Energy Efficiency & Climate Change

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Rachel Norton, Action Team Lead

Notes from previous meetings:


  • Spreadsheet Check-in & Next Steps
    • Bluegrass Greensource might house this
    • Schedule a meeting in about 2 weeks (Rachel, Cathy, Robin & Giulia) 30-45min.
  • Energy Efficiency Kits Check-in & Next Steps
    • Neighborhood could be a pilot and apply for money through their city council 
      • Jennifer Reynolds? Gardenside?
      • Invite Chris to the next meeting & Jennifer Reynold’s at the next one
  • Overarching goal within the group: How do we create space for this in Lexington city government?


Suggestions about funding for our energy efficiency kits:

We might identify particular neighborhoods, such as Cardinal Hill or Winburn, and 

  • then contact the city council person for those neighborhoods, e.g. Jennifer Reynolds I think is relevant there, and find out if there is some city money.
  • contact the neighborhood associations for our target neighborhoods because there is a Neighborhood Association Grant program and this could be a  way to get funding for kits by getting them to apply for one of those grants.

Organizations that the EE Action Team can reach out to for funding for the energy kits: 

  • KY Colonels
  • Kings Daughters and Sons
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities (they all provide grants for stuff and won’t pay for staff time)
  • Lowe’s and Home Depot often have small grants for materials, often in the form of gift cards which can be spent at the stores.



  • Spreadsheet will be integrated with document from Judy (Rachel will share this out later and add the information to the spreadsheet)
  • Suggestion about compiling this information into a webpage (Judy will check with David about this) 
  • Paul will send the position paper to share with the rest of the group 
  • People are interested in pulling together all groups within Lexington in a summit of sorts/large zoom meeting (maybe the BGGS summit next year?) 
  • Reach out to all groups once our resource has been complied
  • Could Amy help us write a grant for the kits? (Guilia’s going to start looking for funding)
  • Energy Star DIY Guide 
  • Get the list of the churches the housing authority refers to (Judy will ask for the list) 
    • Kentucky Interfaith Power & Light 
  • Residential Energy Efficiency office 
  • Check and see if there’s anything else BGGS can provide to us? 
  • Share solar stories (Ask Cara about the status of solar stories)
  • Before and After videos with infrared visuals
  • Solarize solar tour – maybe also solarize again? (Rachel will get the list and email out) 
    • Would KET do a story on that? Or local neighborhood magazines? 
      • Judy said she could check who might be interested in those stories 
  • Register to vote! 
  • Toyota & Dow are working on a deal for a large scale solar construction that they PSC approved in April at the most recent hearing. THe deal was contingent on savings but didn’t take into account the demand savings, only the usage savings.


Thinking short term & long term 

Question: Is WE CARE a weatherization program, or just through KU? (Chris Woolery and Rachel Norton will work on answering this question. 

Look at national resources from the sierra club – on getting cities ready to transition from fossil fuels to coal 

Next Steps: 

  1. Short Term: 
    1. Create a 30 second video about what you’re doing to save energy & money and how we can be healthier 
    2. Giulia is going to check about our access to the BGGS Facebook group, and where the original EE kits were ordered from
    3. Doodle poll for next meeting
  2. Long Term: 
    1. Create a spreadsheet for the group going forward to gather data on other orgs (Robin will help Rachel do this) 
    2. Everyone will work towards getting in touch with one organization and bringing back information to the group next time

There is more we want to work on and address, but these are great ways to start!


Checking in with each other – 20 mins.

Quick recap of last meeting from Rachel – 10 mins.

  • See notes below

Overview of new options/collaboration – 15 mins.

  • Update
    • 100% renewable energy Kentucky presented to Jim Gray 
    • Empower Lexington was reactivated through this meeting with Jim
    • This team studied what a number of cities were doing & came up with a 3-year plan for a sustainability office 
    • A team member is writing a grant for this position and is working on finding the right grant
    • New team “Bluegrass Climate Action Team” is asking the city to develop and information climate website to acknowledge climate change and educate citizens about what they can do & more
  • Next Update
    • Empower Lexington plan approved in 2012, but no one enacted it
    • Minimum is a 1% energy savings per year 
    • We’re down to 4 foundations that might give us money
    • This is a difficult time to make cold calls and connect with people about funding
    • Council passed a resolution & we have a supportive vice mayor (Steve Kay)
    • A team member is working on a speaker’s bureau about climate change

Group Discussion about next steps – 15 mins.

  • You can join the next Bluegrass Climate Action Team meeting 4/25

Additional time for discussion (as needed) – 30 mins.

Rachel will: Send out an email with BCAT meeting, poll for our next meeting, notes & these items:

  • Electronic campaign to city council
  • DIY video distribution 
  • Data collection (to support Bluegrass Action Team website or Lexington energy burden)
  • Trying to get in touch/develop relationships with neighborhood associations


Our vision summarized through Rachel’s perspective:

It is clear, now more than ever, that we are in need of sustainability infrastructure in our local city government. Not only are people paying high bills, but our community is not centering itself on our advocacy, education, and creating opportunities for personal empowerment/agency. In order to do that we proposed a campaign as follows:

Step 1: Door knocking in communities known for high bills. When knocking we would like to:

  • Register people to vote
  • Ask people about their utility bills (is it an invasion of privacy to get the utility bills by address and then look for statistical anomalies by area? This would allow us to scientifically identify likely opportunities. Some of the variation would be explainable but an analysis of outliers by area would likely identify energy efficiency opportunities. Alternatively we could take the Warren, Minnesota approach. See link below.)
  • Ask people if they think a block party would be a good idea in their/our neighborhood (We would need to have data and recommendations to make this worthwhile)
  • Ask that if so, would they like their house to be a demonstration home for the block party
  • Are you interested in solar panels on your home? (We could look at Google Project solar at that time?) I think it would be best to come armed with data on homes with a large southern facing roof with a slope as close to 37 degrees as possible. This information is in the public domain.
  • Offer a postcard they could send to our mayor (is this the right person?) asking that they consider the importance of an office of sustainability in Lexington To enhance this we need a list of the functions of a sustainability coordinator and some success stories.
  • Get story-tellers/media involved ASAP
  • (Please add more as you see fit, if we knock, we may as well ask everything we want to ask)

Step 2: Decide on location (or locations for block parties) and begin logistics.

  • Find locations/folks with highest need  This relates to the data need mentioned above. If we could get electricity data by residence and roof information this would give us a good starting point.
  • Energy audits at homes before workshops; for clear scope of work
  • Solar site assessments could potentially also be done?
  • Sponsors

Step 3: Host block party/parties

  • Invite key stakeholders such as city officials and utility partners
  • Make sure it’s advertised heavily, involve story-tellers media very intentionally
  • Do our best to capture actual energy savings numbers as well as personal stories to be shared
  • Can we be making DIY videos while doing the workshops?
  • Consider any ways we could make knowledge easy to access after the workshops

We need to learn from other cities across the country or world. That way we have the best chance of getting good ideas that can be applied to Kentucky. As I mentioned in the meeting, I think we should promote something like Warren, Minnesota did with drones to identify candidates. See the article at this link


  1. I am wondering if Laura Greenfield’s KFTC EJ analysis of energy burdens (percent of income spent on energy bills) contains some of the data that John is asking for.  I think her analysis is based on census tract but she might know how to get more fine grained data? But the average burden in a census tract might be fine grain enough for our purposes, especially given the multiple goals for each door knock.
  2. I am wondering if neighborhood association websites/facebook pages, or “Nextdoor” pages would be good places for DYI videos.
  3. A team member said he would be happy to talk to our group about lobbying the city and the status of his efforts.