City awards 2010 climate change grants to eight local organizations

Minneapolis has awarded a total of eight grants to help local neighborhoods and organizations fund creative ways to engage residents and businesses in fighting climate change. The City pioneered these award-winning grants in 2007. Thanks to the successes of the first three years, Minneapolis is offering $75,000 in grants this year, each ranging from $7,990 to $10,000 to neighborhood and business groups, schools and nonprofits whose efforts inspire their members to reduce energy, pilot solar programs and curb climate change.

Grant awardees will also sign up individuals for the Minnesota Energy Challenge, which now has more than 8,700 Minneapolis members pledging to save $3.78 million annually on energy costs. Participants taking the challenge are making changes in their lives – large or small – to reduce their carbon footprints while saving money on energy costs, helping local businesses and taking steps to secure our energy independence.

This years grants include educating and motivating businesses of all sizes to reduce their energy bills and take advantage of new financing and rebate programs. Other grants promote solar energy combined with energy efficiency, again taking advantage of utility incentives, state rebates and federal tax credits.

The grants are made possible because the City of Minneapolis received U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for a variety of energy efficiency projects.

The 2010 grant awardees are: 

Aeon
Who: Residents of affordable housing complexes at the intersection of Franklin and Portland avenues
What: Energy audits and outreach efforts to residents and staff to teach them about the buildings’ energy retrofits and actions they can take to improve energy efficiency and fight climate change in their buildings.

City of Lakes Waldorf School
Who: Families in the school community and residents in the surrounding area
What: Classroom promotion of energy efficiency and transportation alternatives, with additional outreach via school newsletters, website and social media.

Green Institute
Who: Minneapolis restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores
What: Training on utility rebates and best practices for energy efficiency upgrades 

Kingfield Neighborhood Association
Who: Kingfield neighborhood businesses
What: Outreach, commercial energy audits, and solar site assessments to encourage businesses to install up to 40kw of solar power using various utility, state and federal incentives

Linden Hills Power and Light
Who: Linden Hills neighborhood residents
What: A creative marketing campaign aimed at getting area residents and visitors to use public transit

Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce
Who: Minneapolis business tenants and property owners
What: Outreach and workshops focused on energy during their third annual, highly successful Greening Your Business Expo (April 2011) 

Minnesota Renewable Energy Society
Who: Businesses and residents in select neighborhoods
What: New pilot program for public outreach and coordination of a bulk purchase solar thermal installation, including information on energy efficiency

Northeast Chamber of Commerce
Who: Northeast Minneapolis businesses
What: Energy resources outreach activities and an energy efficiency outreach event

Minneapolis is considered one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the country, and the City has long been a leader in creating policies and practices that protect and enhance the environment and combat global climate change. The launch of Minneapolis Sustainability Initiative in 2003 took the City's commitment to the environment to a new level. As part of the initiative, the mayor and City Council established 26 sustainability indicators designed to create a more livable, sustainable city. To learn more about the sustainability initiative and the climate change grants, visit Sustainability Initiatives.

Published Sep. 2, 2010