Faced with greater poverty rates and generally higher costs of living than the rest of the state, many residents of Flagstaff and Coconino County, AZ are burdened with increasing utility rates but lack the fiscal resources or access to affordable financing necessary to pursue energy efficiency home improvements. To address this problem, city and county leaders came together to target ARRA funds to expand residential energy efficiency services in a way that also promotes workforce training and job placement.
Flagstaff and Coconino County are using ARRA’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) to advance multidimensional goal setting that simultaneously promotes energy efficiency, supports workforce training and job placement, and facilitates social inclusion. Both the city’s Integrated Solutions for a Sustainable Flagstaff (ISSF) and Coconino County’s Residential Energy Efficiency and Workforce Development (REEWD) involve a two-tiered home retrofit service made available to city and county residents with workers drawn from a newly established apprenticeship program in energy efficiency. Over the next two years, ISSF and REEWD aim to conduct 770 residential energy efficiency retrofits (resulting in annual savings of 6400 megawatts of energy, $250,000 in utility bills, and 6.9 million pounds of carbon dioxide) and create or retain eight to 12 jobs.