Event Recap

Connecting with community in Worthington

May 2024

On Tuesday, April 30, staff held a Clean Energy Resource Teams event for the newly expanded Community Energy Ambassador program, formerly known as the Inflation Reduction Act Ambassadors. The expansion happened as a result of wanting to share a full range of clean energy ideas and resources, not limited to those in the Inflation Reduction Act, and to keep the focus on communities.

Nadya presenting to a groupThe event was held at the Government Center in Worthington and was led by Nadya Bucklin and Jason Walker of Southwest Regional Development Commission and CERTs. It consisted of a presentation about the new program, a workshop session about what it means to be a Community Energy Ambassador in community, and a networking hour.

During the workshop session, the attendees worked in small groups to brainstorm community-focused answers to a set of questions. The small groups addressed energy needs in their communities, such as the need for energy savings with old homes, energy savings in schools and public buildings, and the need for energy audits and other resources in multiple languages. They identified challenges to doing energy ambassador work – from lack of professionals in the clean energy workforce to the frustrating amount of paperwork needed to complete some projects.

The group also had great ideas for how they could be Ambassadors in their communities. Holding events, doing presentations around clean energy resources, and celebrating small wins, were some of the ideas at the top of the list. Many of the attendees were on the same page about how CERTs can support them more in their ambassador work, when they mentioned the need for more resources in multiple languages and having CERTs representation and help at various community events.

Questions Offered and Notes from Discussions

  1.  How can you be an Ambassador in your community? 

    - Present to community members and organizations, create a listserv for the community, offer events in the community, focus on monthly topics, celebrate clean energy wins.
  2.  How can you recruit Ambassadors in your community?

    - Similar to the ideas above.
  3.  What are the energy needs you see in your community?

    - Energy audits in Spanish and English, funds for fixing housing problems, energy savings for older homes (more heat pumps), energy navigators in other languages, knowledge around resources available for energy savings and weatherization, connections to recourses from trusted community members, schools and public buildings energy savings.
  4.  What challenges do you anticipate in your work as an Ambassador?

    - Nay sayers and misinformation, paperwork, translations, lack of infrastructure for community members, limited technicians to install clean technology like heat pumps and solar, many community members are renters and lack resources dedicated to their needs, no central location for information.
  5.  What do you need from CERTs to be more effective as an Ambassador in your community?

    - CERTs staff at events, updated information and resources with details on when they were last updated, resources in multiple languages.

community members around a table

community members around a table

We had a good turnout with some very engaged individuals. Thank you to everyone who attended!


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