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Minneapolis Residents Tackle Climate Change

Beth Bennett
Center for Energy and Environment

In 2007, the city of Minneapolis became the first city in the country to fund small grants for its residents to prevent climate change. The grants garnered tremendous success; Minneapolis residents pledged to prevent over 8.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually and save over $650,000 on their energy use in the year following the grant period. This year’s 25 diverse grant recipients have almost $100,000 to make a difference in the attitudes and actions of Minneapolis residents. Here is a brief look into three of the grant recipients’ climate change projects:

Linden Hills Power and Light-Green Carpet Film Festival

In 2007, non-profit Linden Hills Power and Light (LHP&L) went door to door promoting the Minnesota Energy Challenge. Linden Hills subsequently became the number one neighborhood on the Challenge website. In the Fall of 2008, they reached out further with their “Green Carpet Film Festival.” LHP&L Executive Director, Felicity Britton, explains, “We thought it would be great to see a serious topic like climate change expressed in new, artistic, and innovative ways.” Channeling fun, creativity and the popularity of YouTube, LHP&L aired information on global warming and had a good party at the same time. Check out sample videos here: www.lhpowerandlight.org.

Armatage Neighborhood Association-Summer Festival Energy

Many neighborhoods have an annual summer festival, but Armatage Neighborhood Association (ANA) decided to move beyond ice cream and face paint this year to embrace energy conservation and climate change solutions. Teaming up with Mark Settergren, owner of local Settergren Hardware, ANA used their grant funds to purchase 25 energy-saving raffle prizes including programmable thermostats and push lawnmowers. Neighborhood residents received free compact fluorescent lightbulbs and signed up for the Energy Challenge to enter the raffle. As ANA board member Dan Sweeney says, “a little goes a long way… Utilize grants and public information to make your community more aware.” As a result of the successful festival, ANA will create a new web page to continue educating the neighborhood on green issues.

Phillips Community Energy Cooperative-Renters Embrace Energy Savings

The Phillips Community Energy Cooperative (PCEC) is well on their way to blasting their goal of 500 new Energy Challenge team members through the (green!) roof of the Green Institute where PCEC is housed. At their grant kickoff event, an appliance trade-in, PCEC signed up over 300 community members! The grant focuses on reducing the expensive heating bills faced by many co-op members who have not taken advantage of PCEC’s home energy conservation programs. Most renters or tenants do not own the appliances in their home or cannot afford new, energy-efficient appliances. PCEC is solving the problem by distributing and installing weatherization materials, conducting home energy audits, promoting energy conservation at community events, and hosting a series of workshops.

For more information on the City of Minneapolis Climate Change Grants, please visit the City of Minneapolis Sustainability website: www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/sustainability or contact Beth Bennett at CEE (bbennett@mncee.org; 612-335-5874).

“City of Minneapolis 2007 Climate Change Micro-Grants and Innovation Grants Findings,” prepared by the Minneapolis City Coordinator’s Office, February 2008

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