Happy April, Midwest BDC! 

Spring is finally here, and along with it comes Earth Day on April 22nd. This is a time of year when lots of people and organizations focus on what they can do to help our planet, work towards lessening the impacts of climate change, and spend time outside and enjoy nature. These are all great things, but it’s important to remember that we can’t just do this work one day out of the year – if we’re going to make a real difference, we have to make every day Earth Day. 

This is where folks like you come in – attending working group meetings, training, and connecting with other advocates across the Midwest to reduce our carbon footprint. This commitment to making change takes all of us working together. We are proud to be doing this working alongside you in our Coalition!

If you’re planning on attending community Earth Day events this April, feel free to print out and share some copies of the new MWBDC One Pager developed with our Youth Working Group members. Bringing new faces into this space grows our movement and collective power. Continue reading this newsletter for upcoming webinars on different funding sources, our news and resource roundup, and job opportunities in the decarbonization field.

In solidarity, 

– Marnese, Jacob, and Maggie 


This month, we want to highlight our newly elected MWBDC board officers! Our board has been meeting and is hard at work gearing up to begin the search for MWBDC’s first Executive Director. Learn more about all of our awesome board members here. Congratulations to our board officers, and all of the board members who are working hard to advance the Coalition! 

President: Gregory Norris 

Vice President: Sheila Curry-Campbell 

Secretary: Robin Lisowski 

Treasurer: Margaret Cherne-Hendrick 

Seargent of Harmony: Dr. J.B. Pressey 


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

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

April 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. 

April 6: MWBDC Train the Trainer 

This first MWBDC train-the-trainer meeting will set up participants to take a mini MWBDC orientation out to their communities to bring folks into this movement. Register here! 

April 12: Health Working Group 

This group meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 12 PM CST / 1 PM EST. To participate, please email Marnese. 

April 12: MWBDC Monthly Meeting 
The monthly meeting takes place the second Wednesday of each month for 90 minutes at 2 PM CST / 3 PM EST. Register here

April 13: Federal Policy Working Group 
The Federal Policy Working Group meets every other Thursday for 90 minutes at 11 AM CST / 12 PM EST. To participate, please email Marnese. 

April 13: Communications and Marketing 101  

This webinar will dive into the importance of creating a recognizable brand, developing a consistent voice, and utilizing social media and the internet to connect your work with the people who want to see it. We will walk through how to create a brand kit, social media toolkit, and how to use common social media sites and tools. 

Whether you’re part of an organization or just want to learn how to create and share content online, this training will give you insight into the basics of marketing and communications so that you can take your work to the next level. Join Maggie Heiser, Communications Manager at MWBDC, for an overview of digital marketing and communications tools that anyone can use. 12:30 PM CST / 1:30 PM EST. Register now! 

April 14: MWBDC Office Hours 

This time is for people to meet with MWBDC staff about any questions they might have. Feel free to email us before the meeting time so that we can be prepared with the information you need! 12 PM CST / 1 PM EST. Register here. 

April 18: 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.   

April 19: Equity Working Group 

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

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

April 20: Advocacy 101 

Our elected officials are regularly introducing new legislation and moving bills forward that affect us all. Figuring out where and how to get involved with these legislative processes can be confusing! Who do you contact? How can you make your voice heard? 

In this webinar, MWBDC Co-Director Marnese Jackson will lay out the do’s and don’ts of advocacy so that you can be prepared to get involved and speak out for the issues that matter to you most. 11 AM CST / 12 PM EST. Register now! 

April 24: 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. 

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

April 27: Healing Justice Working Group  

This group meets at 10 AM CST / 11 AM EST for 60 minutes. To participate, please contact Marnese. 

April 27: Federal Policy Working Group 
The Federal Policy Working Group meets every other Thursday for 90 minutes at 11 AM CST / 12 PM EST. To participate, please email Marnese. 

April 28: MWBDC Office Hours 

This time is for people to meet with MWBDC staff about any questions they might have. Feel free to email us before the meeting time so that we can be prepared with the information you need! 12 PM CST / 1 PM EST. Register here. 

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



Membership Forms 

Have you filled out your Membership Forms yet? If you want to be an official member of the Coalition, learn more and fill out the application form here.  

MWBDC Train-the-Trainer 

Have you been wanting to introduce MWBDC’s work to your community? Register for this train-the-trainer session! MWBDC staff will go over a script and slide deck of a mini orientation to decarbonization and our work so you will be prepared to share this information with those around you.  

This meeting will be on Thursday, 4/6 at 1 PM EST / 12 PM CST. Register here!  

Upcoming Trainings 

We have two upcoming trainings in April from MWBDC staff – learn more and register for each of these at midwestdecarb.org/calendar 

MWBDC Workshop at Getting to Zero Forum  

Join Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition for an in-depth and hands on workshop on equitable decarbonization. Participants will leave the session with answers to questions like: What does a community that is equitably decarbonized look like versus one that isn’t? How can community members advocate for decarbonization in a way that is equitable for all members of the community? Additionally, participants will be challenged to consider the specific roadblocks in their work for equitable implementation and how to take action. 

MWBDC’s staff will be attending the full Getting to Zero Forum – if you will be there too, connect with us! 

ACEEE Webinars – DOE Buildings UP Prize 

The Department of Energy’s Buildings Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP) is awarding more than $22 million in cash prizes and technical assistance to up to 60 cross-sectoral teams with winning ideas to accelerate equitable energy efficiency and building electrification upgrades in residential and commercial buildings. Residential Retrofits for Energy Equity (R2E2) is hosting a series of training webinars for potential applicants to Buildings UP, with three coming up in early April: 

Introduction to Community Driven Planning – Monday, April 10, 1pm-2:30pm ET   

Accessing Funding Sources for Affordable Housing and Equity-Eligible Commercial Building Retrofits – Wednesday, April 12, 12:30- 2pm ET 

Energy Efficiency Programs 101 – Friday, April 14, 1-2:30pm ET    

NBI Community Listening Sessions 

New Buildings Institute (NBI) is working on a project focused on policy solutions to address extreme heat. They want to hear from community-based organizations and key stakeholders about your experience, challenges, and opportunities for addressing extreme heat in your homes and buildings. The project will result in model building code and ordinance overlays that will be tailored for the Southwest, Northeast, and Midwest to be used by cities to mitigate and adapt to extreme heat. For more information regarding the project, please read this blog. 

They are requesting 1.5 hours of your time, or that of your stakeholders, and they are offering stipends for participation. 

Dates/times for the virtual Community Listening Session (please choose one): 

Region Meeting Dates Meeting Times 
MW 7-Apr 12-1:30pm ET 
MW 12-Apr 5:30-7pm ET 
National 26-Apr 12-1:30pm ET 

To register, or ask questions, please contact [email protected]

Earth Day Events 
We’re excited to celebrate Earth Day across the Midwest later this month! Check out these events MWBDC members shared with us –  

Are there other Earth Day events you know of coming up? Share them with Maggie so she can promote them to our MWBDC network! 

Job Openings 

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


Fuel Oil and Propane Space Heating Across the United States 

In this analysis, Atlas Buildings Hub examine the areas of the country most dependent on home heating oil and propane, the health and monetary impacts associated with both fuels, and available technologies to displace them.  

EPA’s Clean Energy Financing Toolkit for Decisionmakers 

EPA recently released a public online tool called the Clean Energy Financing Toolkit for Decisionmakers to help state and local decisionmakers understand a range of financing programs and to learn from existing state and local examples. The tool includes a dozen clean energy financing program types that state and local governments can pursue to fund clean energy investment. The interactive toolkit allows users to sort through types of financing programs based on target sectors, funding types, legislation needed, and level of funding required.  

State of Energy Equity Regulation and Legislation 

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory published a report Assessing the Current State of U.S. Energy Equity Regulation and Legislation. It looks at the energy equity actions taken by states between January 2020 and July 2022, and finds that 22 states plus DC had taken 95 actions with most “associated with resource planning, decarbonization, and energy efficiency regulation.” But in only a few cases are there “equity metrics for tracking the outcomes of those actions.” Both the report and the database of 95 actions are available for download

2023 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook 

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy released this year’s Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, produced by BloombergNEF. It covers the energy efficiency, renewable energy, and natural gas sectors, highlighting year-over-year progress. Data covers such topics as energy consumption, renewable generating capacity, energy storage, hydrogen, renewable natural gas, electric vehicles, industrial emissions, and carbon capture storage. 

How Energy Modeling Works: The Uses and Limitations of Energy Modeling for Decarbonization Planning 

Energy modeling—using computer software and mathematical equations to simulate the operation and growth of energy systems—can be a powerful tool for state decarbonization planning. With many states interested in identifying the best strategies for transitioning the energy sector to clean energy, there is demand and need for robust energy modeling to support policy development. But because modeling can be costly and the results can be prone to misinterpretation, models need to be used carefully. 

This short introductory report from Clean Energy States Alliance is written for a broad range of stakeholders who are not themselves modelers but who need to either make decisions about modeling projects or interpret and act upon modeling results. This high-level analysis is especially timely, because states currently have an opportunity to embark on climate action planning activities with significant funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency. Check it out here. 

Do you live in an air pollution hotspot? 

The Guardian worked with academics to analyze air pollution in the contiguous US at a neighborhood level and created a top 10 ranking of local areas breathing the worst air. And a new interactive map allows Americans to see the estimated pollution levels in their neighborhoods at an unprecedented level of detail. 

The analysis, based on a model created by a team of researchers at institutions including the University of Washington, shows that the more people of color who live in a neighborhood, the higher the fine particulate air pollution levels are likely to be. 

Funding Opportunities 


Biden-Harris Administration Invests $315 Million to Advance Reliable Clean Energy in Rural and Remote Communities  

The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), today announced $300 million for projects that increase energy affordability and promote climate resilience and $15 million for a prize competition to help rural communities build the capacity needed for clean energy development and deployment. These two new funding opportunities are a critical component of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-funded Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) program, which aims to improve the resilience, reliability, and affordability of energy systems in communities across the country with 10,000 or fewer people. Today’s announcements will help deliver local community-driven energy projects in rural and remote communities and reflect the President’s unwavering commitment to ensuring no community is left behind in the nation’s historic transition to a clean energy future.   

Read the full funding opportunity announcement for the ERA program here. Concept papers are due by April 14, 2023, and full applications are due by June 28, 2023. 

Buildings UP Prize 

Upgrading existing buildings to efficiently run on clean energy will help address climate change.  Building upgrades may include transitioning to efficient electric equipment, including heat pumps and heat pump water heaters, and improving building efficiency through measures such as insulation and air sealing. Together, efforts will help reduce carbon emissions and energy costs, while improving indoor air quality and occupant comfort. 

Developed by the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office (BTO), Buildings UP aims to build capacity to rapidly and equitably transform U.S. buildings. Teams will submit innovative concepts to leverage the billions of dollars available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), utility rebate programs, and many other funding sources, capitalizing on this once-in-a-generation opportunity to equitably transform a wide variety of buildings across diverse geographies. As teams progress through the prize, they will receive cash prizes and technical assistance to help bring their ideas to life. 

Check out the details and the schedule of upcoming informational webinars here.  

EPA Environmental Justice Grants, Funding and Technical Assistance  

Check out this list of 2023 grants for Environmental Justice projects from the EPA – and if you’re interested in hearing about future funding opportunities, sign up for the EPA Grants ListServ to receive emails about new grants, webinars, and other information! 

EPA Climate Pollution Reduction Grants 

The Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG) program will provide grants to states, territories, tribes, air pollution control agencies, and local governments to develop and implement plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful air pollution. Section 60114 of the Inflation Reduction Act provides an investment of $5 billion to support efforts by states, territories, municipalities, tribes, and groups thereof to develop and implement strong, local greenhouse gas reduction strategies. This two-staged grant program provides funding of $250 million for planning grants, and $4.6 billion for implementation grants.” 


How Biden’s environmental justice plan is changing DOE Energy Wire, March 31, 2023 

DOE to Make $1 Billion Available for Improved Energy Codes U.S. Department of Energy, March 31, 2023 

DOE Launches Second Round of Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship Program U.S. Department of Energy, March 31, 2023 

Secret ‘risk rankings’ unfairly target struggling customers for faster gas, electricity cutoffs, consumer groups say Chicago Sun-Times, March 31, 2023 

Iowa City sees successes in emissions reduction, electric vehicle use The Daily Iowan, March 30, 2023  

The clean water we all deserve Wisconsin Examiner March 29, 2023 (written by MWBDC’s own Huda Alkaff!)  

I’m a doctor, and this is why I will never have gas in my kitchen Women’s Agenda, March 29, 2023 

‘Heat-pump coaches’ help neighbors ditch fossil heat in Massachusetts Canary Media, March 29, 2023  

US renewable power surged ahead of coal for the first time last year Grist, March 29, 2023  

MN lawmakers aim to create new ‘green bank’ to fund clean energy projects KTTC, March 28, 2023  

Advocates call on regulators to reject natural gas rate increases Capitol News Illinois, March 28, 2023  

Avoiding a ‘clean power divide’  — creating national electrification co-ops for a just energy transition Utility Dive, March 28, 2023 

The new incentive for Americans to get heat pumps as a key climate solution NPR, March 27, 2023 

Fear of climate lawsuits spreads beyond fossil fuel industry E&E News, March 27, 2023 

How the natural gas industry cozies up to utility regulators Grist, March 27, 2023  

After five years of bureaucratic limbo, Cape Cod clean energy program finally comes to fruition Energy News Network, March 27, 2023  

New and improved energy efficiency programs are on the way in Ohio: Bill Seitz Cleveland.com, March 26, 2023 

Lengthy power outage credits made automatic and upped to $35 M Live, March 25, 2023 

Critics question legislative process for two environmental Senate bills Indiana Capital Chronicle, March 24, 2023 

What are the biggest costs of homeownership? (Hint: It’s not what you might think) Fannie Mae, March 9, 2023 

Here’s how we can equitably fund Minnesota’s transition to a carbon-free system Minnesota Reformer, March 22, 2023 

Biden Uplifts New ERA Program Supporting Rural Economic Development, Clean Energy Sierra Club, March 10, 2023 

Scientists deliver ‘final warning’ on climate crisis: act now or it’s too late The Guardian, March 20, 2023 

These Small- and Medium-Sized States Punch Above Their Weight in Renewable Energy Generation Inside Climate News, March 16, 2023 

ComEd valued passage of 2016 energy law at $1.8 billion Chicago Business, March 20, 2023 

Coal plants helped cause bribery scandal. Now FirstEnergy might be buying one back Ohio Capital Journal, March 21, 2023 

Clean electricity to reach as high as 90% by 2030 PV Magazine, March 16, 2023 

Immediate action is needed to ensure ‘a livable future for all,’ UN report says Grist, March 20, 2023 

Ann Arbor invites residents to join talks on moving away from DTE gas M Live, March 21, 2023 

Illinois lawmakers could pass energy rate relief plan with protections for low-income customers WAND Illinois, March 21, 2023 

Wausau passes clean energy resolution Wausau Pilot and Review, March 15, 2023 

Opinion | Michigan electricity outages should be a wake-up call on climate Bridge Michigan, March 15, 2023 

First look: HUD invests billions in equitable disaster recovery Axios, March 15, 2023 

The Alaska Oil Project Will Be Obsolete Before It’s Finished The Atlantic, March 13, 2023 

Solar on U.S. houses of worship triples relative market share of other non-residential buildings PV Magazine, March 13, 2023 

Kansas Legislature’s clumsy regulatory attempt would remove vital tool to fight climate crisis Kansas Reflector, March 14, 2023 

Going green used to be a luxury. Now it can save you thousands. Here’s how. USA Today,  March 13, 2023 

Opinion 3 ways America can spend Biden’s clean-energy windfall faster The Washington Post, March 13, 2023  

A new solar model is bringing bigger savings to renters in Minneapolis Energy News Network, March 13, 2023  

What the guilty verdicts in the HB 6 corruption case mean for energy policy and good government in Ohio Energy News Network, March 9, 2023 

Householder and Borges felony convictions just a start in stopping Ohio pay-to-play corruption Ohio Capital Journal, March 10, 2023 

*Clean Energy Is Suddenly Less Polarizing Than You Think New York Times, March 8, 2023 

Minnesota legislators and advocates make push at state Capitol for stronger air quality protections in 

environmental justice neighborhoods Sahan Journal, March 8, 2023 

Ice storms reorder Michigan Democrats’ energy and climate agenda M Live, March 8, 2023  

Make natural gas utilities more accountable to customers and the state Chicago Sun Times, March 8, 2023 

The ‘Minnesota Way’ will lead to clean energy future Star Tribune, March 8, 2023 

Chicago-area partnership casts a wide net to recruit and train the electricians of the future Energy News Network, March 9, 2023 

Women taking the lead on climate action The Hill, March 8, 2023 

Minnesota lawmakers push to attract billions in federal clean energy funds WDIO, March 7, 2023 

US neighborhoods with more people of color suffer worse air pollution The Guardian, March 8, 2023 

Wind, solar, and batteries increasingly account for more new U.S. power capacity additions US Energy Information Administration, March 6, 2023 

Commentary: Achieving climate goals in Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin Energy News Network, March 1, 2023