Empowerment Institute has chosen world-class partners to implement, research and scale the Cool City Challenge.

Empowerment Institute—the world’s foremost expert in environmental behavior change and community engagement—has helped millions of people in hundreds of cities worldwide reduce their environmental footprint. Since 2006 it has applied this methodology, through its low-carbon Diet program, to help tens of thousands of households in the United States reduce their carbon footprint and trained over 300 communities in its community engagement methodology. Over the past thirty years Empowerment Institute’s programs have won many awards, and an academic research study described them as “unsurpassed in changing behavior.”

Empowerment Institute is the principal architect of the Cool City Challenge and responsible for its overall implementation. This includes the selection of the three cities, building their capacity in deploying Empowerment Institute’s behavior change and community engagement methodology, securing and managing the team of content experts who will support various aspects of the initiative. It is also accountable for raising the financing with help, where possible, from the various participating partners. Finally, it is responsible for disseminating the Cool City Challenge in collaboration with the participating cities after the three-year demonstration phase. 

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is lead research partner and will coordinate the research efforts of the other research institutions as well as support technology demonstrations and pilots with industry and other stakeholders. The specific issues it will be researching include how the behavior change and community engagement tools catalyze the full spectrum of GHG reduction interventions spanning technology adoption, policy adoption, and market development; the efficacy of the behavioral change and community engagement mechanisms for GHG reduction, uptake of residential retrofits, and green economic development; cost/benefit analyses of this behavior change intervention in comparison to other forms of GHG reduction strategies; the potential GHG and economic development impact of scaling the Cool City Challenge across the state of California and the United States; and scenario development for participating cities to become carbon neutral.  

Stanford University—Precourt Energy Efficiency Center will assist in energy and transportation efficiency research through the application of gamification and feedback systems to increase the efficacy of program participant behavior change.

University of California, Berkeley—Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory and Energy and Resources Group will support development of the carbon calculation aspects of the information management system and the personal transportation data collection.

University of California, Davis—Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Transportation Centers will support research around technology adoption, energy efficiency and transportation behavior change and modeling for carbon neutral city development.  

World Wildlife Fund will assist in scaling the Cool City Challenge by disseminating it to the many cities participating in its Earth Hour initiative in the United States and worldwide.