Partners: Slipstream, Faith in Place
Slipstream and Faith in Place recruited and trained community residents to become trusted energy advisors in their neighborhoods to boost participation in energy efficiency offerings.
Eight local residents from the two selected communities, Waukegan and South Shore, were hired as EcoAdvocates to coach, promote and track energy efficiency participation within their community. Through community events and regular interactions, the EcoAdvocates educated and engaged with fellow community members to overcome barriers of awareness and trust to facilitate their participation in the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program. The EcoAdvocates also worked within their communities to support citizen science initiatives to conserve native ecosystems and distributed school supplies and personal protective equipment kits to those without access during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project served as a job training and workforce development initiative by providing training, oversight, mentorship and career counseling for the EcoAdvocates to prepare them for permanent jobs in energy efficiency or in similar fields.
Results and Outcomes
Over the course of the project, the EcoAdvocates recruited and enrolled 87 participants into the program. This was lower than their initial goal because the project outreach events were required to end early due to the pandemic. Before the start of the pandemic the EcoAdvocates made a total of 32 referrals to ComEd offerings which included the Home Energy Assessments, Small Business Assessments and Energy Kits. Upon resuming engagement in August 2020, the EcoAdvocates shifted their focus to respond to urgent community needs and distributed over 8,500 personal protective equipment kits and 4,000 nutritional food boxes to members of their community. In addition to the project results and community impact, this project highlights important considerations and best practices for community-based program design.