Tuesday, November 14, 2023
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Equity, Energy Efficiency, and Engagement in Minnesota
Session ID
A4 - Lightning: Equity
Equity & Empowerment

The effort to ensure energy efficiency programs benefit all customers is urgent. Low-income and minority communities continue to be disproportionately affected by energy burden, and historically have had little opportunity to impact how energy efficiency programs are designed. This presentation centers on sharing findings for driving behavioral solutions in low-income communities based on a pilot program that aims to provide a platform for community members to share their experiences and perspectives around energy and energy reduction strategies. The pilot program is being implemented in Minnesota among low-income participant groups in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota. It utilizes the Streetwyze platform, a nationally recognized mobile mapping platform that successfully engages and enables residents of low-income and minority communities to affect positive change in their neighborhoods. The platform empowers community members to share local knowledge and real-time data on their experiences with and perceptions of sustainability and energy reduction. For the pilot, we recruited trainers who nudge participants to post about energy experiences and provide monthly energy resources and strategies. The posts include brief text responses that allow participants to share their practices, perceptions, and experiences in their own words by typing and then uploading them into the Streetwyze platform. This presentation will delve into qualitative data analysis strategies including the key themes and codes that emerged from the data, challenges and lessons learned, interpretation of our findings, and program and policy recommendations. The broad themes include factors such as home comfort, housing stock, seasonality, financial savings, perception of energy bills, and reflections on behavior changes throughout the study period. We will share insights into the measurement and interpretation of behavior change programs in communities where there is historical underinvestment and highlight community-informed feedback on strategies to provide resources and education on energy efficiency.