It’s a real pleasure to step back and take stock of our shiny new website, while taking a moment to feel real gratitude for our many partners and allies. We’re not going to lie: 2016 was a turbulent year, and 2017 promises more of the same.

If our nation is at a crossroads, with the conversation around climate change seemingly stalled, this is a good time to remember that our work–the day by day, building by building tasks of ensuring true efficiency and sustainability–hasn’t changed in the least. Those of us in the field know that real change happens on the local and state levels, where communities have the power to take charge of their future by enacting forward-thinking policies, incentives and building codes.

At MPower, we’re driven by a simple theory of change: The idea that transformation on a meaningful and societal level isn’t achieved by a heroic few, but that it’s a product of planning, foresight, and above all a willingness not to settle for expedient, and ultimately temporary solutions.

On every level, from the planet on down to the neighborhood, we find ourselves pressed between very hard choices: There’s a real and urgent need to provide affordable housing to the most vulnerable members of our society, while it’s more apparent than ever that inefficient and unsustainable housing is a major contributor to climate change, with the built environment accounting for almost half of all energy used in the United States, according to a 2013 study by Architecture 2030.

Making sustainability an essential element of the planning and construction process is a long, laborious, and—believe us here—deeply unsexy task. But that’s what getting this process right is going to need: The recognition that now is the time to dig our hands in the dirt; that it’s not the Teslas that are going to turn this ship around, but a dedication to changing the way our country is built, block by block, even down to a cellular level.

A step forward is always an opportunity to take a look back and remember our origins: MPower was born out of a desire to address multiple needs—from the very personal to the very global—through an integrated, pointed approach: Increasing the sustainability of the affordable housing sector, and in so doing improving people’s quality of life while lessening the carbon impact of the built environment.

If, like us, you’ve been buffeted by the dispiriting developments on the national level, take heart: Power is still in the hands of our neighborhoods, our cities and our states, and the will of the people is to safeguard our future and our environment. We’ve come an awfully long way, and there is so much more to be done. Thanks for sticking with us, and stay tuned for more dispatches from the front lines!