BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - David Konisky, the Lynton K. Caldwell Professor at the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, is part of a group of researchers who were awarded a grant worth nearly $1.125 million by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of their Drivers and Environmental Impacts of Energy Transitions in Underserved Communities program.
The project, “Evaluating the Environmental, Behavioral, and Financial Benefits of Electrification and Energy Efficiency for Underserved Communities,” will evaluate the effects of electrification and energy efficiency on household energy use and indoor air quality for residents of multifamily dwelling units in urban Cincinnati. The effort also seeks to identify potential barriers to the widespread adoption of these technologies by underserved populations, at both the household and municipal level.
Konisky, who also is co-director of the Energy Justice Lab, collaborated with partners at the Green Umbrella Regional Sustainability Alliance, the Cincinnati Office of Environment and Sustainability, and Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, an Ohio-based nonprofit community development organization.
“The general goal of the project is to quantify the benefits of electrification and weatherization efforts in multifamily homes, both with respect to energy security and air quality,” Konisky said. “There is a lot of money out there for these types of residential investments, and this project can help us understand their practical benefits as well as identify potential challenges that need to be addressed.”
The project includes the installation of electrification and weatherization technologies that will reduce energy usage, increase energy security, improve comfort and well-being, and improve air quality. The effort also will try to identify barriers to the adoption of energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies that may exist for low-income households and help identify policies that may benefit those populations.
“The City of Cincinnati and its greater metro area has a number of important initiatives to improve energy efficiency and build climate resilience,” Konisky said. “They are interested in partnering with researchers and local organizations to evaluate the results of these initiatives.”
The EPA awarded a total of $11 million in research funding to 11 institutions via its Drivers and Environmental Impacts of Energy Transitions in Underserved Communities program, which includes Tribal communities.
“Addressing climate change and environmental justice issues are two priorities that are integral to EPA’s mission,” said Chris Frey, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “This research will help us understand how transitioning away from fossil-based energy systems may impact communities and can help pave the way to a just and equitable energy future.”