Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments

Reenergizing our Urban Community Efficiently: Crosland Park

Learn about other climate showcase communities.

Reenergizing our Urban Community Efficiently: Crosland Park

Federal Funding: $320,000
Project Timeline: February 1, 2011 – February 28, 2014

Project Summary

The Crosland Park Initiative was part of a larger effort, the Northside Development Plan, to improve housing stock and infrastructure and encourage private investment in Aiken’s Northside neighborhoods. As part of the Crosland Park Initiative, the City of Aiken helped residents of the low-income neighborhood of Crosland Park lower their utility bills and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by completing 24 to 30 comprehensive energy-efficient renovations. The City completed energy audits before and after each renovation to monitor the effectiveness of the initiative. The City planned to weatherize 40 additional homes in Crosland Park each year through a summer job program and offering educational workshops to educate community members on reducing home energy consumption.

The Crosland Park Initiative renovations included the following strategies:

  • installing ENERGY STAR lighting fixtures and appliances, energy-efficient furnaces or heat pumps with programmable thermostats, radiant barrier roofing materials, and tankless and/or solar water heaters,
  • sealing the building envelope, and
  • installing whole house energy consumption displays to educate homeowners about energy conservation and to promote long-term energy conservation habits.

Overall, the initiative lowered residents' energy bills, improved indoor air quality, improved the quality of life in a low-income neighborhood, engaged local youth and businesses, and increased employment training opportunities for residents. These renovation and weatherization projects, in addition to reducing energy use and GHG emissions, also sparked much-needed economic development.

The City of Aiken aimed to educate the public about energy-efficiency and home weatherization as part of its Crosland Park Initiative. Grant funds from the Climate Showcase Communities program helped Aiken weatherize eight vacant homes owned by the City so that the homes could be occupied by low- and moderate- income families.

The initial Summer Weatherization program weatherized 140 homes, and its success led to the expansion of the initiative. In the summer of 2012, the City partnered with South Carolina Electric & Gas/SCANA Energy Corp. to weatherize more homes in the Crosland Park area. Weatherization activities included caulking drafty areas (around windows and doors), installing weather stripping, and using CLF light bulbs. The weatherization program employed five people in its first summer, four of whom returned for the following summer. During the first two years, the program reached over 100 families and helped them to increase their energy-efficiency and savings.

As the program evolved, Aiken decided to focus on owner-occupied energy-efficiency upgrades and move away from retrofitting vacant homes. Aiken signed a contract with Carolina Green Energy Systems to perform energy audits on homes. Twelve homes were inspected and tested, and six completed and returned applications for weatherization assistance.

The City also completed energy-efficiency improvements to the Crosland Park Community Center, such as blowing new insulation in walls and attic space, installing a new heating and air system with new ducting, installing ENERGY STAR appliances, installing new energy-efficient windows, and abating asbestos. Finally, the City mailed newsletters to residents providing details on the weatherization program, tips on how to save on energy costs, homes for sale in Crosland Park, and upcoming events.

Top of Page

Community Characteristics 

Population:                                 28,884

Area:                                         16 square miles

Government Type:                       City

Community Type:                        Small Urban

Median household income:           $52,601

Top of Page


Final Results

Projected Cumulative Results  

Annual GHG Reductions

695 metric tons CO2e

278 metric tons CO2e

Buildings Retrofitted or Weatherized



Jobs Created Annually

7.2 FTE

1.8 FTE

Top of Page

Lessons Learned

  • The real estate market was not as strong as expected, so instead of focusing on comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits to City-owned homes, the project shifted its focus to a weatherization program and a community center retrofit.
  • Due to low attendance at weatherization workshops, future workshops were marketed as “do-it-yourself” events designed to help participants save money.
  • The City grant manager for the project changed three times in three years, so each new grant manager changed the program’s focus to meet the community’s needs.
  • Some of the renovated homes were vacant, City-owned properties that were intended to be sold to low-and moderate-income families once weatherization was complete. Not as many of the homes were sold as the City hoped, due to economic trouble and the weak housing market.

Top of Page


  • Although the program has ended, the energy efficiency strategies that participants learned will continue to be beneficial.

Top of Page