Photo: Hannah Porst
The EAN was founded in September 2009 by the Chicago Department of Environment (DOE) in part as a response to ECCo’s rapid ethnographic inventories aimed at engaging diverse communities in the Chicago Climate Action Plan. The EAN engages 21 community organizations in scaling up energy efficiency efforts in their communities. As part of the EAN Leadership Team and through capacity-building programs, ECCo urban anthropologists are helping EAN member organizations begin to integrate energy efficiency and other climate action issues into their core programs, incorporate nature-based climate action strategies into their work, build new collaborative relationships, and reach out to diverse constituencies.
ECCo also serves as an adviser to another DOE-led project building on our first inventory in South Chicago. The South Chicago Retrofit Project is a two-year, community-intensive version of the EAN that aims to scale up energy efficiency efforts and residential retrofits by targeting particular blocks and community networks and connecting energy efficiency to other efforts in the community aiming to improve quality of life. ECCo’s work focuses particularly on helping community partners link energy efficiency to nature-based strategies like gardening and environmental restoration.