Empower Chattanooga is more than an energy efficiency program. We want to consider how energy use and affordability of utilities affect quality of life in Chattanooga, neighborhood-by-neighborhood.
TO DATE we have....
- Assisted over 1000 people with low cost and no cost ways to reduce utilities
- Hosted over 20 Free Energy Savings Workshops
- Sponsored two clean up days on Glass Street & East Lake Duck Pond
- Partnered on 6 Community Fairs
- Held 6 Family Movie Nights
- Participated in National Night Out Safety Events
- Assisted with creation of Avondale Block Leaders
- Provided Free Energy Savings kits to ANYONE regardless of income or location
Empower Chattanooga is a new approach to considering and coordinating the delivery of a range of services based on grassroots feedback, real-time geospatial analysis, and the ongoing coordination of public and private resources. Together with residents, our partner organizations want to advance environmental, economic, and social sustainability.
green|spaces, EPB, the City of Chattanooga, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and more than 30 other partnering organizations are coordinating our efforts to reduce per-capita energy use and improve quality of life. But to do that, it is important to engage the residents and leaders in each neighborhood to learn what challenges their neighborhood faces, and what they love and value about their neighborhood. We can then consider how best to deliver energy efficiency and other services that can address specific challenges and improve quality of life.
By reducing the utility bills for homeowners, they will have additional expendable income to be able to meet the other needs of their families. This could be spending the money on paying down debts, buying healthier food, purchasing medicine, or buying other necessities. Every dollar saved through energy efficiency is a dollar that can go back into a neighborhood.
But it’s more than just efficiency...
it’s about increasing quality of life. High energy consumption can be a symptom of more wide-spread challenges to quality of life. We identified three areas where average energy usage was very high and will focus our efforts on these communities:
This first phase of Empower consisted of gathering information from our first focus neighborhoods. We commissioned the Ochs Center to help set up initial surveys and focus groups to inform our approach. We established advisory groups in our focus neighborhoods to provide more real-time dialogue between our partner agencies and the residents and community leaders that we will be serving.
Each month, we will continue to offer regular free energy savings workshops to organizations, church groups, social clubs and non-profits. Additionally, our community action and advisory groups report on happenings in the neighborhoods and create ideas for ways we can be of assistance in general to the community. Over the next few months, we will be receiving data from EPB for the participants who provided permission for their utility data to be shared with us. Results so far are very promising but as the winter months lay ahead, we will be working diligently to help anyone who needs the assistance to make the simple changes to avoid the high utility bills.