podcast: Audrey Schulman and Zeyneb Magavi on how to replace natural gas with renewable heat, Volts, April 1, 2022

Issues of the Environment: Ann Arbor looks to become 1st in the nation to decarbonize an entire neighborhood, WEMU, April 6, 2022

*New York shows the challenges of phasing out fossil fuels, even in blue states, Washington Post, April 12, 2022

How to fight the affordable housing and climate crises at once, Vox, April 17, 2022

Not being able to weatherize homes doesn’t just present cost burdens for low-income households, it also has a direct impact on the climate crisis. The energy required to cool, heat, and provide electricity to residential buildings accounts for 20 percent of annual energy use in the US, with older homes emitting more carbon.

Affordable Housing Lags Behind in Decarbonization Programs, ACEEE, April 18, 2022

Gas ban 2.0: Building wars, E&E News, April 18, 2022

24/7 carbon-free energy goal in Iowa City receiving broad support, Corridor Business Journal, April 19, 2022

Gov. Evers Releases Wisconsin’s First Clean Energy Plan, US News & World Report, April 20, 2022

Amping up Minnesota homes with electric panel upgrades, Fresh Energy, April 21, 2022

Living in energy-efficient homes can improve people’s health, Yale Climate Connections, April 21, 2022

Op-Ed: How Earth Day Can Be A Call For Action In The Black Community, Blavity (by Naomi Davis of Blacks in Green), April 22, 2022

Michigan awards $5M for state energy efficiency projects, Midland Daily News, April 22, 2022

*Climate Change: The Technologies That Could Make All the Difference, Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2022

Trends in Residential Heat Pump Adoption in the United States, Atlas Buildings Hub, April 22, 2022

Detroit energy activists push to hold utilities accountable during power outages, ENN, May 3, 2022

* Asterisk indicates that, unfortunately, the article is behind a paywall, and can only be viewed by paying subscribers.