Happy May, Midwest BDC!  

We’re welcoming in May (and hopefully warmer weather soon!) with open arms. Mother’s Day is coming up on May 14th and is a time to celebrate and honor the mothers and mother figures in our lives. It is also an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with Mother Earth, who has given us everything we need to survive and thrive.  

Caring for Mother Earth requires us to nurture and protect the natural resources that sustain us. As we face the increasingly urgent threat of climate change, it is more important than ever that we take action to reduce our impact on the environment and preserve the planet for future generations. As Mother’s Day approaches, let’s take a moment to not only appreciate the mothers and strong women in our lives, but also reflect on the ways we can extend that nurturing spirit to the Earth we call home. Whether it’s reducing our carbon footprint, supporting renewable energy, or advocating for environmental justice policies, we all have a role to play in protecting our planet and ensuring a sustainable future for all. 

Keep reading this month’s MWBDC newsletter for updates on everything coming our way in May. There are some important date changes for working group meetings while our staff is attending the Getting to Zero forum May 10 – 12, a new page on our website showcasing MWBDC members, and lots more!

In solidarity,  

– Marnese, Jacob, and Maggie 



This month, we are highlighting two MWBDC members who have recently taken on new leadership roles as co-leads of the Education and Training Subcommittee and the Governance Working Group. 

Eslun Tucker 

Eslun has a BA in Organizational Leadership from Rockhurst University and over 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the information technology and communications field. Eslun is active in her community and serves on several local boards including the Neighborhood Tourism Development Fund, Sister Cities Association of KC, and Grandview School District’s Superintendent’s Community Advisory Board. Since joining MWBDC, Eslun has risen to the task of becoming a co-leader of the Education and Training subcommittee of the Equity working group, where she has been vital in establishing the subcomittee’s vision statement. Thank you for all you do, Eslun – we can’t wait to continue working with you! 

Kareem Scales 

Kareem is a Civil Rights activist, community advocate, and grassroots organizer. He focuses on creating transformational change in BIPOC communities centering residents in the urban core that have historically been disproportionately impacted by systemic and unjust practices. (Check out this interview with Kareem about how he got into environmental justice work and what it means to him!) Kareem has stepped up as one of the co-leaders of the Governance working group – we are thankful for his contribution and leadership with MWBDC! 



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

May 4: Governance Working Group 
The Governance Working Group meets every other Thursday at 9 AM CST / 10 AM EST. To participate, please email Marnese.  

May 4: AWHI Steering Committee 

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

May 10-12: Getting to Zero Forum 

The MWBDC staff will be attending the Getting to Zero forum in Minneapolis! We may be a bit slow to respond to emails. 

May 16: 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.   

DATE CHANGE! May 17: MWBDC Monthly Meeting 
The monthly meeting usually takes place the second Wednesday of each month (but will be on the third Wednesday due to the GTZ forum) for 90 minutes at 2 PM CST / 3 PM EST. Register here

May 18: Governance Working Group 
The Governance Working Group meets every other Thursday at 9 AM CST / 10 AM EST. To participate, please email Marnese. 

May 22: 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. 

May 23: New Member Orientation  
New member orientation is every fourth Tuesday of the month at 12 PM CST / 1 PM EST. Click here to register

May 24: Faith Working Group  

This group meets the third Wednesday of every month at 12 PM EST / 11AM CST. To participate please email Marnese.  

DATE CHANGE! May 24: Equity Working Group 

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

May 24: New Member Orientation (evening)  
New member evening orientation is every fourth Wednesday of the month at 5:30 PM CST / 6:30 PM EST. Click here to register

May 25: Healing Justice Working Group  

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

May 25: 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. 

May 25: Building Decarbonization 101 

Thursday, May 25, 2:00 PM EST / 1:00 PM CST 

Why does MWBDC’s work focus on decarbonizing buildings in the Midwest? How is decarbonization different from efficiency? What’s all this about electrification? How can we work towards a clean energy transition that values equity? 

Join our Co-Director Jacob Serfling, Manager of Building Policy and Technology, for this overview of Building Decarbonization, and why it’s so critical to do well and to do equitably. Register Now! 

May 26: 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. 



Meeting date changes this month 

Due to MWBDC staff attending the Getting to Zero Forum on May 10 – 12, the Monthly Meeting has been pushed back a week to May 17 at 3 PM EST / 2 PM CST, and the Equity Working Group meeting has been pushed back a week to May 24 at 1 PM EST / 12 PM CST.  

MWBDC Members page on our website! 

The MWBDC website has a new page showcasing everyone who has submitted their official membership documents. Check it out here! 

  • Want your organization’s logo featured on the website page? Email it to Maggie ([email protected]) and she will add it. 
  • Not seeing you or your organization’s name? Make sure you have completed your membership forms. The names on the website are pulled directly from the form responses! If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to Maggie. 

EPA Listening Sessions on the Green House Gas Reduction Fund 

The EPA is hosting online listening sessions over the next few days to hear feedback on the greenhouse gas reduction fund implementation. You can register on Zoom here, and check out MWBDC’s comments and suggestions on the GHGRF if you want to prepare talking points before the meetings.  

May 2, 3:00pm EST: National Clean Investment Fund 

May 3, 3:00pm EST: Clean Communities Investment Accelerator 

May 4, 3:00pm EST: Solar for All 

Federal Policy Working Group submits comments to the EPA 

Check out this new blog post that details the process our Federal Policy working group took to engage with the EPA’s request for comments on their new Environmental and Climate Justice granting program.  

Upcoming Training 

Join Jacob Serfling for Building Decarbonization 101 on Thursday, May 25 at 2 PM EST / 1 PM CST!

Why does MWBDC’s work focus on decarbonizing buildings in the Midwest? How is decarbonization different from efficiency? What’s all this about electrification? How can we work towards a clean energy transition that values equity? 

Join our Co-Director Jacob Serfling, Manager of Building Policy and Technology, for this overview of Building Decarbonization, and why it’s so critical to do well and to do equitably. Register Now! 

MWBDC Workshop at Getting to Zero Forum   

From May 9 – 12, MWBDC staff will be in Minneapolis for the 2023 Getting to Zero Forum

This three-day, in-person event brings together leaders in the building technology and policy space who are working towards a carbon-free feature. We will be attending sessions, networking, and growing our collective power. We will also be hosting a workshop on why equity is so central to our movement and how MWBDC approaches this work.  

We know that many of our members are attending the forum, and we can’t wait to connect with you in-person!  

May 18: Midwest AWHI Meeting (with a special guest!) 

MW AWHI is hosting Geoff Wickes from NEEA to discuss the Oregon water heater specialty plumber’s license which provides a certification for water heater installation and can be obtained after three months of training. This license could be a crucial pathway to low barrier to entry jobs in heat pump water heater installations where qualified contractors are badly needed.  Geoff will discuss how the license came into effect and the coalitions that were necessary to bring it to the finish line. He’ll also talk about the implications of the license on heat pump water heater installations in Oregon. 

A meeting time and a registration link will be coming soon – keep an eye out on the listserv for more information! 

Announcing Grow Geo Chicagoland: Get the details on CUB’s new geothermal heat pump group-buy 

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that geothermal heat pumps are the most energy-efficient system to heat and cool buildings and water. But how do they work? Will they work for my home? How much money will it save me? Should I make the investment? And just what is a group-buy? 

When I was asked to research a few questions about geothermal heat pumps for a consumer, I had no idea it would lead me down a path to talking to consumers and experts across our state, visiting networked geothermal buildings, and helping to develop a group-buy to reduce barriers for consumers. Keep reading to learn about these incredibly efficient systems and if our group buy might be a good fit for you.” 

Read more: https://www.citizensutilityboard.org/blog/2023/04/03/announcing-grow-geo-chicagoland-get-the-details-on-cubs-new-geothermal-heat-pump-group-buy/  

Job Openings 

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



Save money with this website from the DOE 

Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America plan, it’s easier than ever to take control of your energy costs, make your home safer and more comfortable, and help save the planet. No matter who you are or where you live, clean energy and energy-efficient consumer choices are available now, and the Department of Energy is working to make them more affordable and accessible. Check out this website from the Department of Energy to learn about all the ways you can save on energy costs! 

Building Modernization Legislative Toolkit – Regulatory Assistance Project 

“New technologies are rapidly changing the way we use energy in our homes and businesses. But in many U.S. states, the legal and regulatory status quo includes barriers to adopting these technologies. This toolkit is a free resource for legislators and policymakers who want to address these barriers and clear the way for building modernization in their states. Clicking on each of the seven topic areas below, you’ll find policy background, resources and, most importantly, detailed exploration of legislative options your state could pursue, drawing on examples from across the country. Proactive policy action can ensure that buildings are modernized in a way that produces health, environmental and economic benefits for everyone.” 

Banking on Climate Chaos – Fossil Fuel Finance Report 

“Fossil fuel financing from the world’s 60 largest banks has reached USD $5.5 trillion in the seven years since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, with $673 billion in fossil fuel financing in 2022 alone. This report examines commercial and investment bank financing for the fossil fuel industry, aggregating their leading roles in lending and underwriting debt and equity issuances. Fossil fuel financing plateaued in 2020, rebounded in 2021, and leveled out again in 2022 owing to unusual geopolitical and economic conditions, not shifts in bank policy.” 

Climate Wins Here interactive map – Climate Action Campaign 

“The Climate Wins Here map depicts the investments made in communities nationwide through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This resourceful map is based on announced and awarded federal dollars and categorizes the investments as clean energy and power, clean transportation, environmental resilience and remediation, and infrastructure.” 

Green Bank Resources from Lauren Reeg 
MWBDC’s Federal Policy working group was recently chatting about green banks, a concept that has been popping up in various news articles recently. Lauren compiled these resources so that we could get a better understanding on what green banks are all about and how they work – thanks, Lauren!! 

Attitudes on Natural Gas Bans Aren’t Changing Much — but Support Is Rising for Strengthened Energy Efficiency Standards – Morning Consult Report 

“While public backing for natural gas bans has not changed much from the beginning of this year, support is higher for stricter energy efficiency standards and has grown among Republicans, according to a Morning Consult survey. View the results and more statistics on public opinion.”  

All Electric Homes – Health Professional’s Guide 

“Intended for health professionals, advocates, and anyone interested in the climate-health nexus.  Learn more about the health impacts of fossil fuel combustion in buildings and the benefits of electrifying buildings. The RMI Health team released the updated version of “All-Electric Homes: A Health Professional’s Guide” — a toolkit for health professionals to learn about the health impacts of fossil fuel combustion and the benefits of electrifying buildings.” 

Geothermal in the Midwest – Geothermal energy and its potential contribution to clean energy for developing communities in Illinois and the U.S. Midwest 

“To achieve the proposed zero-carbon emission goals set forth by U.S. Midwest governments to move beyond economies reliant on fossil fuels, we propose geothermal (geo-exchange) energy as a solution that is renewable, low carbon, relatively inexpensive, reliable, and safe. Here we present a comprehensive review of geothermal applications for different economic sectors. Over time, the efficiency of geothermal systems has been improved and enhanced, making them stronger competitors in the renewable energy marketplace. Within a policy framework that would incentivize the deployment of geothermal energy technologies that meet the proposed targets, the transition to a decarbonized economy would be faster. The wider deployment of geothermal energy systems would have positive impacts on the U.S. Midwest, including in terms of environmental awareness, economic development, energy efficiency, additional basic and applied research support, and the repurposing of available skills from the oil and gas industry.” 

The Climate Burnout Report – Climate Critical Earth 

“We are witnesses to the toxic toll on bright minds burning out, and in several cases dying, rather than staying in a movement that needs us all. And we are witnesses to the multigenerational loss that represents, especially for people of color. Climate Critical partnered with Third Plateau to begin to test the assumptions in these trends. We conducted what we hope will be a useful examination of burnout that considers the triggers, conditions, and solutions. This exploratory study is focused on burnout in the climate and environmental change workforce in the words of folk experiencing it, now. We took care and intention to ask participants about the experience, causes, and coping mechanisms that they used to prevent or recover from burnout. And we asked our community what the barriers are to accessing prevention or recovery support. The report outlines major themes from that research.” 

Funding Opportunities 


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. Applications will be accepted through May 2023 – there is still a chance to get yours in! 

Rural Energy For America Program (REAP) 

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that they are accepting applications starting on April 1 for $1 billion in grants to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses invest in renewable energy systems and make energy-efficiency improvements. USDA is making the $1 billion in grants available under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), with funding from President Biden’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis. Learn more and submit an application here.  



New York May Become the First State to Ban Gas in New Buildings NY Magazine, April 28, 2023  

*Heat pumps are having a breakthrough. They have one issue: The wrong name. The Washington Post, April 28, 2023  

Connecticut regulators seek more authority to move the needle on climate goals Energy News Network, April 28, 2023  

Utility regulator leaving Michigan Public Service Commission Crain’s Detroit Business, April 25, 2023  

PUC approves program to allow customers to buy renewable energy credits The Journal, April 26, 2023  

Biden’s unfinished climate business E&E News, April 25, 2023  

Vying for a Second Term, Can Biden Repair His Damaged Climate and Environmental Justice Image? Inside Climate News, April 25, 2023  

Airbnb will help some hosts pay for new heat pumps Canary Media, April 26, 2023  

How the Clean Air Act lets closed coal plants keep polluting for years Reuters, April 24, 2023  

Switching to wind and solar energy will require a lot of land The Washington Post, April 24, 2023  

U.S. Interior Secretary unveils $125 million for local climate projects Idaho Capital Sun, April 21, 2023  

Minnesota legislation aims to boost speed and scale of green financing Energy News Network, April 24, 2023  

Gov. Pritzker Announces $16 Million in Funding for Climate Works Pre-Apprenticeship, Barrier Reduction Programs Illinois Department of Commerce, April 21, 2023  

Judge dismisses trespassing charges against environmental activist Winona LaDuke Twin Cities Pioneer Press, April 21, 2023  

These Anti-ESG Republicans Are Longtime Supporters of Green Power Bloomberg, April 20, 2023  

Commentary: States can transform the grid to put people and small businesses first. This is how Energy News Network, April 20, 2023  

St. Louis offers developers millions in ‘neighborhood transformation,’ other grants aimed at needy areas St. Louis Business Journal, April 18, 2023  

How Michigan ‘green bank’ works to boost lending for home repairs Crain’s Detroit Business News, April 18, 2023  

Tribal colleges tap US energy funds to build ‘living labs’ Associated Press, April 17, 2023  

Court throws out Berkeley, California’s ban on natural gas Associated Press, April 18, 2023  

Bloomington city council passes resolution to create regional climate coalition Indiana Daily Student, April 18, 2023  

Prepare to get serious about climate action, panel tells Hudson gathering Akron Beacon Journal, April 18, 2023  

Ames Climate Action Plan draft unveiled Iowa State Daily, April 18, 2023  

What’s in the Senate Dem bills aimed at facilitating Michigan’s clean energy transition? Michigan Advance, April 18, 2023  

House Republicans target climate law in debt limit bid E&E Daily, April 19, 2023  

Nearly 120 million people in US exposed to unhealthy levels of soot and smog – report The Guardian, April 18, 2023  

Groups urge We Energies to end shut-offs for nonpayment Milwaukee Neighborhood New Service, April 18, 2023  

Chicago’s Blacks in Green gets a major boost from a $10 million EPA grant Energy News Network, April 16, 2023 

Our Cleveland Duplex Case Study: The All-Electric Side Saves Money Compared To The Gas Side CleanTechnica, April 16, 2023  

Climate envoy Kerry: No rolling back clean energy transition Politico April 16, 2023  

*The Real Reason You’ll Eventually Ditch Your Gas Stove Heatmap, March 23, 2023  

The gas stove wars are far from over Vox, March 21, 2023  

The induction range may be a homeowner’s next big kitchen cooking upgrade CNBC, April 4, 2023  

*How electrification became a major tool for fighting climate change New York Times, April 14, 2023 

EPA awards $177 million to environmental justice groups The Hill, April 13, 2023  

Chipotle reveals all-electric, wind- and solar-powered restaurant Axios, April 11, 2023  

Coalition calls on government to do more to combat climate change Michigan Advance, April 11, 2023  

Renewables are a reliable source of energy for Missouri Columbia Missourian, April 13, 2023  

Michigan Democrats: Utilities must use 100% carbon-free energy by 2035 Bridge Michigan, April 12, 2023 

Tribal economic development firm diversifying with two new consultancies MiBiz, April 10, 2023 

In Minnesota, ‘smart panels’ seen as a possible alternative to expensive electrical upgrades Energy News Network, April 7, 2023 

What Chicago’s new mayor means for environmental Justice Grist, April 6, 2023 

Editorial: Can you afford an EV? Good luck, with so few models eligible for new tax credit LA Times, April 5, 2023  

Illinois Has No Time to Waste in Building Its Carbon-Free Electricity Future Union of Concerned Scientists, April 3, 2023  

Dr. Tony Reames wants you to know the Energy Department is serious about equity Energy News Network., March 28, 2023 

The clean-energy war goes local The Hill, April 4, 2023 

Rapid City seeks climate funding after state turns it down; Sioux Falls undecided South Dakota Searchlight,  April 4, 2023