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Salt Lake City, Utah Clean Energy and its Energy Ambassadors Launch Empower SLC

Some of the partners involved in launching Empower SLC, an energy efficiency outreach program funded with a $200,00 investment from Salt Lake City, in collaboration with Utah Clean Energy.

The Salt Lake City Sustainability Department and Utah Clean Energy have teamed up with the International Rescue Committee, Salt Lake County Aging & Adult Services, and YouthCity Government to achieve a common goal: empower Salt Lake City’s west side neighborhoods with the tools to reduce pollution while saving energy and money. 

The unique partnership is the result of a $200,000 investment from Salt Lake City and was announced on April 11, 2019 with the launch of Empower SLC, a community engagement effort to help Salt Lake City residents reduce pollution and save energy on a community-wide scale. The program is being managed by long-time experts Utah Clean Energy.

“Energy efficiency is often the unsung hero of clean air and a healthy climate,” said Kevin Emerson, energy efficiency program director, Utah Clean Energy. “When you save energy at home, you reduce pollution. Now consider the possibilities when we save energy throughout our entire community.

Kevin Emerson, of Utah Clean Energy, describes the energy efficiency offerings of Empower SLC.

Small steps in energy efficiency can make a big impact on air quality and climate solutions. We are thrilled to bring this pilot program to westside Salt Lake City and make a positive impact in so many lives.”

Saving energy is something everyone can do and the Empower SLC website features a handy list of actions (PDF), with associated energy and cost savings, available to all.

However, the reality is that not everyone can access simple energy efficiency tools.

Things like the up-front cost, limited incentive promotion, or linguistic barriers make it hard for some households to implement energy efficiency upgrades. Empower SLC is aimed at addressing those challenges by focusing on bringing energy saving tools, education, and resources directly to ZIP codes 84104 and 84116.

Making LED lightbulbs available to more households can reduce community energy use, utility costs, and carbon emissions.

These neighborhoods were chosen to boost historically lower rates of participation in energy efficiency programs and pilot strategies that could be scaled up to other areas of the city.

“As we move to a cleaner and more sustainable energy system, we need to make sure the benefits are reaching all members of our community,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Empower SLC is just the beginning of our work to help residents and businesses save money on their energy bills, make their homes and buildings more comfortable, and improve indoor air quality—all while also reducing pollution.”

Empower SLC’s outreach efforts are spearhead by “Energy Ambassadors,” three local organizations already serving the 84104 and 84116 neighborhoods, which includes Glendale, Poplar Grove, Rose Park, and other west side communities.

These Energy Ambassadors will incorporate energy efficiency tools and education into their existing community programs:

  • International Rescue Committee (IRC): Helping refugees survive, recover and gain control of their future, the IRC will complete LED installations during home visits with resettled families.
  • Salt Lake County Aging & Adult Services: Meals on Wheels volunteers in Salt Lake City’s West Side will give homebound senior customers an option for free LED installations in their home.
  • YouthCity Government: Hosts two annual events for air quality, health and the environment where attendees will receive water-saving showerheads that also reduce energy demand and water-heating costs.

“The International Rescue Committee helps refugees survive, recover, and gain control of their future. We already do home visits with our clients, so it makes perfect sense to partner with Empower SLC to provide LED installations to these community members while we are there,”
said Joshua Lloyd, Acting Deputy Director of Programs for the IRC.
“We’re exciting to be able to leverage our work with new partners to help more people.”

The Salt Lake City Sustainability Department and Utah Clean Energy hope to accomplish the following in the target zip codes over a two-year time period:

  • Increase uptake of household energy efficiency actions among SLC community members
  • Drive participation in energy efficiency programs designed for multi-family residential buildings by engaging property managers within the target area
  • Encourage local schools within the targeted ZIP codes to participate in Rocky Mountain Power’s “Be Wattsmart, Begin at Home”
  • Provide education to small businesses and building owners and managers to increase understanding of the economic, comfort and air quality benefit of energy efficiency while connecting them with utility programs

Everyone can make use of these energy savings tips (PDF).

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