Case study

Equitably Decarbonizing the Bryant Neighborhood

UPDATED: 10/11/2023


Project Name: Equitably Decarbonizing the Bryant Neighborhood 

Project Leader(s): City of Ann Arbor, Community Action Network, Elevate Energy


  • Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor Public Schools, DTE Energy, University of Michigan 

  • Analysis/design: IMEG, Midwest Geo, D4 Consulting, Michigan Energy Services, Michigan Geothermal Energy Association, IGSHPA

Stage of Completion: In progress

Construction Type: Existing buildings

Building Type: Single-family, some commercial buildings (elementary school, daycare, mental health facility, city service center)

Total Number of Units Targeted: 261 homes in Bryant Neighborhood + commercial buildings (Bryant Elementary, community center, mental health facility, and the Wheeler Center (City building)).

Total Number of Units Completed:

  • 6 homes have had emergency repairs, energy efficiency measures, and some electrification such as electric stoves and electric clothes dryers completed

  • 50 homes have funding secured to move forward, currently working on emergency repairs and energy efficiency measures in 20 out of the 50 homes

  • For the 20 homes: additional funding will potentially allow for solar

  • Homes will also likely be connected to the geothermal energy system if the DOE fund a phase two of the project

Tenant Structure: Mixed (50/50 split owner-occupied and renter-occupied)

Target Audience: Bryant Neighborhood (the network will also support a local school, community mental health service center, and the City’s public works facility)

Electrification Project Scope

Full/Partial Electrification:

  • Full when feasible. 

  • Cost concerns may result in partial electrification, especially if weatherization is more extensive than expected. 

  • For electrification, there are limits as to what can be electrified due to homeowner preference and misinformation on electrification efficiency.

Existing Heating Fuel Type:

  • Natural gas

  • For the most part furnaces, water heaters, dryers, and stoves/ovens are gas. 

End Uses Electrified: Space heating and cooling, water heating, cooking appliances, clothes drying

Specific electric appliances installed: Geothermal heat pump, induction and electric resistance cooktops, on demand electric water heaters, heat pump water heater (TBD), solar, energy storage


Total Project Funding:

  • $588,000 (DOE grant planning and feasibility study for the geothermal energy system project)

  • Total $1.25M from MSHDA

  • Potential for additional funding from MSHDA 

  • $300,000 from Builders Initiative for solar, electrification, and other energy efficiency enhancements. 

  • $150,000 from McKnight Foundation for planning and engagement

Amount or % of Project Cost Covered per unit: 100% 

Source of Funding:

  • US Department of Energy (1st round for feasibility study and planning, potential for 2nd round funding to support implementation)

  • MSHDA Grant ($1.25 M awarded for weatherization, electrification, and health and safety measures – max allotment is $25,000 per home)

  • Additional funding sources will help provide a maximum allotment of about $40,000 per home.

More information

Motivation for electrification

  • City of Ann Arbor’s Motivation: The project supports Ann Arbor’s A2ZERO plan for carbon neutrality. The project was pursued to support the Bryant neighborhood, a historically disadvantaged neighborhood. The City hopes the project will reduce energy burden on low-income individuals, improve indoor air quality, and further the City's goal of achieving carbon neutrality. DOE's motivation is to support communities with design and deployment of geothermal district heating and cooling systems, decarbonize, reduce energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create related workforce training, and identify and address EJ concerns. 

  • Community Action Network’s Motivation: The “Bryant Sustainability Project” aims to identify and address energy efficiency issues in all 260+ homes in Bryant while centering the goals, dreams, and aspirations of community members every step of the way. Over one-third of families in Bryant are energy-burdened. This project helps reduce that burden by tackling one of the root causes of housing stabilization: high energy costs.

Additional Measures Implemented: Weatherization improvements (air sealing, insulation), rooftop solar, and potential battery storage, health and safety issues (mold remediation, asbestos removal, rodent infestations, water remediation, roof repair), EV charging infrastructure, panel upgrades 

Workforce Development/Green Jobs Component:


  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 252 (Electrical services union)

  • United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry Local 190 (Union) 

  • Hiring from the community for outreach to neighborhood residents about the project. The City also has several AmeriCorp participants onboard for outreach and two more supporting members for outreach for geothermal in particular.


Links to additional resources:

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