Resident Owned Communities ROC(K) energy savings!

July 2023

What are Resident Owned Communities (ROCs), you ask?

It is when the residents of a manufactured home park band together and form a cooperative to buy the land that their homes sit on. An organization called Northcountry Cooperative Foundation (NCF) has helped some of the communities in Minnesota go through this process. Looking to build even more community sovereignty, NCF recently teamed up with the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) to reduce energy burden for residents. Huzzah!

Four CERTs regions (Metro, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest) were inspired by the work that NCF is doing and provided seed grants to the organization. These seed grants helped assess the energy efficiency of several manufactured home parks. NCF’s Executive Director Victoria “Tory” Clark, shares more.

“We set out to complete home energy assessments in four resident owned manufactured home communities in Minnesota. Along with CERTs, we worked in partnership with Slipstream, a national organization dedicated to discovering and testing climate solutions in buildings and communities. Together we accomplished site visits and assessments in three of the four regions, mapped manufactured home resources in all four regions, completed outreach and education of manufactured home weatherization opportunities, researched loan and grant options for manufactured home weatherization, and explored the possibility of solar applications in manufactured homes,” says Clark.

"Overall the project deepened the knowledge and understanding of the challenges faced in the manufactured home weatherization space. It also provided a road map of the necessary policy changes and programs that need to be created to ensure manufactured home weatherization is a resource that can scale statewide.”

Communities served:

  • Hillcrest Community Cooperative, Clarks Grove, MN: 4 assessments were conducted.

  •  Five Lakes Cooperative in Fairmont, MN: 3 assessments were conducted by Minnesota Valley Action Council.

  • Park Plaza Cooperative in Fridley, MN: 5 assessments were completed with the support of  staff from Slipstream.

  • Bennett Park Cooperative in Moorhead, MN: residents declined assessments but attended weatherization training.

“Thank you for the opportunity to explore this area, conduct this work, perform the assessments, and share knowledge with the owners of manufactured homes. It was truly a wonderful experience.”

-NCF’s Executive Director, Tory Clark

What did you learn, how would you replicate?

“The project scope was predicated on the idea that home energy assessments of manufactured homes would be cost efficient and easily completed with relatively low labor needs,” said Clark. 

“We quickly became aware of the complicated coordination required, the labor intensive needs of an assessment, and the lack of resources available to manufactured homes to complete the suggested improvements.”

“Working with Slipstream, we decided to instead focus on 1) capacity building by completing five assessments in the metro area using a Slipstream trained professional, 2) networking with Community Action Program agencies across the state to leverage their existing weatherization programs and 3) conducting education for all resident owned communities across the state on doing their own weatherization assessment of their homes.”

Clark said that the main thing her organization learned from the seed grant projects is that many of the manufactured home owners simply do not have access to the same weatherization resources that traditional home owners do.

Educational workshop

A virtual educational workshop was marketed to all resident owned communities across the state. Residents attended from across five different communities statewide and the training was recorded and is available on the NCF YouTube channel.

Legislative Update: The knowledge acquired from the CERTs seed grants made a difference!

"The CERTs Seed Grant funding helped NCF to identify the growing need for rehab loan and grant products for manufactured home owners across the state." says Clark. "Our project identified systemic barriers to accessing home energy assessments and a persistent gap in rehab financing options for manufactured homeowners.”

“We took the information gained from the seed grant project to buttress our advocacy for the creation of a new $10 million state funding program that will help create rehab loan and grant programs for manufactured homeowners." 

 Northcountry Cooperative Foundation - Improving Energy Efficiency of Manufactured Homes

Clean Energy Focus: Manufactured home energy assessments, weatherization education and outreach, and loan/grant program research and development for manufactured home weatherization

Metro, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest CERT Seed Grants: $5,000 in each region ($20,000 total)

Other Funds Leveraged: staff time from community action agencies

People Involved and Reached: 64

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