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Blog Posts (31)
- The Importance of Trust: How Community Engagement Helped Pass Legislation in Decatur
“Everything’s greater in Decatur,” says the City of Decatur, Ga., motto. The maxim represents a city that prides itself on walkability, good schools, vibrant small businesses, community collaboration and pioneering innovation. But like many cities around the country, Decatur, Ga., grapples with how to best integrate climate change solutions into practicable policy as the area warms. Residents experienced an average of 20 days above 95 °F in the last 30 years and are expected to see that number increase to more than 90 days by 2050. This story is about how data informed community engagement helped Decatur develop and approve a Clean Energy Plan. The plan details pathways to eliminating all its government and community carbon emissions by 2035, and the remaining community uses, such as home electricity use and transportation, by 2050. “The vision for Decatur is to do its part in the clean energy transition, support our peer communities in the transition, come together for systemic grid level change, and create a healthier, more resilient, equitable and more affordable community,” says David Nifong, Energy and Sustainability Manager, City of Decatur. “It will definitely require all of us.” The city needed a plan grounded in data and backed by community buy-in to make the vision a reality. That’s where Southface Institute and Greenlink Analytics’ partnership launched this reality. Greenlink utilized their computer modeling tool, Advanced Clean Energy Scenario (ACES), to analyze Decatur’s building stock, energy fuel mix, greenhouse gas inventory, and means of transportation and forecast changes in energy through 2050. Southface then presented the data through roundtables, surveys, stakeholder interviews, and a two-day in-person charrette (integrated planning session) to drum up enduring support. “The essential component is that enduring support,” says Robert Reed, advisor for Southface Institute. “Gather a set of experts behind a wall and they could come up with the most expeditious solution to reducing emissions,” he continues, “But what happened instead is that through community we heard that the social impact of the plan needed to be weighed heavily and placed at the forefront.” Hearing from the community changed the trajectory of Decatur’s plan. Feedback guided the city toward a scenario entitled Social and Local Impact: a pathway that leads to the highest public health and job benefits. The "Social and Local Impact Scenario" calls for a cumulative investment of $57 million in clean energy over the period of the goal, reaping cumulative benefits of $520 million and avoiding nearly 1 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. Why is this important? In 2020, the median income for a white household in Decatur was about 480% greater than the median income for Black households. This disparity extends to levels of education and the number of households that rely on nutrition assistance, meaning that when a community starts to find savings in energy bills, it means the families who couldn’t afford their electricity or utility bills are now able to pay their bills and the extra money can now go towards education, food and other basic necessities. In summary, community engagement helps build healthier neighborhoods from the very foundation because they are able to point out their needs in a way that targets systemic repair and long term solutions. The City of Decatur’s Clean Energy Plan was unanimously adopted in September 2022. Photos courtesy of City of Decatur, Ga.
- Greenlink Analytics' 2022 Annual Report
Greenlink is pleased to announce publication of the Annual Report, showcasing the amazing things our team achieved in 2022. Climate change continues to be a major topic in the news and people’s lives, from record breaking heat to new federal climate policies and clean energy triumphs. While climate change is a global challenge, not all communities bear the brunt equally. In the U.S., non-white and lower income communities experience the greatest health, economic, and environmental risks. If the choices of policymakers don’t embrace and uphold these communities, we won’t achieve the decarbonized future we need - and in that case, they’re not sustainable to begin with. Our challenge, our daily work, is to ensure that the clean energy transition takes place as intentionally and as promptly as possible. Our analyst, data science and equity teams work hard to provide the foundational data, analyses, context and guidance to make this happen. Click to read the Greenlink Analytics 2022 Annual Report. "When we cannot predict the outcome of a person’s life because of a race, gender, or where they’re from, we will have succeeded." ~ Greenlink Analytics
- New Report Finds Orlando’s Lower Income Communities Face High Energy Burden
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 21st, 2023 Media Contacts: Ricky Junquera, firstname.lastname@example.org Robynne Boyd, email@example.com LINK TO REPORT New Report Finds Orlando’s Lower Income Communities Face High Energy Burden Western and Southwestern Orlando communities pay about 130% more of their monthly income on energy bills than the national average. ORLANDO, FL - A new report out today from Greenlink Analytics shows a large disparity between the energy burden faced by different communities across Orlando, from a low of 1.8% to as high as 9.2%. Energy burden is the percent of income spent on electricity and gas bills. The national average of the percentage of household earnings going towards energy costs is roughly 4%. "It’s crystal clear that we must take action to end the disparities between low-income communities, experiencing more than twice that of the national average, and their affluent neighbors who spend less than four times the energy burden,” said Susan Glickman of the Florida Clinicians for Climate Action. “It's an injustice that requires strong action. We must both increase awareness to protect health and also move concrete solutions to upgrade substandard housing, expand weatherization efforts, provide cooling centers, and identify other adaptive measures." On Thursday, February 23rd at the University of Central Florida’s Downtown Campus, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign is hosting an Energy Equity Summit along with the Hispanic Federation, Alianza Center, The Cleo Institute, Central Florida Jobs with Justice, NAACP, Florida Rising, Florida Clinicians for Climate Action, and The Climate Reality Project aimed at discussing the intersectionality of energy burden to housing affordability and health impacts. From the report: “Energy burden is not a stand-alone issue. The financial strains associated with the energy burden express a history of socioeconomic conditions that continue to negatively plague communities today. The data show that Orlando’s energy burdens have shown a moderate relationship to chronic health issues, such as asthma and poor mental health. Additionally, Orlando’s energy burden has primarily impacted renter-occupied households versus owner-occupied households. Understanding the interconnectedness of health, housing, and energy issues helps reveal energy burden as part of greater structural injustice, and why a pattern of communities facing a cluster of challenges all at once continues to present over time.” “Greenlink undertook an in-depth analysis of the intersections between energy, health, and housing inequities to reveal how those paying unfair amounts on utility bills face an onslaught of other issues that perpetuate poverty,” said Greenlink Analytics’ Director of Community Initiatives, Angelica Chavez-Duckworth. “This means that addressing energy burden could provide people the opportunity to climb the economic ladder.” Background: Over the past three years, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign has worked with the Hispanic Federation, Alianza Center, The Cleo Institute, Central Florida Jobs with Justice, NAACP, Florida Rising, Clinicians for Climate Action, The Climate Reality Project, and others to combat fuel cost rate hikes along with utility shut-offs that have directly harmed lower-income communities across Orlando. The Energy Equity Summit brings communities together to discuss the interconnectedness of these issues, and prepare themselves to organize to push to combat these issues. ### About the Sierra Club The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
Other Pages (29)
- About | Greenlinkanalytics
About Greenlink WHO WE ARE Greenlink Analytics is an Atlanta-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to advance a clean energy transition as fast and fair as possible. Our team combines expert knowledge, data analytics, and machine learning to solve the most pressing climate and social issues, including energy burdens and pollution impacts, with the goal of improving lives and the environment. We are among the best in the nation at helping people understand the impact of decisions made by and for them at the community, city and state level. We produce highly technical analysis and translate it into understandable formats that enable better decisions for the future. Data allows people to understand where they’ve come from and charts a course towards where they want to go. Knowledge is power, after all. Ultimately, we help develop the policy and program decisions that address the bedrock issues of climate change and inequitable development in the U.S. Our Expertise Our Team Our Board WHO WE SERVE For us, it’s all about people. From small, grant-funded community organizations to the largest cities, our work is always about improving lives, especially those who’ve been historically oppressed from decision-making processes. We focus on the local and state level because this is where meaningful action against climate change and toward building clean energy is happening in the US. We work with more than 80 community organizations and 75 governments across 30 states to advance the clean energy future for all. OUR IMPACT Our advanced data analytics deliver detailed, accurate, and novel insights regarding the social, environmental, and economic impacts of energy use to empower change that improves lives, especially for those most impacted by environmental injustice. As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, we partner with community organizations, non-profits, cities, and corporations to make community-driven change throughout the country. Our Mission TOGETHER WE CAN INSPIRE A FAST & FAIR CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION GROUNDED IN GOOD DATA. 8.4 BMT of CO 2 We've avoided 8.4 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions from entering into the atmosphere $757 Billion Dollars We’ve saved cities and decision-makers $755 billion dollars through our clean energy recommendations. 20,438 Lives Saved We’ve saved 20,438 lives across the US since 2018 with our clean energy work. Annual Reports 2022 Annual Report Download
- Donate | Greenlink Analytics
< Back Donate to Greenlink Power the Clean Energy Future We’re moving the needle on a fast and fair clean energy future for everyone. But we need your help getting there. When you support Greenlink Analytics you’re supporting the work of a small nonprofit with a big reach across the country. Every dollar you donate to Greenlink Analytics saves 1,939 tons of CO2 and helps ensure $174,000 in savings for cities and communities. Your donation will be used to fund our work placing vital data into people's hands to help make empowered decisions related to their health, environment, and economy. Donate You will be taken to an external site to complete your donation.
- Publications | Greenlink Analytics
Publications Oklahoma City's Energy Burden Report Fall 2022 Oklahoma City was one of the most improved in terms of energy burden from an examination of 50 cities. Download Buffalo, NY, Report Queen City of the Lakes, Decreasing Energy Burden from 2013 to 2018 March 2022 The City of Buffalo was one of the most improved cities in energy burden. This report highlights the successful efforts by the City of Buffalo, New York, to address high energy burdens through energy efficiency leadership over time. Download Cleveland's Clean & Equitable Energy Future April 2021 On September 20th, 2018, the City of Cleveland became the first city in the state of Ohio to commit to powering itself with 100 percent clean energy. This report outlines that plan and the process leading to its development. Download Michigan’s Energy Transition Leading Innovation Toward Michigan’s 100% Clean Grid 2021 In Michigan, climate action and clean energy efforts have a long track record, with the state first adopting a renewable and energy efficiency portfolio standard in 2008. This report details how Michigan will make this transition Download