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Energy and Global Climate Change in New England

February 2013 Volume 52
Community Energy Challenge (CEC) Monthly Update

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Welcome to the Community Energy Challenge Monthly Update, a monthly publication by EPA New England promoting energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy.

Disclaimer: Some of the events, articles and websites listed in this email are not sponsored by EPA. EPA is listing them for your information only. EPA is not responsible for the content of information from non-EPA sources, and does not endorse any commercial product, service, enterprise, or policy that may be included.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

  1. EPA New England’s annual Environmental Merit Awards nomination season open – nomination forms due March 1
  2. Massachusetts among Top Ten States for LEED in 2012
  3. EPA announces request for applications for Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program - deadline March 1

ARTICLES

  1. Massachusetts Accelerated Energy Program
  2. Analysis Finds Black Carbon to Have Larger Climate Impact than Previously Thought
  3. Yale Project on Climate Change Communication Releases Survey on Household Actions and Climate

EVENTS

  1. Westbrook and Portland, ME – Energy Efficiency Workshop from Greater Portland Landmarks – February 5 (Westbrook) and February 27 (Portland)
  2. Enfield, CT – North Central Connecticut Energy Expo – February 9
  3. Boston, MA – Capturing the Benefits of Microgrids and District Energy for Communities – February 12
  4. Boston, MA - MassCEC Open House: Mayor Driscoll discusses Salem’s Transition From Coal to Natural Gas – February 28

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. New England Grassroots Environment Fund – SEED grants (rolling deadline) and GROW grants – March 15

TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR webinars (free but registration required)
  2. Free Webinar from U.S. DOE: An Energy Literate Citizenry from K-to-Gray – February 6
  3. Two Free Webinars from New Hampshire Local Energy Solutions (LES) Training Series – February 13 and March 13
  4. Interstate Renewable Energy Council Releases Community-Shared Solar Case Studies
  5. U.S. Department of Energy Launches Web Tool on Energy Use Scenarios

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  1. EPA New England's annual Environmental Merit Awards nomination season open – nomination forms due March 1
    EPA-Region 1 is now accepting nominations for the 2013 Environmental Merit Awards, which will recognize environmental achievements during the past year. Award categories are available for individuals, businesses, state and local governments, and other organizations. Awards are also given under a lifetime achievement category.

    These regional awards have been given out annually since EPA was created in 1970. Past recipients have included scientists, community activists, business representatives, public officials and other individuals committed to preserving the environment. An independent EPA panel will select the winners based on the following criteria: long-term effects on the environment; ability to address an environmental problem or need; collaboration with others; ability of the program or accomplishments to be widely shared; clarity and effectiveness of the presentation; and promotion of innovative ideas or techniques.

    The awards are given in four categories: individual; business, industry, trade, and professional organization; local, state or federal government; and environmental, community or non-profit organization.

    The deadline for nominations is March 1.
    Awards winners will be invited to a ceremony this spring in Boston.

    For more information and nomination forms »
  2. Massachusetts among Top Ten States for LEED in 2012
    The US Green Building Council released its 2012 List of Top 10 States for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Massachusetts was the only New England state in the top ten and earned the number four slot, moving up three positions from 2011 with 2.05 square feet of LEED-certified space per resident.

    The per-capita list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional buildings certified under LEED, through which approximately 2.2 billion square feet of space has been certified worldwide through 2012.
  3. EPA announces request for applications for Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program - deadline March 1
    Many communities want to foster economic growth, protect environmental resources, enhance public health, and plan for development, but may lack the tools, resources, and information to achieve their goals. In response to this demand, EPA developed the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) Program.

    EPA initiated the SGIA program in 2005 with three goals in mind:
    • To support communities interested in implementing smart growth policies;
    • To create regional examples of smart growth that can catalyze similar projects in the area; and
    • To identify common barriers and opportunities for smart growth development and create new tools that other communities can use.
    EPA provides the assistance through a contractor team – not a grant. Through a multiple-day site visit and a detailed final report, the multi-disciplinary teams provide information to help the community achieve its goal of encouraging growth that fosters economic progress and environmental protection.

    Recent projects in New England include assistance to Rhode Island's KeepSpace Program, and to Vermont for post-Irene resilience planning.

    We invite applicants to submit proposals under one of these categories:
    1. Community Resilience to Disasters and Climate Change
    2. Redevelopment for Job Creation
    3. The Role of Manufactured and Modular Homes in Sustainable Neighborhood Design
    4. Medical and Social Services Facilities Siting
    Letters of interest must be submitted via email to Abby Hall (hall.abby@epa.gov) no later than March 1, 2013, by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.

    For more information, including FAQs and previously awarded projects »

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ARTICLES

  1. Massachusetts Accelerated Energy Program
    Massachusetts’ Patrick-Murray Administration announced the Accelerated Energy Program (AEP), which is designed to accelerate the implementation of energy and water conservation improvements. The program is designed to reduce energy consumption by 20-25 percent over 700 state sites, creating about 4,000 clean energy jobs and saving the Commonwealth an estimated $43 million annually. The AEP program will be funded through the state’s Clean Energy Investment Program, general obligation bonds, and Mass Save.
  2. Analysis Finds Black Carbon to Have Larger Climate Impact than Previously Thought
    A report published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres found that black carbon, or soot, from diesel engines, wood-fired stoves, and other sources has about two-thirds the climate impact of carbon dioxide. This would make black carbon the second largest human contributor to climate change. The analysis found that black carbon accelerates global warming because it absorbs heat when it is in the air and when it darkens snow and ice.

    The study, "Bounding the Role of Black Carbon in the Climate System: A Scientific Assessment," is available.
  3. Yale Project on Climate Change Communication Releases Survey on Household Actions and Climate
    The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication have released the results of a new survey on Americans’ views on climate change action. Overall, the results show that Americans’ belief that their personal actions can impact climate change is decreasing. The survey finds that 32 percent of people believe that their own energy-reducing actions can make a difference in climate change. This represents a decrease from 37 percent six months earlier. However, an increasing number of respondents report that they use compact fluorescent light bulbs and walk or bike to work.

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EVENTS

  1. Westbrook and Portland, ME – Energy Efficiency Workshop from Greater Portland Landmarks – February 5 (Westbrook) and February 27 (Portland)
    Greater Portland Landmarks will present two energy efficiency workshops to assist home and building owners in making their buildings more energy efficient while maintaining both historic character and property values. The workshops will be presented by Christopher Closs, Greater Portland Landmarks’ Field Service Representative; Peter Taggart, Principal, Taggart Construction, an expert in preservation of older homes and buildings; and Hilary Bassett, Executive Director of Greater Portland Landmarks.

    Workshops will provide specific techniques and approaches to reduce energy costs, including discussion of strategies, and ample question and answer time. Workshop participants will receive an energy efficiency workbook and handouts outlining specific energy techniques and how-to outlines, checklists and energy efficiency resources, including funding and tax credits information.

    Please register in advance, $30 per person.

    For more information please contact: Sharon Colgan at 207-774-5561 or info@portlandlandmarks.org

    Tuesday, February 5
    Walker Memorial Library, 800 Main Street, Westbrook, Maine
    6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

    Wednesday, February 27
    Greater Portland Landmarks, 93 High St, Portland, Maine
    6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  2. Enfield, CT – North Central Connecticut Energy Expo – February 9

    9:00 am – 3:00 pm
    JFK Middle School, 155 Raffia Road, Enfield, CT

    Energize Connecticut will be exhibiting at the North Central Connecticut Energy Expo. This event will provide the public with useful information on cost-saving measures and energy alternatives. The Energy Fair is free of charge to the general public. Sponsored by the Town of Enfield Neighborhood Services, The Enfield Clean Energy Committee and Suffield Clean Energy Committee.

    For more information, contact Joel Cox at jcox@enfield.org or 860-253-6398

  3. Boston, MA – Capturing the Benefits of Microgrids and District Energy for Communities – February 12
    9:30 am – 4:00 pm
    Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 600 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA

    At this free workshop hosted by the Pace Energy and Climate Center, topics to be presented include:
    • Sustainable economic development
    • Strategies for resiliency
    • Innovative financing and project development tools
    • Strategies for advancing energy projects in communities
    Register »
  4. Boston, MA – MassCEC Open House: Mayor Driscoll discusses Salem’s Transition From Coal to Natural Gas – February 28
    5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
    Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, 55 Summer St, 9th Fl., Boston, MA

    Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) CEO Alicia Barton McDevitt will host an Open House on the evening of February 28 in partnership with the New England Women in Energy and Environment (NEWIEE), featuring guest speaker Kim Driscoll, Mayor of the City of Salem. Mayor Driscoll will discuss Salem’s clean energy initiatives and her experience in leading the transition of the Salem Harbor Power Plant site from coal to natural gas.

    The event will include a reception, followed by brief remarks and then an audience question and answer session with Mayor Driscoll and Alicia Barton McDevitt. Guests will have an opportunity to tour the MassCEC office space. Light appetizers and beverages will be served.

    To attend, please RSVP to Stephanie Mernick at smernick@masscec.com by February 26.

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FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. New England Grassroots Environment Fund – SEED grants (rolling deadline) and GROW grants – March 15

    NEGEF grants are designed for groups that:
    • are doing community-based environmental work in CT, ME, MA, NH, RI or VT;
    • are volunteer-driven or have up to 2 full-time paid staff (or equivalents);
    • have an annual budget up to $100,000
    SEED grants are for quick project-focused grants dedicated to help volunteer groups launch and build their newly evolving project(s).

    Deadline: Apply anytime (expect a decision in 3 weeks)
    Grant range: $250 – $1,000
    Apply for a Seed grant if your group:
    • is launching a new or evolving community-based project;
    • expenses are for materials, outreach and/or other project expenses;
    • project costs generally less than $10,000;
    • needs a quick decision;
    • has not received a SEED grant within one year of the current application.
    GROW grants are competitive group development grants dedicated to help established groups increase capacity, collaborate, and leverage impact.

    Deadlines: March 15 & September 15 (expect decisions early June & December)
    Grant range: $1,000 – $3,500
    Apply for a Grow grant if your group:
    • needs help evolving and expanding the community group;
    • expenses can include general operating, stipends, capacity building, program development, expert assistance, etc.
    • has been active for more than 1 year;
    • has not received a GROW grant within one year of the current application.
    For more information »

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TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR webinars (free but registration required)
    • Feb 14, 1 pm, Data Center Energy Efficiency Opportunities: What Managers Should Know
    • Feb 14, 2 pm, ENERGY STAR and Green Building Rating Systems
    • Feb 19, 2 pm, The Basics of Benchmarking in Portfolio Manager
    • Feb 21, 1 pm, Computer Power Management with ENERGY STAR
    Register for all ENERGY STAR webinars.
  2. Free Webinar from U.S. DOE: An Energy Literate Citizenry from K-to-Gray – February 6
    4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

    The U.S. Department of Energy will present a live webcast, titled "An Energy Literate Citizenry from K-to-Gray" on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm.

    The Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education document provides a framework of seven essential principles every citizen should know to be energy literate. The framework is designed to empower energy educators to apply an interdisciplinary, systems-based approach to teaching the physical, natural, and social sciences necessary for a comprehensive understanding of energy. This webinar will detail the Energy Literacy Framework, its conception through multiple partners, current activities (including its translation into Spanish), and highlight other available energy education resources.

    Download Energy Literacy document

    Register for the webinar
  3. Two Free Webinars from New Hampshire Local Energy Solutions (LES) Training Series – February 13 and March 13

    "Savings for Taxpayers: Municipal Streetlight Conservation & Efficiency"
    Wednesday, February 13
    12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
    Drive through any New England town on a dark winter's night and you see parking lots and streets aglow as well as much of the local sky. If you've wondered how much of this lighting is necessary or how to reduce it, this webinar is for you!

    Register for the webinar. Space is Limited.


    "A Look Behind the Curtain: Energy Policy and Process in the Granite State"
    Wednesday, March 13
    12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

    Join the Local Energy Work Group for a session on the State of New Hampshire's current energy initiatives and a review of a recent report by the State's Energy and Sustainable Energy Board containing recommendations to improve the state's energy market.

    The session will conclude with a tour of the State's online resources that will enable you to research and track energy issues under consideration by the legislature.

    Register for the webinar. Space is Limited.
  4. Interstate Renewable Energy Council Releases Community-Shared Solar Case Studies
    The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) released three case studies on community-shared solar power. Entitled, “Community-Shared Solar: Diverse Approaches for a Common Goal (PDF) (5 pp, 3.4 MB),” the report includes three case studies that discuss how utilities provide their customers the opportunity to consume solar energy.

    The case studies (PDF) (5 pp, 3.4MB) are available.
  5. U.S. Department of Energy Launches Web Tool on Energy Use Scenarios
    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a new interactive online tool to help researchers, educators, and students study future U.S. energy use scenarios. The Buildings, Industry, Transportation, and Electricity Scenarios (BITES) tool lets users adjust inputs like electricity generation and transportation fuel use to compare outcomes and impacts on carbon dioxide emissions and the U.S. energy mix.

    More information on BITES is available.

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