Our communications research clearly indicated broad public support for and interest in energy efficiency in Maine. While considerable energy efficiency work is going on in Maine, we know there is potential to scale this up in a number of areas.
Committed to evidence-based action, the Climate Table started its energy efficiency work by developing a map of the Energy Efficiency System in Maine. The System Map identified obstacles and opportunities for expanding energy efficiency in the state. Using our System Map as a guide, we invited a wide range of people involved in energy efficiency work or in other community based action in Lewiston-Auburn, the Mid-Coast and Down East Maine to join us at two convenings. The Convenings generated many new, innovative, yet still very practical, ideas that will help move us toward our goal of expanding energy efficiency in the state. They also helped us to identify new partners that could lead or support our energy efficiency work.
Our next step was to develop an Energy Efficiency Action Plan using information generated as part of the Systems Map and the Convenings to give substance and details to the Plan. And now we’re supporting a series of community-based, cross-sector initiatives (“the Three Ds”), we strive to increase the rate at which Maine residents, small businesses, and municipalities undertake energy efficiency upgrades.
The Deepen Team seeks to increase the uptake of energy efficiency, using, as a point of departure, existing Maine-based programs that have operated to expand energy efficiency improvements in small business, municipal, or residential buildings. The team will consider past impacts and effectiveness of these programs and identify opportunities that could expand program use. It will then convene groups of stakeholders that may include topic area experts, past program participants, and potential future beneficiaries to discuss these programs, share successes, identify obstacles and best practices to greater impact, and reflect on other relevant factors and research. Current team members represent Maine Development Foundation, Our Katahdin, Island Institute, The Nature Conservancy, Lee International, and Natural Resources Council of Maine.
The Develop Team seeks to build the capacity of community-based change-makers who work on energy, climate, or related issues by adding to existing leadership programs such as those operated by the Maine Development Foundation and the Island Institute, and by evaluating the potential for a climate-related Fellows program, similar to the efforts underway at Maine Campus Compact. Current team members represent the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, Acadia Center, Island Institute, and a former Maine Public Advocate.
The Disseminate Team is working to connect people with the resources they need to make their homes more affordable to heat, more comfortable, and healthier. Through regional collaborations, we are seeking to scale local, community-based, residential energy efficiency initiatives by identifying information-sharing models that increase community leaders’ access to existing and enhanced energy efficiency programs, resources, and tools. This group is particularly focused on resources available to low-income residents and prioritizes the use of information-sharing models that result in action. Current team members represent Grow Smart Maine, Island Institute, Maine Community Action Association, Natural Resource Council of Maine, and Unity College.