News from TEPRI – April 2022

 

UPDATE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Greetings TEPRI Friends,

At long last, Spring 2022 has brought us opportunities to be together. We are able to see each other smile and share a good laugh! At TEPRI, this season has brought with it new opportunities to connect, and new faces to the organization. We are delighted to introduce Bobuchi Ken-Opurum, our new Director of Research Programs. With a newly minted PhD from Carnegie Mellon, Bobuchi contributes a wealth of experience in sustainable construction and energy resilience to TEPRI. In the spirit of sharing and collaboration, we have convened the second cohort of the Energy Opportunities Coalition, bringing together energy professionals from across the state to discuss the challenges and solutions towards achieving an equitable energy transition. We are also launching our Community Voices in Energy Efficiency group to engage community-based organizations in devising strategies for affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy. Over the next few months we will be engaging stakeholders across the state to see how TEPRI can be most impactful, which will be used to help inform our ongoing strategic planning process. We may ask you to respond to a short survey, or even meet with myself or Dana Harmon, to help us understand energy trends and meaningful ways we can work together. Stay tuned! We are grateful to our many partners for working with us to navigate an equitable energy future for us all.

Thank you for your continued partnership!

Warmly, Margo Weisz

WELCOMING NEW DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH

Dr. Bobuchi Ken-Opurum

Dr. Bobuchi Ken-Opurum is a multidisciplinary climate resilience, climate equity, and energy equity researcher, and TEPRI’s new Director of Research Programs. She comes to TEPRI with research and professional experience in commercial and multifamily residential construction, sustainability management of real estate portfolio, environmental justice, climate policy, and decision analyses. Bobuchi holds a Ph.D. in Architecture-Engineering-Construction Management from Carnegie Mellon University, a MS in Sustainability Management from Columbia University, and a BS in Construction Engineering Management Technology from Purdue University.

“I’m excited to develop impactful research projects at TEPRI that will improve clean and affordable energy access for underserved and marginalized communities and promote sustainable and resilient communities through practical and educational initiatives. I’m also excited to collaborate and engage with minority households, specifically Black and Brown households who have existing risk factors and are predominantly excluded from strategic planning on clean and just energy transitions.”

 

SAN ANTONIO

RE+ Texas Conference

Earlier this month, Margo was featured on the RE+ Texas panel for “Increasing Access to Clean Energy Through Community Solar & LMI Financing.” The program discussed the unique needs of LMI households, the barriers to community solar in Texas’ competitive energy market, and considerations to expand the benefits of solar energy to everyone in Texas through innovative business models.

AUSTIN

SXSW

Dana Harmon represented TEPRI this spring at South by Southwest. You can click here to watch her panel “Roadmap to an Equitable Energy Transition” where they discuss how climate change affects low income communities and address the challenges that create the economic divide.

COLLEGE STATION

Texas Association of Community Development Corporations 29th Annual Conference

TEPRI’s Andrew Robison spoke at the 2022 Texas Association of Community Development Corporations Conference in College Station. He was joined by TEPRI’s Executive Director, Margo Weisz and Katelynn Essig, Director of Sustainability at Foundation Communities, on a panel discussing the opportunities for energy efficiency and solar in Texas affordable housing developments, including promising technologies like heat pumps and energy-efficient appliances. In case you missed it, stay tuned for a repeat of this presentation this summer!

HOUSTON

Society of Environmental Journalists Annual Conference

Dana Harmon joined the Society of Environmental Journalists in Houston for their annual conference hosted by Rice University. Dana spoke on the panel “Energy Equity and The Grid,” which walked through the daily issues facing families in Texas who earn under 75k annually. They also discussed how developing technologies like solar and wind power can improve the lives of Texas’s low-income communities.

DALLAS

RMI Texas Home Weatherization Summit

TEPRI was invited to participate in Rocky Mountain Institute’s Texas Whole Home Weatherization Summit. Dana Harmon delivered the keynote for the summit, which was a multi-stakeholder workshop for leaders, implementers, and decision-makers looking to  develop or improve existing whole-home programs that advance the resilience of low-income Texas communities. Andrew Robison participated as a faculty advisor for the Dallas team, helping the team to identify pathways to reduce barriers in Dallas-area weatherization programming

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Co-development of Energy Equity Inspector Tool

In case you missed it, click here to check out our latest blog post about How We’re Identifying Opportunities for Greater Energy Equity in Texas. TEPRI, in collaboration with the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA), developed a tool to visualize energy burdens, energy affordability, environmental hazards, and carbon emission exposure in communities throughout the Southeast.