Groundswell leads groundbreaking research efforts in collaboration with values-aligned organizations including municipal, state, and federal government programs. If you are interested in taking part in one of our ongoing research projects, please email

Energy Impoverishment and Energy Insecurity in the United States

Groundswell has undertaken research to determine the degree to which high energy burdens and energy impoverishment now impact American households. Through in-depth analysis, this research reveals how energy burdens have grown over the last decade due to systemic inequities in housing stock, employment, poverty and energy rates. This research also begins the task of identifying the root causes and potential solutions for high energy burdens within specific geographic areas.

Equitable energy distribution has long been an issue of concern when studying the prevalence of high energy burdens, as not many low-income households benefit from energy-efficiency programs that are designed to reduce economic hardship and poverty. Rather, many low-income households continue to live in older homes, which are often characterized by structural issues such as poor insulation, inefficient HVAC systems, leaky roofs, and inefficient and sometimes oversized appliances which increase energy costs. Despite energy abundance in the US and the propagation of energy efficiency programs and weatherization policies, low-income households continue to pay high energy bills while their environmental, social, and economic conditions have eroded.

Solar for All Subscriber Research

As part of its role as the subscriber management organization for the DC Solar for All (SFA) program, Groundswell conducted an in-depth analysis of how the program could continue to grow and better meet its goals and stated needs. As a result of this research, program updates were made that resulted in low -to -moderate-income households in Washington, DC, receiving more consistent clean energy credits and procedure shifts that allowed the program to better adapt to various challenges. 

This research was made possible thanks to the DC Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE), the Office of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, and the DC SFA program.

Listen for Good

Groundswell led pioneering research into customer needs and gained simple, easy-to-apply insight into those needs. With the help of a “Listen for Good” grant from the Fund for Shared Insight, we spoke with our customers through a series of Human-Centered Design sessions to tailor a respectful, positive enrollment and support experience for our Empowered customers. As part of this research, we asked customers how we’re doing and what we can do to better serve them. 

As a result of this research, Groundswell is now at the forefront of industry leadership in designing and delivering customer-focused subscriber management services that engage and treat all customers with respect. Our core competencies in engaging harder-to-reach customers, administering customer surveys, building trust, and demonstrating respect through feedback loops with our customers differentiate our services and make Groundswell a go-to subscriber organization for utilities, municipalities, and other developers seeking best-in-class subscriber management services for their clean energy customers.

Communities + Corporates

In summer 2020, Groundswell, the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance Institute (REBA), and The Solutions Project joined forces to accelerate an equitable clean energy future for all by leveraging corporate renewable energy purchases to deliver local community benefits alongside clean energy. Connecting large corporate buyers to community-defined clean energy priorities and organizations through procurement tools such as Request For Proposal (RFP) language and community engagement processes holds the potential to rapidly accelerate energy equity by sharing clean energy benefits with local communities. Bringing local frontline leaders together with corporate renewable energy executives to co-create solutions was a fundamental part of this project’s development.

As part of this initiative, Groundswell and our partners together with The Hummingbird Firm hosted “Working Wisdom Listening Tours” in February 2021. These listening sessions focused on how corporate sustainability leaders can communicate and establish longer-term transparency and co-creation processes with local communities and leaders while extending support to grassroots community groups nationwide.

For more information or questions about the Communities+Corporates program, please contact

Check out  Groundswell’s Corporate and Community Engagement Primer and the Corporate and Community Engagement Decision Framework that emerged from this work below. These resources outline key recommendations for framing community engagement for corporate renewable energy buying, siting, and procurement practices.


Primer Report

Communities + Corporates