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Green Alliance Blog -GUEST BLOG: Chevy warms to MaineHousing project

Release Date: May 07, 2013
By Bob Shepard

GM's Chevrolet division is following up on its announcement of a commitment to reduce carbon emissions by up to 8 million metric tons, which is roughly equivalent to the output of all vehicles sold in a model year. The company will invest up to $40 million in renewable energy, efficiency and conservation projects at the community level across the U.S.

The first project to meet the rigorous standards developed specifically for Chevrolet is one that could potentially benefit people in York County. MaineHousing, the state agency that administers related federal programs, working with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Ford Foundation, unveiled a first-of-its-kind program that measures the impact of weatherizing low-income homes. Their certified process leverages taxpayer dollars to help seal even more single family homes and apartments from the frigid temperatures that we will all soon be feeling. By putting a price on the carbon reductions and selling the resulting credits to businesses, in this case Chevy, MaineHousing is stretching those federal dollars at a time when state capitols are expecting severe cuts in heating assistance. Programs such as this could have a significant impact in a state like Maine, where 80% of the population relies on heating oil to warm some of the nation’s oldest homes.

Speaking this summer in Freeport, Bill Devine, Cross Brand Marketing Manager at Chevrolet, said that this effort is part of the automaker’s larger commitment to a clean energy future that starts with reducing the emissions from its own factories, and new technology like the Volt extended range electric vehicle. That progress will be detailed in a soon-to-be-released GM corporate sustainability report, the first in several years.
This week Devine’s team is unveiling a series of videos on the projects called Carbon Stories.

Be sure to check out the video shot recently in Lewiston-Auburn. It's a great example of the kind of public-private partnership that can leverage government funding, eliminate waste, create jobs, and in the end help reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Bob Sheppard is a Kittery based sustainability consultant. He has more than a dozen years in the field, helping most recently to build Clean Air-Cool Planet's corporate program which helped businesses like York Hospital, National Geographic Travel and Oakhurst Dairy achieve their goals of a 20% reduction in carbon emissions. He has served since 2010 on the NGO team advising Chevrolet on the carbon offset program.

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