(BCN)– In response to more libraries becoming safe havens during increasingly worse heatwaves, the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) is launching a pilot initiative to develop energy efficient and resilience local libraries. The initiative, known as BayREN’s Resilient Libraries Network, would transform local libraries into community resilience centers (CRCs), delivering resources based on local needs before, during and after natural hazard events.

BayREN is partnering on the project with the Bay Area Climate Adaptation Network (BayCAN) and the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP). “The program ensures that participating libraries will have the opportunity to improve community assets and services and improve quality of life,” Rachel Jacobson, Deputy Director of ASAP, said in a statement.

Six Bay Area libraries were selected to participate, prioritized as those in communities most impacted by climate change: Marin County Free Library branches in Fairfax and Novato, East Palo Alto Library, Biblioteca Latinoamericana Library in San Jose, and Oakland Public Library’s West Oakland and 81st Avenue branches. The program begins this month, providing free engineering technical assistance and recommendations for libraries to identify energy upgrades needed to improve the buildings efficiency, resilience, and ability to provide cooling and clean air.

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Libraries will be matched with experts to identify relevant funding sources to support the recommended building improvements. The pilot program runs until the end of 2023 and BayREN will document and share lessons learned to inform future programs focused on increasing community energy resilience.

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