ATLANTA -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that the city of Aiken, SC will receive $320,000 to develop local strategies to reduce harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve people’s health. The city of Aiken is among 22 communities from across the country, including three Indian tribes, receiving almost $8.3 million in grants. The grants will help communities increase energy efficiency and save consumers money with new practices involving waste management, energy production, and land use management.
To reduce GHG emissions, the city of Aiken is receiving funding to complete “deep” energy retrofits on 10 blighted homes in a low income neighborhood, weatherize additional homes through a green job program, and provide educational materials to the community on energy efficiency.
Grantees estimate that by 2014 the projects will reduce more than 167,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually—equivalent to the annual emissions from more than 32,745 passenger vehicles or the energy used by 14,189 homes—and save nearly $13 million per year in energy costs. The projects will also improve people’s health and quality of life by improving indoor and outdoor air quality, increasing walkability, and reducing household energy bills.
EPA will monitor the progress of grant recipients and will post quarterly updates about each recipient online. An additional $1.7 million is still under review and is expected to be awarded in the next few months to four additional local governments. All grant funding is from the Fiscal Year 2010 federal budget.
The Climate Showcase Communities Grant Program is administered by EPA, providing technical assistance, tools, and guidance to help state, local, and tribal governments implement policies and programs to mitigate climate change.
The 22 communities are showing their commitment to improve local health and reduce GHG emissions by contributing matching funds and committing to share their lessons learned to help other communities replicate successful projects. Communities selected for the Climate Showcase funds were required to show their ability to achieve ongoing GHG reductions as well as to track, measure, and show progress toward their goals. The new grantees join 25 communities that were awarded funding in 2010.