Greetings Midwest BDC! 

Welcome to November – where this week we are celebrating the successes of the 2022 MWBDC Equity Summit! On November 2 – 4, over 150 folks tuned in to participate in workshops, panel discussions, data dives, and roundtables – at no cost to them. It was a powerful three days, full of conversations that inspired, challenged, recognized, and pushed the Equitable Building Decarbonization movement forward. 

If you were not able to tune in live, don’t worry! We will soon be sharing out recordings of the sessions and the slides our panelists shared. If you are looking for a particular resource or to get in touch with someone directly, please feel free to reach out and we will do our best to connect you.

Continuing the energy from the final day of the Summit in which we strategized how to implement the takeaways from the previous days into MWBDC’s future, we are now looking forward to the Annual Meeting on December 8, 2022. We will be continuing to strategize and will be voting on the inaugural board of directors (nominations are still open until Nov. 23 – spread the word!). Make sure your membership form has been filled out by the meeting to be eligible to cast your vote. Click on the documents linked in the form to download, sign, and email to midwestdecarb@gmail.com to complete your application.  

In this newsletter: take a look at funding opportunities, a chance to join a listening session hosted by the EPA tomorrow, and some updated working group meeting times that have shifted around the Holidays.  

In solidarity,  

 – Marnese, Margaret, Jacob, and Maggie 

P.S. – it’s voting day here in the U.S. – visit https://www.usa.gov/voting if you need information on your polling location or other voting resources. If you’re able, exercise your right to vote today!  

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT 

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For our November Member Spotlight, we want to highlight the Equity Summit Planning Committee – Gregory Norris, Huda Alkaff, Dr. Junius Pressey, De’Angelus Garcia Bey, Bishop Marcia Dinkins, Robin Lisowski, Ian Tran, Jamie Simmons, Dr. Frederick Forde, Chad Stephens, Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, Rachel Dortin, and Hillary Thomas – thank you!   

COALITION CALENDAR 

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

November 10: Federal Policy Working Group

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

November 15: Affordable Housing/QAP Working Group  
This group meets every third Tuesday of the month at 3:30 PM CST/ 4:30 PM EST. To participate please email Marnese.   

November 16: 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.  

November 17: Governance Working Group 
The Governance Working Group meets every other Thursday at 9 AM CST / 10 AM EST. To participate, please email Marnese. 

November 17: Healing Justice Working Group

This group meets at 10:30 AM CST / 11:30 AM EST for one hour. To participate, please contact Marnese.

November 22: New Member Orientation  
New member orientation is every 4th Tuesday of the month at 12 PM CST / 1 PM EST. Click here to register.  

November 22: 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.   

November 23: 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.

November 30: Faith Working Group 

This group meets at 11:30 AM CST / 12:30 PM EST for 1.5 hours. To participate, please contact Marnese. 

December 1: Governance Working Group 

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

December 1: AWHI Steering Committee 

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

December 5: Youth Working Group Meeting  

This group meets on the first Monday of every month at 6 PM CST / 7 PM EST. To participate, please contact Marnese. 

December 7: 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.   

December 8: Annual Meeting 

The Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition 2022 Annual Meeting will take place virtually on December 8, 2022. We will be voting on the inaugural board of directors at this meeting. Make sure your membership documents have been completed by this time. Register here! 

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

 ANNOUNCEMENTS

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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.  

Membership Forms 

We welcome you to fill out the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition Membership Application. We invite you to submit an application as a Coalition Member (Organizational Member or Individual Member) or Working Group Participant.  Applications can be submitted HERE.  There will be three forms that you will have to sign and send back. Please send back to midwestdecarb@gmail.com.   

Benefits of membership include: Collective bargaining power, enhanced perspective and learning from diverse fields of building trades, governmental, health, equity and climate science.  

  • Everyone has the same rights and privileges as a member of the MWDBC. All members work for equitable decarbonization in the Midwest 
  • Growing capacity around equitable decarbonization #organizations involved – information sharing & commitment to learning  
  • Stronger collective power to individuals and organizations to advance Equitable Building Decarbonization. 
  • Right to vote on Coalition business, priorities and sign-on(s) 
  • Access to trainings and funding opportunities 
  • Participatory processes in goal and visioning setting 
  • Expertise in areas of building decarbonization  
  • Opportunity to lead and work alongside members on campaigns, share information and annual gatherings build equitable decarbonization in the Midwest 

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

EPA Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Listening Session – November 9, 2022 

The final listening session regarding the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is taking place on November 9 from 7 – 9 PM EST. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund provides $27 billion to EPA for expenditure until September 30, 2024. This includes: 

  • $7 billion for competitive grants to enable low-income and disadvantaged communities to deploy or benefit from zero-emission technologies, including distributed technologies on residential rooftops; 
  • Nearly $12 billion for competitive grants to eligible entities to provide financial and technical assistance to projects that reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions; and 
  • $8 billion for competitive grants to eligible entities to provide financial and technical assistance to projects that reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in low-income and disadvantaged communities. 
  • EPA is launching a coordinated stakeholder engagement strategy to help shape the implementation of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and ensure the full economic and environmental benefits of this historic investment are realized by all Americans. 

Funding Opportunities  

The Fund for Frontline Power is accepting applications until January 15, 2023.  

From their website: “The vision of the fund is to move resources to frontline communities who are implementing climate solutions that are inclusive, regenerative, replicable, and scalable.  This fund has been designed and managed by a 13-member Grassroots Governance Body comprised of grassroots climate justice advocates from across the country. The Governance Body will also review and make final decisions on the fund awards. The F4FP grant applications will be open November 1, 2022 until January 15, 2023.” 

The DOE released two grant opportunities for local providers of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). If you have a relationship with a local WAP provider (or are one), these grants could be a great opportunity to do deeper building decarb projects at the local level.   

Memorandum 096: Sustainable Energy Resources for Consumers (SERC) grants– This fund can be used for technology not generally covered by WAP (including heat pumps and onsite renewables) and is not required to follow the average cost per unit allowable expenses for weatherization jobs and renewable energy measures. Letter of Interests due 11/30/2022. 

Memorandum 097: Community Scale Pilot Project (CSPP) grants– The goal of the CSPP is to pilot complex place-based deployment of WAP services to income-eligible households within a specific geographic area, housing type(s), and/or specific demographics. Applications due 12/21/2022. 

Kansas City, Missouri, passes the 2021 IECC with Strengthening Amendments 

The City Council of Kansas City, Missouri approved a vote 9-4 to update their building code to align with 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).  The approved ordinance (#220364) includes improvements to building envelope, air conditioning and water systems, as well as strengthening amendments that prepare buildings for the future installation of solar and electric vehicle charging stations.  It also includes a ZERO Code provision which is a voluntary measure for commercial construction and provides a clear pathway for new or existing buildings to achieve net-zero. 

 From Building Energy Exchange KC Newsletter 

ICYMI – Pembroke PEEP Project Documentary Launch 

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, nd that it is a viable, sustainable, and cost-effective solution for bringing reliable energy to rural, poor communities. 

The short documentary recently debuted – make sure to check it out if you haven’t seen it yet! Additionally, learn more about the project by reading our blog post from earlier this year. 

Job Openings

Midwest Equitable Building Decarbonization Advocate | NRDC  

Senior Researcher- Energy Systems Engineering | Slipstream  

Senior Researcher, Residential HVAC / Building Science | Slipstream  

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 

RMI:

Do you have announcements for the next Newsletter? Share them with Maggie at heiser@fresh-energy.org

RESOURCES 

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MWBDC One Pager 

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. 

Mayor Lightfoot Releases the Chicago Building Decarbonization Working Group Recommendations Report 

“This set of bold recommendations in the Chicago Building Decarbonization Working Group Recommendations Report, developed with and for all Chicagoans, provides a suite of strategies that can help Chicago meet its Climate Action Plan goals equitably and ensure that no one community is left behind and that we prioritize clean, healthy, and efficient buildings for all.” 

Utility Front Group Advertisement Tracker: Exposing Utility Front Groups’ Spending on Facebook and Instagram 

“Utility front groups are organizations that appear independent but are established, controlled or funded by a gas or electric utility or trade association. These front groups advocate on behalf of utility interests, often by amplifying misinformation about distributed, renewable energy or electrification, while masking or obscuring the utility’s involvement. Today, as more utilities publicly commit to climate action, they continue to block meaningful climate reform and invest in fossil fuel infrastructure.  

The Energy and Policy Institute’s new tool shows that utilities continue to stall and limit climate action by funding front groups to spread climate misinformation and false solutions to solve the crisis through advertising on social media networks. Using data from the Meta Ad Library API and existing code from Brown University, EPI’s tool exposes the amount each utility front group is spending, between the beginning of 2018 to present, and the specific regions the advertisements target. View our methodology and source code here.” 

Do You Know Who Holds the Power (and the Air, and the Heat, and the Water…)? 

“We know that environmental and economic crises disproportionately impact communities of color, women, people with disabilities, children, elders, and people who are LGBTQIA. These groups have been historically, systemically marginalized. However, Who Holds the Power reveals that:  

  • significant majority — 65% — of Public Utility Commissioners identify as men  
  • Six states have all-male PUCs  
  • Nearly half of all states have PUCs with no commissioners of color  
  • A mere states have PUCs with more than one commissioner of color  
  • Commissioners from several states have ties to fossil fuels – wielding significant influence within one of the very industries they regulate  

The keys to advancing equity and inclusion in the PUCs/PSCs are directly tied to representational governance. When the commissioners occupying those seats truly see themselves as accountable to the people, the public wins.  Armed with this new report, communities can rise up, get involved, hold these officials accountable, and “be the change we want to see in the world.”” 

U.S. Energy Information Administration Winter Fuels Outlook 

Notes from Mark Henchen with RMI on this report: Some top takeaways (basically, electricity bills have been much more stable than fossil fuel bills which have gone up by A LOT): 

  • Fossil gas (natural gas) prices continue to rise, and gas customers will see a big increase in their winter gas bills this year, for the second year in a row. Across the country, the average US household that heats primarily with gas will spend 28% more this winter for gas bills than one year ago, and 62% more than two years ago. 
  • While all energy prices have gone up, electricity price increases have been much smaller than those for gas. The average US household that heats primarily with electricity will spend 10% more this winter for electricity bills than one year ago, and 14% more than two years ago. 
  • Over the same two-year period, the comparable numbers for heating oil bill increases (+94%) and propane bill increases (+54%) are high. 

Ultimately, this report does not give a head-to-head cost comparison of heating with a heat pump vs. with a gas furnace, but it is very clear that there is a consistent trend over the last 2 years of fossil fuel heating getting much more expensive while electric heating experiences more modest cost increases. 

NATIONAL AND REGIONAL NEWS   

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The most annoying barrier to getting your home off fossil fuels – Vox, October 8, 2022 

The next frontier for climate action is the great indoors – Vox, October 14, 2022 

Cutting Wisconsin carbon footprint would save money and lives, study finds – Madison.com, October 26, 2022 

Heating will be costly this winter, but much less so with a heat pump – Canary Media, October 31, 2022 

Maine program aims to help small towns electrify heat in public buildings – Energy News Network, October 4, 2022 

EPA Launches New National Office Dedicated to Advancing Environmental Justice and Civil Rights – EPA, September 24, 2022 

Michigan, Ohio among states ‘uniquely positioned’ to benefit from clean energy investments – Toledo Blade, October 12, 2022* 

Commentary: Grassroots environmental groups must lead decarbonization policy – Energy News Network, October 10, 2022 

A Chicago mansion shows the potential for geothermal energy in urban areas – Energy News Network, October 11, 2022 

Not according to plan: Exploring gaps in city climate planning and the need for regional action – Brookings, September 22, 2022 

People with disabilities left out of climate planning – ABC News, October 13, 2022 

‘Utility redlining’: Detroit power outages disproportionally hit minority and low-income areas – Guardian, October 6, 2022 

Can energy justice be measured? A new research project aims to do just that – Energy News Network, September 29, 2022 

Schumer and Manchin’s ‘dirty side deal’ to fast-track pipelines faces backlash – Guardian, September 22, 2022 

Former CEO of DTE speaks on career, renewable energy as protestors express disapproval – The Michigan Daily, October 27, 2022 

Ohio State students protest university’s relationship with fossil fuels – NBC 4, October 31, 2022 

The energy system is ‘inherently racist,’ advocates say. How are utilities responding to calls for greater equity? – Utility Dive, October 26, 2022 

Bottom Line: Gas range health risk – Action 5 News, November 1, 2022 

Are Gas Stoves the New Cigarettes? – The New Republic, October 28, 2022 

Shop early Black Friday deals on the best induction ranges and cooktops in 2022 – CBS News, October 28, 2022 

The below articles were all shared by our Day 1 Keynote Speaker, Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, at the 2022 Equity Summit – thanks, Tamara!:  

Should the Electric Grid Be Antiracist? – Union of Concerned Scientists, January 11, 2021 

Why Justice in Design Is Critical to Repairing America – Architectural Digest, July 2, 2020 

The Red Deal Is an Indigenous Climate Plan That Builds on the Green New Deal – Teen Vogue, November 1, 2019 

A Guide to Climate Reparations – Yes! Magazine, November 29, 2021 

There’s No Black Liberation Without Climate Reparations – Atmos, July 16, 2021 

*Indicates that unfortunately, this article is behind a paywall. 

THIS LISTSERV 

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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