(AUSTIN, Tex. – June 14, 2023) – A 3-year, $2.5 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to Pecan Street Inc. and university and local community partners will expand Pecan Street’s household energy research network to four new regions focused on equitable energy – Oklahoma City, central Pennsylvania, Atlanta, and Portland, Ore. More than 200 homes in traditionally underserved communities will be equipped with Pecan Street’s energy research equipment, addressing a critical data gap for low-income communities and households of color.

“We have been laser-focused on expanding our network in two key areas: new climate regions and better representation of low-income households and households of color who are woefully underrepresented in energy research,” said Pecan Street interim CEO Bart Bohn. “The Sloan Foundation’s continued support addresses both. Our local community and university partners in each region will ensure the information generated by these new research networks advances local energy justice efforts.”

Key to the expansion will be the local community organizations and university researchers in each region. In addition to contributing to Pecan Street’s ongoing energy data monitoring research, participants will work with local researchers to address specific local needs and benefits.

Atlanta – Georgia Tech and the Grove Park Foundation will conduct surveys, interviews and workshops with residents of the Grove Park neighborhood and collect energy use data using advanced sensing. The goals are to calibrate inclusive Urban Building Energy Modeling (UBEM) that informs design decisions on electrification to eliminate energy cost burdens, to increase regional energy resiliency, and to inform local developing innovations intended to counter the disproportionately adverse impact of climate change on urban communities.
Contact: Tarek Rakha, Georgia Tech, rakha@design.gatech.edu

Central Pennsylvania Temple University and Central Susquehanna Opportunities will investigate energy use and energy transition perspectives and the implications of various energy transition policies and technologies on underserved communities.
Contact: Veronica Jacome, Temple University, veronica.jacome@temple.edu

Oklahoma City – The University of Oklahoma’s Data Institute for Societal Challenges (DISC), Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (IPPRA), and the community-based organization RestoreOKC will work with low- to moderate-income households to quantify the financial and energy use impacts of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures and the impacts of shade tree cover on household energy burdens. The team will engage with RestoreOKC’s community advisory teams throughout the process to ensure that research findings will be of immediate and long-term use and benefit to the community.
Contact: Dr. Jennifer Koch, The University of Oklahoma, jakoch@ou.edu

Portland, Ore. Reed College, Community Energy Project and CAPA Strategies, LLC will explore residents’ responses to the installation of HVAC systems and increased electrification, grid impacts of increased electrification and HVAC installations, and the extent to which the energy transition is likely to prevent heat-related deaths.
Contact: Dr. Aaron Ramirez, Reed College, ramireza@reed.edu

“To decarbonize the energy system, we need to better understand how people and households use electricity. This means working together with academic experts, non-profit organizations, and communities to measure electricity use more accurately,” said Evan Michelson, program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “That is why we are so excited about the new community partnerships established in this Energy Equity Research Network, which will combine local insights with broader knowledge about how to transform the energy system. Adding the voices, perspectives and energy use choices of lower-income households and communities of color will provide the critical data needed to inform how to decarbonize the U.S. economy more equitably.”

The Sloan Foundation has previously supported Pecan Street’s research expansion in Puerto Rico, Detroit, New York and California and the development of advanced cloud-based data analysis tools for researchers.

Launched in Austin in 2009, Pecan Street established the first energy research network of real customers by equipping participants’ homes with sensors that measure electricity from multiple circuits 24 hours a day. It has evolved into a world-class research organization, helping accelerate the transition to clean energy and expanding its expertise into other data-focused climate needs, including water and soil carbon.

Pecan Street’s database of customer energy generation and use data is the most robust on the planet. More than 500 peer-reviewed papers that used Pecan Street data have been published on issues including climate change, electric system reliability, transportation electrification, and urban resilience. Pecan Street’s Center for Race, Energy and Climate Justice focuses on advancing a just climate transition.

About Pecan Street Inc.
Pecan Street Inc. is internationally renowned for its pioneering research model, which integrates communities, technology developers, data scientists and advocates to accelerate the pace of innovation for climate and conservation solutions. Pecan Street applies a high-impact research and development approach to high-potential, cost-effective climate solutions that are impeded by a lack of data and technology readiness. Pecan Street is a 501(c)(3) applied research and commercialization institute located in Austin, Texas. pecanstreet.org | @PecanStreetInc

Colin Rowan, Pecan Street Inc., media@pecanstreet.org, 512-222-9603