State and Local Climate and Energy Program
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Neighborhood-Based Home Energy Efficiency Upgrades and Capacity Development
City of Durham and Durham County, North Carolina
Federal Funding: $500,000
Project Timeline: February 2010 – December 2012
Home retrofit projects using EPA funding under the Clean Energy Durham project have come to a close. The Neighborhood Energy Retrofit Program (NERP) team used technology to increase retrofit service productivity by streamlining the online application process and entering assessment data into a database while onsite. During the last few months of the project, the Home Energy Savings Program (HESP) reached out to applicants who had incomplete applications. A total of 323 home retrofits were completed as of September 2012. The project also continued to solicit feedback from participants. A survey of NERP and HESP participants found that saving energy and money were the most important motivating factors for participating, along with reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the comfort and value of their homes. Upcoming work includes sending out and analyzing post-retrofit surveys, as well as developing and conducting workshops in Spanish.
Photos and Video
Promoting Energy Efficient Retrofits, Neighbor-to-Neighbor Training, Energy Efficiency Literacy and Skills Training, and Landlord-Tenant Program Support
The City of Durham and Durham County, North Carolina, are working together on a neighborhood-based, residential energy upgrade and capacity-building program. The project is reducing energy use and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from at least 344 homes. A key component of the program strategy is the use of neighborhood organizing, which allows the implementation of several highly-effective and commonly-needed efficiency upgrades to a large number of homes. This effort is paired with energy efficiency education for individuals and small groups.
Community volunteers bring residents in selected neighborhoods into the program via door-to-door outreach. The program targets households with earnings at more than 200 percent of the poverty level who are asked to contribute a cost-share to the upgrades. Households below this income threshold are referred to the City's Weatherization Assistance Program, which can provide greater assistance with no cost-sharing requirement. Eligible homes include those that are either owner-occupied or renter-occupied, no larger than 2,000 square feet, and single story. Implementation of this basic set of criteria allows maximum efficiency for the program and provides opportunities for newly-trained retrofit workers.
For renter-occupied properties, a program manager contacts property owners to negotiate permission for upgrades and provide information to the owners on the marketability of energy efficiency. Because education is an important component of this program, all residents and property owners that are contacted are given information on all available energy efficiency assistance (through local, state, and federal sources), regardless of whether they choose to participate in the program.
The City of Durham is contracting with a community organization to manage the community outreach, including volunteer recruitment and education, program material development, volunteer training, and data collection and analysis. The City is also contracting with local companies to conduct basic energy audits and to install the targeted energy efficiency upgrades. Upgrades that are included in the program are limited to those that are needed in nearly all residences, can be completed without an exhaustive energy audit, and can result in significant energy savings with minimal up-front cost.
|Area||95 square miles|
|Median Household Income||$47,070|
|Reported Results (as of September 2012)||Projected Cumulative Results|
|Annual GHG Reductions||680.7 mt CO2e||1,800 mt CO2e|
|# of Households Retrofitted||323||344|
|Hours of Paid Work Created||6,667||4,471|
- Durham City-County Sustainability Office website
- Durham's Neighborhood Energy Retrofit Program video
- From Durham to Sacramento, Cities Get Help With 'Climate Showcase' Projects, 3/3/2010
- Durham Awarded EPA Grant for Neighborhood Energy Retrofit Program, 3/1/2010