Resilience Cohort

Resilience Cohort

The Environmental Resilience Institute’s Resilience Cohort program leads Indiana’s city, town, and county governments through the process of measuring, managing, and tracking their greenhouse gas emissions. Participants join a cohort of peers and each jurisdiction receives one-on-one guidance, attends cohort training webinars, gains the opportunity to apply for additional staff capacity by hosting a summer intern, and more. Through this program, 17 local governments in Indiana have conducted community-scale greenhouse gas inventories, 12 of which are also working on climate action plans to reduce emissions.

Participating communities receive support from the Environmental Resilience Institute, ICLEI USA, and have the opportunity to host a 10-week summer intern through Sustain IU’s Indiana Sustainability Development Program to boost staff capacity for the project.

Decorative: headshot of Emily Styron

I think that this is an opportunity for our community to define what mitigating climate change looks like for us. For our businesses, for our residents, for our students, for people of all ages. What I’m excited about is that this is a community-based approach that is using science to help inform us of how we develop policy.

Mayor Emily Styron of Zionsville, Ind. on her community’s​ participation in the Resilience Cohort program

Next Stage 1 Cohort:

April - September 2021

Who can apply:

Town, city, and county governments in Indiana

The application deadline for this program has passed. Please contact the Environmental Resilience Institute if you are still interested in participating.

Participants in Stage 1 of the Resilience Cohort are guided through the process of conducting a community-wide inventory but have the option to simultaneously complete an inventory of emissions from local government operations.

  • Community-wide inventory: Local governments collect data on energy use (e.g., amount of electricity and natural gas used in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors), solid waste sent to the landfill (e.g., tons of waste), water use and treatment (e.g., the volume of digester gas produced per day), and transportation (e.g., vehicle miles traveled estimates) occurring within the jurisdiction’s boundary, among other sources.
  • Local government operations inventory: Local governments collect data on employee commutes (e.g., estimated miles traveled), government solid waste generation (e.g., tons of solid waste sent to the landfill), government building energy use (e.g., amount of electricity and natural gas used), and fuel used by the government’s vehicle fleet, among other sources.
Participation Benefits
  • Step-by-step guidance through the inventory process
  • Access to ClearPath, ICLEI’s comprehensive cloud-based inventory software
  • Indiana-specific training and technical assistance offered through 10 live webinars
  • One-on-one technical assistance
  • An Indiana-specific online network to facilitate resources, peer support, and cohort communications
  • “Power in numbers” to encourage timely and complete response to data requests (many agencies and utilities have never been asked for this data before)
  • Recognition through ICLEI's Milestones Award (upon inventory completion) and, if desired, marketing and communications support (e.g. press release template, participation in a final case study)
  • Access to the ICLEI Community, an online peer-city networking hub complete with greenhouse gas inventory training videos and crowd-sourced Q&A with dozens of cities, for the length of the cohort
  • Following the completion of the Cohort, participants will have the option to apply for a one-year ICLEI membership at a price reduced by the amount paid to participate in the Resilience Cohort
Cost Share

Another benefit of participating in the Resilience Cohort is access to ICLEI resources at a reduced rate, subsidized by grant funding. Participating local governments are asked to contribute to the costs of the program based on population size.

Population >50,000: $500
Population <=50,000: $200

*A different cost share structure is available for local governments working as part of a regional inventory. Please contact ERI for more information.

Participation Requirements

In addition to this small cost share, participants are required to provide

  • A dedicated government staff person to complete the inventory. ICLEI estimates local government staff time at 10 – 15 hours a month, on average, for five months (April 15 – September 15), plus the amount of time it takes to write an inventory report, if desired.
  • Optional: If the community decides to host an IU extern to support Cohort participation, the local government will need to provide a computer, workspace, and phone for the extern, and will be asked to contribute to the cost of the student scholarship.

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The 2021 program is supported by the McKinney Family Foundation and the Duke Energy Foundation.

The 2019 Resilience Cohort provided 14 Indiana cities, towns, and counties with training, technical resources, a peer network and capacity to complete a community-scale greenhouse gas inventory.

2019 Resilience Cohort Summary Report    View text alternative of the report

2019 Participants

Bloomington, Carmel, Columbus, Delaware County / Muncie, Evansville, Fishers, Fort Wayne, Gary, Greencastle, Goshen, Michigan City, Oldenburg, Richmond, West Lafayette

Participant Press Releases and News Coverage

View news coverage about the participating communities' inventories.

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The 2019 program was supported by the McKinney Family Foundation and Earth Charter Indiana.

What is a greenhouse gas inventory?

A greenhouse gas inventory is a fundamental first step to becoming a more resilient community. The inventory quantifies the carbon emissions released by man-made sources within a defined boundary in a twelve-month period. The process provides data on the amount of energy consumed, the diversity of energy supplied to the grid, a community's vehicle type and fuel usage distribution, and more. Communities completing inventories can use the data to set a baseline, identify a reduction target, and develop a plan for reducing those emissions.


Who is ICLEI?

ICLEI is a nonprofit organization that helps local governments pursue deep reductions in carbon pollution and tangible improvements in sustainability and resilience. For more than 25 years, ICLEI has helped communities reduce emissions and become healthier, stronger, more equitable, and more prepared.

Preparation of a greenhouse gas inventory is a fundamental first step for a city, town, or county committed to reducing carbon emissions and increasing energy efficiency.

Stage 2: Planning for Action

Municipal and county governments that have completed a community-wide greenhouse gas inventory are eligible to participate in this 12-month program, which guides Indiana local government staff through the process of setting a reduction target and developing a plan for reducing those emissions.

Next Cohort: January - December 2022

The second stage of the Resilience Cohort provides guidance to local governments as they analyze the results of their greenhouse gas inventories, collect input from the community, and develop an emissions reduction strategy.

Next Planning for Action Cohort: January – December 2022
Who can apply: Town, city, and county governments in Indiana
Applications will become available in October 2021

Program Timeline
  • January-May: Communities collect community input; identify, evaluate, and begin to prioritize carbon-reducing opportunities; facilitate cross-departmental participation; and select a greenhouse gas reduction target as a basis for prioritizing reduction actions.
  • May-September: ISDP interns start their placements. Communities complete the initial community input stage and begin drafting the climate action plan.
  • October-December: Local governments release draft climate action plans for community input. The plan is updated based on feedback received and goes to the mayor, city or town council, county commission, or other approving body for adoption.
Combined Climate Action and Adaptation Plan

Cohort participants can opt to use the Environmental Resilience Institute's Hoosier Resilience Index to integrate climate adaptation goals into their climate planning process. Those communities use the Index's Readiness Assessment to identify and prioritize adaptation strategies to include in the plan.

Equity

Participating local governments receive access to equity coaches to help staff reduce injustices in the climate action planning process and plan. Ideally, local governments will find ways to alleviate existing injustices through their greenhouse gas reduction strategies.

Participation Benefits
  • Step-by-step guidance through the climate action planning process
  • Access to ClearPath, ICLEI’s comprehensive cloud-based inventory software
  • Indiana-specific training and technical assistance offered through 10 live webinars
  • One-on-one technical assistance
  • Facilitated peer networking
  • An Indiana-specific online network to facilitate resources, peer support, and cohort communications
  • Recognition through ICLEI's Milestones Award (upon plan completion) and, if desired, marketing and communications support (e.g. press release template, participation in a final case study)
  • Access to the ICLEI Community, an online peer-city networking hub complete with greenhouse gas inventory training videos and crowd-sourced Q&A with dozens of cities, for the length of the cohort
Cost Share

Another benefit of participating in the Resilience Cohort is access to ICLEI resources at a reduced rate, subsidized by grant funding. Stage 2 participants are asked to contribute to the costs of the program. The cost share ranges between $300 and $900 based on population. Exact rates will be announced by fall 2021 for the 2022 cohort.

In addition to this small cost share, participants are required to provide:

  • A dedicated local government staff person. ICLEI estimates local government staff time at 10 – 15 hours a month, on average, for nine months (January – September), plus the amount of time it takes to get the climate action plan adopted.
  • Optional: If the community decides to host an IU extern to support Cohort participation, the local government will need to provide a computer, workspace, and phone for the extern, and will be asked to contribute to the cost of the student scholarship.

The 2020 Resilience Cohort provided 11 Indiana cities and towns with training, technical resources, a peer network, and staff capacity to complete a greenhouse gas reduction strategy, also referred to as a climate action plan.

2020 Resilience Cohort Participants

Carmel, Elkhart, Evansville, Fishers, Fort Wayne, Gary, Goshen, Michigan City, Richmond, West Lafayette, Zionsville

Participant Press Releases and News Coverage
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The 2020 program was supported by the McKinney Family Foundation and the Duke Energy Foundation.

What is a Climate Action Plan?

A climate action plan, also referred to as a greenhouse gas reduction plan, is a document used to set emissions reduction goals and identify actions to meet these goals. Local governments select actions based on data from completed greenhouse gas inventories and input from the public.

See these climate action plans from other Midwestern cities:

 

Accessing Additional Staff Capacity – Partnership with ISDP

The Environmental Resilience Institute partners with Sustain IU to encourage Resilience Cohort applicants to also apply for the Indiana Sustainability Development Program (ISDP), which places paid IU graduate and undergraduate students with local governments, among other partners, for 10 weeks full-time over the summer. These "Indiana Climate Fellows" could assist your greenhouse gas inventory, climate action planning project, or implementation efforts. There is an additional fee to participate in this program. The ISDP application is typically due in December for the following summer.

Stage 3: Implementation

After completing a community-wide greenhouse gas inventory and a climate action plan, the next step for a local government is to implement projects identified in the plan.

Next Implementation Cohort: February - December 2021

2021 Program Participants

Bloomington, Carmel, Elkhart, Fishers, Fort Wayne, Gary, Goshen, Lafayette, Michigan City, Richmond, West Lafayette, and Zionsville

Current Stage 3 Cohort:

February - December 2021

Who can apply:

Town, city, and county governments

The application deadline for this program has passed. Please contact the Environmental Resilience Institute if you are still interested in participating.

Stage 3 Modules

This stage of the Cohort provides guidance to local governments through three greenhouse gas reduction modules:

Module 1: Building a solar-ready community

February - June 2021 - Local governments participating in this module will receive technical assistance to make it easier for companies and residents to install solar. Guidance is available for reducing unnecessary paperwork, reviewing existing zoning codes for anti-solar language, planning training sessions for city staff on solar permitting and inspections, growing a local solar market, and more. Following the completion of the module, local governments can apply for SolSmart designation.

Module 2: Building an electric-vehicle-ready community

April - September 2021 - Participants will receive technical assistance to ensure policies, regulations, capital improvements, and planning efforts for public and private infrastructure make it easier to install charging infrastructure, use electric vehicles (EVs), overcome market barriers, and charge up. Read more about what it means to be "EV-ready."

Module 3: Reducing energy use in water and wastewater treatment facilities

August - December 2021 - By incorporating energy efficiency into water and wastewater treatment plants, local governments can save 15 to 30 percent, which equates to a large reduction in what is often the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in local government operations inventories. Through this module, local governments will learn how to conduct energy audits, identify innovative energy conservation measures, and review step-by-step processes for using solar at water and wastewater treatment facilities. 

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 All modules will focus on policy and process changes and will not require any capital investments. Technical assistance and training specific to the modules will be provided through third party experts, to be identified by the Environmental Resilience Institute. Participating local governments will receive access to equity coaches to review their implementation plans and help staff reduce injustices.

Eligibility

Any local government in Indiana is eligible to apply and may be selected, but those that have participated in the Resilience Cohort program previously will receive priority. Although the intention of the program is to help local governments get started on climate action plan implementation, ERI recognizes that any local government will benefit from achieving greenhouse gas reductions and associated benefits.

Costs

Participating in the Resilience Cohort provides technical assistance and on-the-job training at a rate dramatically subsidized by grant funding. Participating local governments are asked to contribute to the costs of the program. In 2021, cost range from $400 - $800 depending on population size. 

Participation Requirements

In addition to this small cost share, participants are required to provide:

  • A dedicated government staff person to complete the module trainings, identify module goals, and implement suggested policy and program modifications. ERI estimates local government staff time at 5 hours a week, on average, throughout the program (February 15 – December 15). 
  • Optional: If the community decides to host an Indiana Climate Fellow to support Cohort participation, the local government will need to provide a computer, workspace, and phone for the student, and will be asked to contribute to the cost of the student scholarship.

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The 2021 program is supported by the McKinney Family Foundation, Great Plains Institute, and the Duke Energy Foundation.

The City of Gary's greenhouse gas inventory kickoff meeting
From left: Resilience Cohort Extern Maddy Mohrman and Senior Program Manager Doug Fasick, as they discuss progress on the City of Fort Wayne's greenhouse gas inventory
From left: Evansville Mayor Winneke, Resilience Cohort Extern Erin Lasher, and Director of Code Enforcement Crystal Harper
From left: ISDP Program Manager Danni Schaust, Resilience Cohort Extern Nicky Harrison, Delaware-Municie Metropolitan Plan Commission Executive Director Marta Moody, Environmental and Development Planner Lorey Stinton, as they discuss progress on the county-wide and city-wide inventories in Delaware County, Indiana
Downtown Greencastle, Indiana, a community that participated in the 2019 Resilience Cohort
Resilience Cohort Extern, Miranda Frausto, as she works on Carmel's greenhouse gas inventory
Resilience Cohort Extern Reena Azlan during a presentation at the City of Gary's greenhouse gas inventory kickoff meeting
An off-road walking and bicycle trail in Richmond, Indiana, a 2019 Resilience Cohort participant
From left: ISDP Program Manager Danni Schaust, ERI Implementation Manager Andrea Webster, Resilience Cohort Extern Bronson Bast, City Forester Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley, as they discuss progress on Goshen's greenhouse gas inventories
The volunteers who completed Oldenburg, Indiana's greenhouse gas inventory; from left: Volunteers Steve Kristoff, Claire Whalen, Zack Blomer, and Michael Cambron, along with Town Manager Dennis Moeller
IU Resilience Cohort Abhishek Jagdale, as he works on Michigan City's greenhouse gas inventory