Greetings Midwest BDC! 

October is finally upon us, and as we welcome in changing leaves, cooler temperatures, and all of the wonderful aspects of autumn, it’s important to acknowledge the stresses the cold months bring with them. For many of our community members, this winter will be marked by rising energy bills to heat their homes in the face of extreme weather that is only getting more severe due to the changing climate.  

Recently, both Puerto Rico and Florida were hit by extreme weather events – hurricanes. Not only are these events themselves devastating, but the inequities in the response and aid leave the brunt of the impacts on BIPOC and low-income communities. Puerto Ricans were already suffering due to the infrastructure of their power grid before Hurricane Fiona exacerbated the problems. However, inequitable investments and infrastructure are not only issues during times of environmental crisis. These inequities cause crises themselves when communities are intentionally neglected for years. This is what we saw in the Flint, MichiganJackson, Mississippi, and Baltimore, Maryland water crises. In three different cities across the country, three different water contamination crises all hit BIPOC and low-income communities the hardest.  

As we know all too well, this isn’t due to random chance. Environmental racism in infrastructure has roots that trace back to redlining. In the 1930s “the Federal Housing Administration was subsidizing builders who were mass-producing entire subdivisions for whites — with the requirement that none of the homes be sold to African-Americans.” 90 years later, today in Jackson, the same racist funding allocation caused the water crisis residents are facing. The NAACP filed a complaint against Mississippi state officials for “repeatedly diverting federal funds meant for ensuring safe drinking water away from the state’s predominantly Black capital, Jackson, to smaller, white communities.” 

We have recently been talking a lot about the Inflation Reduction Act and the funding it will provide for clean energy work. However, we only need to look at how funding has been allocated in the past – leaving BIPOC communities and low-income folks behind – to know that simply providing the funding is not enough. As a Coalition, it is now more important than ever that we act as watchdogs to ensure that this funding benefits the people who it has been denied to in the past.  

In solidarity,  

– Marnese, Margaret, Jacob, and Maggie 

In this newsletter: take a look at new updates about the 2022 Equity Summit, MWBDC Board Member Nominations form, and the 2022 Annual Meeting. There are a lot of resources included too – share them with others who may find them useful!  



This month, we’re spotlighting Mari Ojeda (Minnesota). 

Mari Ojeda 

Senior Policy Associate, Energy Access and Equity at Fresh Energy

Mari is from the Twin Cities with a degree in Environmental Studies from Hamline University. While in undergrad and serving in AmeriCorps through MN GreenCorps, she cultivated a passion for green building technology, construction, and energy efficiency. She also was a member of the Environmental Justice Advisory Group at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, strengthening her connections in the community and dedication to climate justice. Prior to Fresh Energy, Mari worked for an affordable housing developer where she where she gained invaluable knowledge in affordable housing issues in Minnesota. She uses these intersectional experiences of environmental and housing justice as she advocates for an equitable transition to clean energy. Mari is currently pursuing her juris doctorate at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.  

Mari is instrumental in the work of our QAP / Affordable Housing Working Group. We appreciate all you do, Mari! 



To view upcoming working group meetings and other Coalition events online, visit 

October 5: Health Working Group 
The Health Working Group meets monthly on the first Wednesday at 12 PM CST / 1 PM EST. To participate, please email Emma Hines.  

October 6: Governance Working Group 
The Governance Working Group meets every other Thursday at 9 AM CST / 10 AM EST. To participate, please email Marnese.  

October 6: AWHI Steering Committee 

This group meets on the first Thursday of the month at 10 AM CST / 11 AM EST. To participate, email Jacob. 

October 6: Environmental and Climate Justice 101 
11 AM CST / 12 PM EST 
We talk a lot about Environmental and Climate Justice training is the nuts and bolts of understanding the movement, policy efforts, and practical steps to achieve justice. How do we put them into practice? Join us to learn and reflect on some of the core principles of our movement. Whether you are new to this work or want to continue deepening your understanding, we would love to have you in this space. This training will be facilitated by Marnese Jackson, Co-Director of the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition. Register Now! 

October 12: Coalition Monthly Meeting 

Our next monthly meeting will be on Wednesday, October 12th at 2 PM CST / 3 PM 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.  


  1. Intro and icebreaker (10 min) 
  2. Member spotlight (5 min) 
  3. Governance Working Group report out (15 min) 
    • Board nominations form 
    • Coalition partner form 
  4. Call for other working groups report-outs (10 min)  
    • Healing Justice 
    • Faith  
    • Federal Policy 
  5. Announcements (10 min) 
  6. Close 

October 13: Building Decarbonization 101 

11 AM CST / 12 PM EST 

How is decarbonization different from efficiency? Why are buildings so important? What’s all this about electrification? Join Midwest BDC and our Co-Director Jacob Serfling, for this overview of Building Decarbonization, and why it’s so critical to do well and to do equitably. Register Now! 

October 18: Affordable Housing/QAP Working Group  
This group meets every third Tuesday of the month at 3:30 PMS CST/ 4:30 PM EST. To participate please email Marnese.   

October 19: Equity Working Group  
The Equity Working Group meets for 90 minutes every third Wednesday at 12 PM CST / 1 PM EST. To participate please email Marnese.  

October 20: Governance Working Group 
The Governance Working Group meets every other Thursday at 9 AM CST / 10 AM EST. To participate, please email Marnese. 

October 20: Federal Policy Working Group 
The Federal Policy Working Group meets for 90 minutes every third Thursday at 10:30 AM CST / 11:30 AM EST. To participate, please email Marnese. 

October 25: New Member Orientation  
New member orientation is every 4th Tuesday of the month at 12 PM CST / 1 PM EST. Click here to register.  

October 25: Michigan Building Decarbonization Coalition Meeting  
This group meets monthly on the 4th Tuesday at 1 PM CST / 2 PM EST. For more information, please contact Charlotte Jameson with MI Environmental Council.   

October 26: Local Codes and Standards Working Group  
This group meets every month on the fourth Wednesday at 10 AM CST / 11 AM EST. To participate, contact Jacob.  

October 26: Faith Working Group 

This group meets every month on the fourth Wednesday at 11:30 AM CST / 12:30 PM EST for 1.5 hours. To participate, please contact Marnese. 

October 27: Healing Justice Working Group  

This group meets every month on the fourth Thursday at 9 AM CST / 10 AM EST for one hour. To participate, please contact Marnese. 

October 27: Heat Pump and Contractors Training 
11 AM CST / 12 PM EST 

Homeowners are sometimes talked out of heat pumps by contractors or do not find support from local organizations and utilities that might provide information to help make decisions or provide incentives to choose a heat pump when available. To help grow our wealth of knowledge on heat pumps, Dan Wildenhaus is joining us from CEE (Center for Energy and Environment), where he provides Building Science and HVAC consultation, technical management, market channel development, and training and presentation services for a variety of programs across the country. Register now! 

Folks who attend this training will end up: 
1. Better informed about what types of heat pumps are available and the applications where they make sense. 

2. Better suited to converse with contractors on what they want, why they want it, and exude the confidence necessary to ensure a proper installation happens. 

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



2022 Equity Summit  

The 2022 Equity Summit is one month away! This year’s theme centers the second principle of Kwanzaa — Kujichagulia (Self-Determination). We will be exploring how we empower communities and collectively move forward in the Building Decarbonization Movement.  

Make sure you are registered to attend, check out our speakers and moderators, and view the Summit schedule! There are a ton of great sessions, panels, workshops, and conversations to participate in.  

In an effort to make the Summit more accessible, we will be hosting all of the sessions virtually on Zoom and there will be no cost to attend. 

Board Member Nomination Form 

The nominations form for the inaugural Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition Board of Directors is now available. Do you know someone who would be a great addition to our work? Nominate them to serve on the board! Voting on the Board of Directors will take place on December 8, 2022 at the MWBDC Annual Meeting.  

Annual Meeting – Save the Date! 

The Midwest BDC Annual Meeting is slated for December 8, 2022. At this meeting, Coalition Members will be voting on our inaugural Board of Directors. You don’t want to miss it! Register now

Pembroke PEEP Project Documentary Launch 

Did you know that rural, poor communities can bring clean, reliable energy to their residents through the electrification and energy efficiency of homes? Pembroke, IL is showing us how through a community-led pilot project: PEEP (Pembroke Energy Efficiency Pilot).  

Midwest BDC, in partnership with RMICDC-PHP, and Slipstream, are excited to debut a short documentary on the PEEP project that will be coming out soon. This documentary shows that community members are excited about electrification and that it is a viable, sustainable, and cost-effective solution for bringing reliable energy to rural, poor communities. 

Ahead of the documentary launch, check out our blog post about the project from earlier this year and keep an eye on your email for the link to the full documentary coming soon! 

Huda Alkaff receives Midwest Environmental Advocates 2022 Environmental Justice Award 

The Bill Iwen Environmental Justice Award was established by Midwest Environmental Advocates in 2019 to honor local leaders who make a lasting difference in Wisconsin by advocating for the rights of all people to live in a clean and healthy environment. The award is named in honor of Bill Iwen, a Kewaunee County native who touched the lives of many people in his community and beyond through his tireless work to ensure that all Wisconsinites have access to clean water. 

MWBDC Coalition member Huda Alkaff, founder and director of Wisconsin Green Muslims, was one of the 2022 Recipients of the award. Congratulations, Huda, and thank you for all you do!  

October 12: Existing Building Decarbonization Code: the Gamechanger We Need Right Now in the Climate Fight (New Buildings Institute) 

This webinar will feature presenters who are advancing codes and policies that will effectively decarbonize existing buildings and bring us the scale we seek. New Buildings Institute will share a new resource, the recently released Existing Buildings Decarbonization Code, to help jurisdictions set clear and approachable pathways to cut carbon emissions through existing building codes. This tool presents language that acts as an overlay to the 2021 International Efficiency Conservation Code (IECC) and details the measures needed for cutting emissions from the current building stock. Learn more and register here.  

Cook County, Illinois launches guaranteed income pilot 

Applications for Cook County residents open on October 6, 2022. Read more about the pilot project and application requirements here.  

Job Openings 

Program Associate, Energy Transition and Development | Fresh Energy 

Managing Director, Industry | Fresh Energy 

Digital Communications Associate | Fresh Energy 

Campaign Representative – Building Decarbonization (Colorado) | Sierra Club 

Campaign Representative – Healthy Communities and Building Decarbonization (Michigan) | Sierra Club 

Director of the Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Technologies Office | Department of Energy 

Director of the Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office | Department of Energy 

Staff Attorney – Climate Change Programs | Mitchell Hamline School of Law 


Do you have announcements for the October Newsletter? Share them with Maggie at [email protected]



MWBDC One Pager 

A handy fact sheet providing an overview of the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition’s mission, vision, and impact.  

Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaption 

Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation (CMRA) integrates information from across the federal government to help people consider their local exposure to climate-related hazards. People working in community organizations or for local, Tribal, state, or Federal governments can use the site to help them develop equitable climate resilience plans to protect people, property, and infrastructure. The site also points users to Federal grant funds for climate resilience projects, including those available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

Equitable Home Electrification Toolkit – RMI 

This toolkit is intended to help communities across the United States take meaningful steps toward equitably electrifying their existing housing stock through a planning process designed to maximize engagement and co-ownership between local governments and frontline community groups.  

Existing Building Decarbonization Code – New Buildings Institute, September 19, 2022 

The Existing Building Decarbonization Code is a new way for jurisdictions to reduce carbon emissions and meet Climate Action Plan and public health and equity goals. NBI’s release of the Building Decarbonization Code provided the first off-the-shelf solution–as an overlay to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)–for jurisdictions to transform energy codes into decarbonization codes for new buildings. Expanding where that document left off, the Existing Building Decarbonization Code complements the original by adding provisions specifically for existing buildings. The new model language covers both residential and commercial buildings including all-electric and mix-fuel energy use pathways. 

Green Tax Incentive Compendium: Federal and State Tax Incentives for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency – Polsinelli Law Firm, August 2022 

Energy Star Rebate Finder 

Find rebates on eligible Energy Star certified products. 

Mapping energy burden in Minnesota – Citizens Utility Board, September 14, 2022 

Interactive storymaps focusing on energy burden in Minnesota. “My maps indicate specific areas of Minnesota where additional attention to energy burden is particularly needed. They can help CUB understand how to prioritize efforts and make other programming decisions.” 

Department of Energy Justice Week 2022 Recordings 

Check out these recordings of the public sessions of the DOE’s inaugural Justice Week. In particular, day five focuses on community engagement and upcoming funding opportunities.  

The following timestamps were provided by Amneh Minkara, Federal Deputy Director of Building Electrification Campaign. Thank you, Amneh!  

Here are some timestamps to navigate through the agenda: 

  • 7:50 – Opening Remarks 
  • 18:30 – Keynote Panel: Meeting the Moment – A Conversation on Energy Justice 
  • 1:02:22 – Justice40 and BIL, IRA, and DPA: A Constellation of Opportunity 
  • 1:31:35 – Justice40 Deep Dive & General Guidance 
  • 1:47:01 – Competitive Grants 101: The Basics for How to Apply and Engage 
  • 2:05:07 – Equity in Action: Community Engagement and Competitive Grants 
  • 2:34:16 – Keynote Address by Xiye Bastida 
  • 3:04:48 – Engaging Communities for Effective Clean Energy Programming 
  • 3:17:13 – Panel: Community-Led Energy Justice Solutions 
  • 4:10:18 – Getting Ready to Apply: The Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers 
  • 4:25:32 – State and Community Energy Programs Overview 
  • 4:55:08 – Closing Remarks 



Unplugged: Why utilities are more likely to disconnect Black, Latino, and Indigenous households – Grist, September 6, 2022 

New federal law set to help Missouri rural electric co-ops pay off coal plant debt, transition to ‘green’ energy – KSMU, September 2, 2022 

Ann Arbor officials draw applause for 10-1 vote on $459K public power study – M Live, September 7, 2022.  

EPA Unveils new office to place environmental justice at agency’s core – Washington Post, September 24, 2022 

Environmental and Climate Justice Assessment and Reporting: A Step to Correct Infrastructure Inequities – WSP, August 24, 2022 

Buying a New Stove, Oven, or Dryer? Read This First. – New York Times, September 9, 2022 

The unequal toll of climate disasters – AXIOS, September 21, 2022 

America’s electric utilities spent decades spreading climate misinformation – Grist, September 7, 2022  

At 75, the Father of Environmental Justice Meets the Moment* – New York Times, September 12, 2022 

To fight climate change, environmentalists may have to give up a core belief – Washington Post, September 2, 2022 

Fast-Tracking Pilots the Right Way Can Ensure Michigan’s Clean Energy Transition – Union of Concerned Scientists, September 19, 2022 

Your House Is Due for an Electrical Upgrade* – Bloomberg, August 17, 2022 

Chicago’s new weapon against climate change: A requirement that new homes be ready for easy installation of electric appliances* – Chicago Tribune, September 21, 2022 

Want to phase out fossil fuels? We must fundamentally change our buildings* – Washington Post, September 26, 2022 

*Indicates that unfortunately, this article is behind a paywall 



All Coalition members should now have been added to the Midwest BDC listserv. We will be using the listserv to distribute this monthly newsletter, monthly meeting agendas, and generally as a forum for discussion and resource sharing.   


If you are having trouble accessing the listserv, please email Maggie