In September of 2020, Sustainable GW began accelerating work on a DC energy equity research project funded through a planning grant from the National Science Foundation. The goal of the effort is to evaluate how energy can be used as a tool to generate equity in the District, with an emphasis on the importance of community engagement and collaboration. The project team is an interdisciplinary group of faculty from the Milken Institute School of Public Health, the GW Law School, the GW School of Business, the GW School of Engineering and several other departments of the University.
As the project is ongoing, the team is connecting theoretical discussions on defining energy equity and energy justice with practical solutions on the ground. There has been a series of focus groups with community members to ensure that historically marginalized DC residents are actually experiencing the benefits of GW’s work. On April 1, 2021, the first convening of an official Advisory Council for the project took place, bringing together a group of community members selected to support the project using their professional experience relating to energy equity in the nonprofit, government and business spaces.
The ultimate goal of this research is to use the knowledge uniquely available to GW as an academic institution to collaborate with community partners on a long-term energy project which could be run by the community and serve as a replicable and scalable solution to the problem of systemic energy inequity.