Home Depot Foundation Awards First Sustainable Cities Grants

The Atlanta-based Home Depot Foundation has announced the two cities selected to participate in a three-year, $1 million pilot program designed to demonstrate the challenges and successes of implementing lasting sustainability programs at the local level.

Through its Sustainable Cities Institute program, the foundation will award $500,000 each and a full-time coordinator to Charleston, South Carolina, and Fayetteville, Arkansas, to implement "sticks and bricks" projects that yield immediate cost savings for the cities and their residents and can be replicated in other communities. The results of the program will be shared on a weekly basis on the institute's Web site.

To start, Charleston, in partnership with the Sustainability Institute of South Carolina, will conduct energy assessments and retrofits on two hundred single-family residential homes, while Fayetteville and the National Center for Appropriate Technology will build approximately forty Energy Star-certified homes for low- to moderate-income families in the Walker Park neighborhood.

"We want to demonstrate through these pilot cities that real efficiencies and budget savings can be achieved by proactive planning in areas like energy use, waste and recycling, and building maintenance," said Home Depot Foundation president Kelly Caffarelli. "Charleston and Fayetteville presented impressive initiatives to save local resources and reduce costs while providing great benefits to local residents. We're excited at the opportunity to work with them to implement those plans and to share the common successes and pitfalls with cities everywhere."