The transition from fossil fuel dependence to a clean energy economy is being driven by initiatives at the local level. AERO is helping inspire and nurture collaboration amongst neighbors, city, and county officials, and community educators by providing them with the resources and tools they need to conserve energy and natural resources, build energy self-reliance, and drive economic development.
- Local Energy Solutions Conference – This annual conference hosted by AERO brings together leaders from around Montana to share what works at the community level to conserve energy and develop locally owned renewable energy projects. Case studies, presentations, and presenter contact info from the 2011 Local Energy Solutions Conference and the 2010 Repowering Montana’s Communities Workshop are available online.
- Helena Climate Action Plan – This model action plan, published in September 2009 lays out a framework for continuing the City of Helena’s impressive energy conservation efforts. Recommendations on water conservation, local food production and public/private partnerships broaden the thinking beyond municipal operations. AERO members and staff played a central role on the Mayor-appointed Task Force that drafted the Plan. Download the Helena Climate Action Plan.
- Green Blocks – AERO partnered with the City of Helena, NorthWestern Energy and the Helena Citizens Council to publicize and recruit participants for the Helena Green Blocks pilot project in 2010. This project provided Helena residents the opportunity to save both money and energy by offering energy retrofit measures free of charge to participating households. Green Blocks pilot projects have also been conducted in Missoula. Contact us if you would like to see a similar program in your hometown.
- Get to Work Parties – Meet your neighbors, pick up new skills, and make an impact. The actual “work” can vary depending on the partiers; a group might weatherize a block of homes, turn in beds at a community garden for the winter, or spend the afternoon reforesting a beetle-killed hillside. Let us know if you want help putting together a Get to Work Party in 2011. Check out coverage of the 2010 work parties in Montana we helped organize. They were part of the 10/10/10 global day of action spearheaded by 350.org.
- Neighborhood Conservation Clubs – Working in groups of five to ten households, neighbors in Montana communities can join forces to conserve energy in their homes, travel habits and purchasing patterns. Neighborhood Conservation Clubs (NCCs) are a forum to take action and conserve resources by working within small neighborhood groups. We suggest that you use our “Club Planning Guide” to get started. Pick a simple project, round up your neighbors, and get to work. AERO co-founded the NCC project with the S.A.V.E. Foundation and Saturn Resource Management.
- Energy Consideration for First Time Home Buyers – AERO worked with Helena First Time Home Buyers instructor Beki Brandborg and Helena-area realtor Freda Wilkinson to develop an energy conservation curriculum component for first time home buyers classes. The presentation outlines energy features to look for when buying a house, which energy measures to take after purchasing a house, and what renters can do to decrease their energy consumption before they become home owners. Contact us to find out how to include this material in a class in your community, or download the First Time Home Buyers Participant Guide.