Wells Fargo Elevate Team Up To Boost Access To Clean
Underserved communities and people of colour are more susceptible to higher energy costs, poor air quality, and extreme weather as climate change intensifies. The Wells Fargo Foundation and Elevate, a climate justice group, have teamed up to help close this gap by giving Chicago residents access to affordable, clean energy and chances for inclusive employment development, all while assisting in reducing carbon emissions in underprivileged areas.
About 100 low-income homes will be decarbonized over the course of the two-year project, which is funded in part by a $3.15 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation. This decarbonization will include installing solar panels and improving energy efficiency. Along with lowering emissions, these house improvements save homeowners money on power bills and improve the comfort and resiliency of their homes.
According to Robyn Luhning, Chief Sustainability Officer at Wells Fargo, “Under-resourced and low-income communities spend disproportionately more of their income on energy bills and, at the same time, disproportionately face the cost of environmental injustice and climate change.” “Elevate’s strategy intends to provide people with economic and health benefits and can serve as a model for fairly addressing climate change impacts throughout the United States. In order to help developing decarbonization efforts at the municipal, state, and federal levels, we look forward to sharing crucial lessons from Chicago.
At Katherine Parks’ residence in Chicago’s Austin area, where workers completed energy-efficiency upgrades and replaced all of the natural gas equipment with effective electric models that are solar energy-compatible, the grant was announced. Parks stated, “My furnace wasn’t functioning well, so I was looking to repair it, but first I was a little wary of electrification. I’m very happy with the improvements right now. These improvements will help improve indoor air quality and make the space more comfortable for Parks and the kids she looks after. Parks operates a small daycare out of her home.
Elevate CEO Anne Evens described the Wells Fargo-Elevate project as “multifaceted and comprehensive.” It will entail energy upgrades and building decarbonization.
Retrofitting services: Elevate personnel conduct property evaluations to determine the best electrification and decarbonization plans, as well as the scopes of work and projected construction costs. Residents are also involved in this phase, which focuses on how households can fully benefit from low-carbon technologies like:
To cut heating and cooling expenditures, weatherize the home with effective air sealing and insulation.
replacing propane or natural gas heating systems with cooling-added high efficiency heat pumps.
rooftop solar panels can be installed to generate on-site electricity and further reduce energy expenditures.
skill improvement Elevate’s Contractor Accelerator helps 24 women and contractors of colour become ready for electrification projects by providing training and support. This procedure entails:
modifying programme content and after-program assistance to suit contractor requirements.
granting contractors access to cutting-edge technical education and training in electrification in order to increase their clientele.
connecting contractors with carbon reduction initiatives and giving them direct access to a developing market.
Research: Elevate estimates the avoided carbon emissions resulting from the capital upgrades on behalf of the partnership using baseline energy consumption. The team keeps track of non-energy effects as well, such as increases in comfort, health, and utility bill stability. Elevate also conducts research on ways to lower entrance barriers for women and contractors of colour as well as the changing market demand for clean energy projects.